C.1865-1870. We all know and love the stereotypical silk flat soled side lacing boots of the mid 19th century, but the truth is most classes of women could not afford to wear such frivolous and fancy shoes. Instead they had to wear sensible lace up leather boots
such as these.
They date from the second half of the 1860's when shoes started to be made with a right and left last
They have the typical square toes
and low heels of the era as well. They were well made boots during their time and were fairly fashionable. They feature decorated scalloped toe caps, and scalloped edging around the the boots. Zigzag stitches decorate each side of the lacing holes.
of the boot has an elastic gusset for ease on putting on your boots without having to lace and unlace them each time. Elastic gussets
in shoes REALLY became popular in men's shoes during the 1850's and in women's
shoes during the 1860's.
Although the shoes are over 130 years old, they are still wearable with care. Their leather has some flaking but I've started applying leather oil to them, polished them, and it's worked wonders. Regular oiling and polishing would keep them sound. The back of the left boot has a tear in the leather but luckily the boots are lined in very thick and heavy cotton, with the inside of the boot at the back of the ankle lined with strong leather. I'm pretty sure a shoemaker would be able to glue or sew a new peice of leather or patch over the tear.
They are a rarely found large size. I'm a ladies US size 10 wide and although I can get into them, they hurt too much to walk in. They are stamped as being a 6 1/2. A US ladies size 8 1/2-9 1/2 (UK 6 1/2- 7 1/2) would definately be able to wear these! They measure 10 7/8" long from heel to toe and 3 1/2" wide.
(Formerly L. Hidic)