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Home Victorian Era Clothing, Costumes & 1800s Fashion Victorian Boots & Shoes – Granny Boots & Shoes

Victorian Boots & Shoes – Granny Boots & Shoes

Victorian boots by American Duchess

Victorian reproduction boots and shoes by American-Duchess.

Victorian women were notable for their high black lace up Victorian boots. They continued to be worn into the 1950s with a vintage revival in the 1980s as well. Often called granny boots, vintage western boots, Lolita boots or witch’s boots they are popular with Civil War and Victorian event re-enactors. Button up boots and low heel oxford shoes were alternatives to the lace up boot in the late Victorian era. For evenings, a flat or low heel slipper was dyed to match the elegant gown.  Steampunk costumers love to add gears, buckles, brass, and lot of attitude to Victorian style granny boots and shoes. Read about the history of late Victorian footwear here. 

Whether you need ladies Victorian boots in classic black or brown leather or Victorian wedding boots in white or ivory lace these new boots and shoes have all the old Victorian style you need in a price range best for you. For more vintage granny boots look here. 

See more Victorian dresses, jewelry, stockings and more. Scroll to the end of the page for a history of Victorian shoes and boots.

Victorian Boots & Shoes


Victorian Boots: black, brown, white lace up boots and shoes at VintageDancer.com

Pin this! Victorian Boots and Shoes


Granny boots, lace up boots, witches boots, old ladies boots, wedding boots at VintageDancer.ccom

Granny Boots – Pin this!

Victorian Shoes and Boots History

-Victorian Costume and Costume Accessories by Anne Buck, 1961

One type of Victorian shoe survives in greater numbers than any other, a slim, heelless shoe in black or white satin, which was the fashionable dress shoe from about 1830 to 1860.

This plain, heelless form, which at first sight seems monotonously the same, did change a little within its period of fashion. The pre-Victorian shoe of the 1820s was rounded at the toe. By; about 1830, the toe was more nearly square and, by 1840, the I shoe had lengthened and narrowed, so that the front was shaped I to an almost perfect rectangle, with the sides of the foot showing the minimum of curve. By 1860, although the foot was still square, it was less sharply so and there was some broadening (of the foot. The shoes of this early period rarely show any dif- ference for left and right foot.

The usual material for evening dress shoes was white satin and, for formal day dress, black satin. Leather was used for ordinary wear and cloth was also used, sometimes in neutral shades of / grey or fawn. The dominance of black and white was broken by a temporary revival of coloured shoes for evening wear in the late 1840s. There are shoes in figured satin from this time and shoes with embroidered fronts. Slippers were made in Berlin woolwork.

1855 Victorian ladies boots

1855 ladies boots- side bottoms or front laces with scallop tops

Change came in the 1850s when heels began to appear: “some- what high-heeled shoes are becoming general, not only for walk- ing, but for the ballroom” {Ladies’ Cabinet, 1850). The height of the heel at this time was an inch or less. The heelless fashion still continued for evening shoes for some years longer, but in the 1860s heels to shoes became general.

A new fashionable attention to shoes and boots completed the change in the 1860s. “A great revolution has taken place in the chaussure of ladies, which generally speaking admits of but little variety. For the black shoe and boot which used to be worn on nearly all occasions, colored ones are substituted, to accord nicely with the dress with which they are worn” (Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, 1862). The earlier shoes were very plain, bound round the top with a narrow ribbon, finished at the front with a small, flat bow; often there were long narrow ribbons which crossed over the instep and went around the ankle. In the 1860s the small bow at the front grew to a large bow or rosette, often with a small steel buckle in the center. Many of the leather shoes of this time had ornamental stitching in contrasting colors and were bound with contrasting ribbon, brown and white on bronze, blue and white, cerise and white on black. A bronze kid was fashionable particularly for indoor shoes from this period to the end of the century.

