posted by: shoesense in Shoe History Corner on April 11th, 2008
Sometimes we tend believe that we invented high fashion and that haute couture extravagant excesses are a product of modernity. Even a cursory look at history, however, we’ll humble us in this respect. For example, the dark, drab, and hemp-clad Middle Ages could take a fashion point and stretch it to ridiculous lengths. Beginning with the 12th century and through the 15th century, shoemakers starting making shoes that resembled dangerous weaponry much more than they resembled the actual shape of the human foot:
It seemed that even in regard to shoes, the longer, the better–so some gentlemen actually had to tie the tips of their shoes to garters arround their knees to be able to walk.
Supposedly, at the English court, “noblemen took this fashion to such extremes they found it hard to walk, and laws were introduced to regulate shoe lengths!”
I’m sure future ages will look upon the fashion of our times with the same kind of amazement-amusement mix.
(Pictures and info: from A Fashionable History of the Shoe, by Helen Reynolds.)