Head Over Heels – The Fickle World of Women’s Shoes, 1880 – 1929

Emma Rose Millar

Only 150 years ago, women’s shoes were hidden in the shadows of crinolines and trailing skirts.


The archless, low heeled shoes of the mid-Victorian era were the embodiment of dignified restraint, indeed a lady was expected not to show her feet at all! But with calls for greater equality between the sexes, and the many dress reform movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came rising hemlines. Women’s shoes emerged into the limelight and exploded onto the fashion scene.

Corsets and tight lacing were shunned by the modern woman in favour of loser, more flowing dresses. This was reflected in footwear. Shoes for Comfort, became the slogan of the reform period, both in women’s and in men’s shoes. There were new opportunities in sport, educational, professional and social activities, all requiring different styles of shoes. Manufacturers quickly seized upon the demand for day, evening and sports shoes with…

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About emmarosemillar

Mum, chocolate maker, author of THE WOMEN FRIENDS: SELINA and the award-winning novel FIVE GUNS BLAZING.
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