1867 yellow and black button boots match the sporting dress

1867 yellow and black button boots match the sporting dress

Boots, like the shoes, were in black and white satin for dress wear, and also in white kid. For walking they were usually in cloth, often grey or fawn, with the toe-caps of matching or black leather. They were ankle-length, and laced up the sides on the inside of the foot. The elastic-side boot, that is, a boot with an elastic gusset at each side, was patented by the firm of Sparkes Hall in 1837 and continued in fashionable wear until about 1870. Satin boots were very generally worn for dress occasions and many surviving examples were worn as wedding boots.  The boots showed earlier than the shoes the distinctive shaping for left and right foot, and they acquired heels a little earlier than the shoes. Heels for boots were general by the early 1860s. In the late 1860s, boots with front lacing and boots which buttoned at the sides appeared. Between 1864 and 1868, there was a fashion of ornamenting the top of the boot with tassels. Boots, like shoes, were often made in brightly colored materials during the 1860s; blue satin was particularly popular.

1877 Ladies Boots- fancy buttons and laces

1877 Ladies Boots- fancy buttons and laces

During the 1870s, the heel, on shoes and boots alike, grew a little higher, became more tapering and was set well under the foot. Known as the “Louis” heel from the resemblance to the heels of French shoes of the eighteenth century, this form is found on boots and shoes to the end of the period. The height of the heel is usually between one and a half to two inches. The square shaping of the toe gradually changed during the 1870s to a more pointed form; by the mid-1880s, the pointed toe was an established fashion, and this style continued, with some lengthening, during the 1890s.

1886 button boots, simple lace boots for women and children

1886 button boots, simple lace boots for women and children

Large rosettes of ribbon gathered into a buckle ornamented the dress shoes of the 1870s; but during the 1880s the large ribbon ornaments disappeared. Shoes with two or three bars across the instep began to appear in the 1870s, and this style, together with a similar style which had a trellis of bars over the instep, was fashionable during the 1880s and continued during the 1890s. Bead embroidery ornamented many shoes of this period and cut- out decoration over a contrasting color in kid or satin also appeared on shoes of the 1890s. But, by 1890, once more the most fashionable shoes of all were plain and untrimmed, except for a small steel or paste buckle at the center front. Evening shoes were of white or colored satin to match the dress.

1877 ballroom shoes or slippers

1877 ballroom shoes or slippers

In the late 1890s, a style appeared with a high shaped front above a large square buckle, which bore some resemblance to the eighteenth-century shoe. Unlike their eighteenth-century prototypes, however, the buckles of these shoes were without prongs and were ornamental, not functional.

A shoe laced over the instep, for walking, appeared in the 1870s and this became the general style for walking shoes during the 1880s and 1890s. The early examples in this style dating from the 1870s and 1880s are usually in soft bronze, black or fawn kid; those of the 1890s are usually black with a toe-cap emphasizing the sharply pointed toe. Black shoes and boots were general for outdoor wear in the 1890s, although fawn was accepted for country wear, and white shoes were worn with white summer dresses.

1897 Victorian oxford ladies shoes

1897 oxford ladies shoes

A few dress boots in white satin or velvet were still worn in the 1870s. Some, like the shoes, had bar fastenings, but in the second half of the period, boots were worn mainly for walking or traveling. They were usually in cloth, with a leather galosh, or in leather, laced at the front or buttoned at the side (Fig. 24). During the 1880s and 1890s, they gradually extended higher up the leg, and at the end of the century, they had fastenings of about sixteen buttons or pairs of holes for lacing.

1890 Victorian white "spat" boots

1890 white “spat” boots

Continue reading about 1900-1920 Edwardian Shoe styles.

3 thoughts on “Victorian Boots & Shoes – Granny Boots & Shoes

  1. Do you know if there’s any Victorian looking boot that fits 7W (wide) person. Is hard to find pointy shoes that wont kill our feet. The issue is that they are always too narrow at the toes.

    • I do know this issue well! At the moment only the Jada’s come in wide : https://fave.co/2v4lxPO however usually around fall all the lace up boots come in stock and there should be more choices. I’ll add them here as I find them and they will be marked with a “wide” sticker.

  2. Don’t forget American Duchess, they make great historical reproduction footwear.