Your Weekend Wow!

Old, old, very old shoes…I love them. As I look at them, though, and enjoy their aesthetic beauty I’m simultaneously wondering how on earth the women who wore them managed to do anything but sit around the house/villa/chateau/whatever. They have no left and right, no insoles to speak of (usually just the top of the wood soles), thin fabric or leather uppers, and no foot support whatsoever.

But boy-o-boy are they gorgeous.



3 thoughts on “Your Weekend Wow!

  1. Oh my, they are stunning. But I had no idea there was no left and right! Imagine the state of the dowagers’ feet! No wonder they say around the edges of the ballrooms complaining all the time. Now men’s shoes, I wonder were they better made?

    • Shoes are made on a form called a “last.” For thousands of years, shoes were made on “straight lasts” – that is, no left or right: each shoe was the same. They are now referred to as “straights.” It was by wearing the shoes that they somewhat conformed to the shape of the wearer’s foot and developed into a “left” and a “right” shoe. All shoes and boots were made on straight lasts, so no preferential treatment for men in that department.

      I found this on Shoe History ():

      As late as 1850 most shoes were made on absolutely straight lasts, there being no difference between the right and the left shoe. Breaking in a new pair of shoes was not easy. There were but two widths to a size; a basic last was used to produce what was known as a “slim” shoe. When it was necessary to make a “fat” or “stout” shoe the shoemaker placed over the cone of the last a pad of leather to create the additional foot room needed.

      Up to 1850 all shoes were made with practically the same hand tools that were used in Egypt as early as the 14th century B.C. as a part of a sandal maker’s equipment. To the curved awl, the chisel-like knife and the scraper, the shoemakers of the thirty-three intervening centuries had added only a few simple tools such as the pincers, the lapstone, the hammer and a variety of rubbing sticks used for finishing edges and heels.

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