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18th century women's riding boots?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:26 am
by Tod
does any one know where there is either a picture, or an example of women's riding boots? Period 1730 - 1760.
It's a bit of speculation on my part, men wore shoes but wore boots of various styles for riding. Women's wore shoes so therefor mush have worn boots for riding? Women's shoes would be totally impractical to ride in due the shape in particular the heel.
I don't know if they rode side saddle all the time, which would have meant shoes would have been reasonably OK, but I'm pretty sure that there must have been some sort of boot.
Ideas and info. please.

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:38 pm
by seamsmistress
Hi Tod :)

I've had a quick read through the relevant section in Shoes by June Swann. Section covers 1720 -90.

Under boots shes says....
With the men's craze for boots for walking, it is not surprising to find them being worn by women as well, from 1778, though chiefly for riding and driving, calf-high kid, front lacing, with fashionable toe and Italian heel. The Ipswich Journal of 1786 says 'the ladies begin to wear Morocco half boots and Hussar riding jackets'

There is no reference noted at all for riding boots prior to this date, although there is a section on Overshoes, covering galoshes and pattens.

The earliest reference I can find in the book for use of leather in ladies shoes during this period is
[talking about textile use].....They were mostly lined with kid, usually white, though very few had leather as the outer material of the upper until the 80's, when materials for men's and women's shoes became very similar: another sign of the move towards equality. Lady Mary Coke did fall French painted leather shoes which she saw in Belgium in 1767, and sent home half a dozen pairs [there are such shoes in the Victoria and Albert and Keighley Museums], but they were not common. There were a few suede shoes in the 80's.

Printed in 1982, there is every reason to suppose that other evidence may have surfaced by now. I happen to think that you are correct in your conjecture - a more practical footwear would be needed. Mind you, shoes, women, practicality? Hmmm - as ridiculous a supposition today as it ever was! :wink:

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:51 pm
by Phil the Grips
Just a musing or two-
Did women ride as much as men? My initial thought is that were much more likely to be driven as it is more "ladylike" and practical for their clothing styles- certainly in higher status women for day-to-day travel.

If lower status women rode then they'd be more likely to adopt men's fashion styles-it happened in fencing and boxing circles. Hunting and recreational/sport riding could be the exception though.

Would this allow for the disproportion in footwear?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:12 pm
by Tod
I found the June Swan reference, but its abit late. But what I'm really looking for are picture sor example.
Man logic: women wore Riding Habits, maybe they wore riding boots?

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:23 am
by Teagirl
I sadly no longer own a copy of this wonderful book, it was produced as a companion to a display of equestrian portraits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Man and the Horse An Illustrated History of Equestrian Apparel
MacKay-Smith, Alexander; Druesedow, Jean; Ryder, Thomas
ISBN: 0671555200
Publisher: MMA/Simon & Schuster, New York
Publication Date: 1984

Worth a look.