At the beginning of this period most women were wearing boots and cloth topped shoes. By 1885, however, shoes predominated again, though boots were still worn by many, especially for driving.
Shoes could be very high cut throughout the 1890’s. The oxford or Richelieu was laced or fastened with three buttons, coming up to the ankle.
The open tab derby had been renamed the Gibson, but the only significant change was the wide laces. Most shoes in the early years of the period were dark colours, but in the summer white suede or canvas were popular. In the 1890’s yellow made an appearance as a popular colour for shoes, and later ivory satin was accepted. Suede became a popular fabric for shoes in 1910.
The Cromwell shoe, popular from 1885-1900 had a high tabbed front and buckle, taken from the shoes worn by the Puritans in the 17th century.
In the 1890’s, heels were remarkably high, sometimes reaching more than six inches. By 1901, however, the heel lowered to a more reasonable height and three inches was objectionable. Cuban heels made their first appearance in 1904. These stacked leather heels at a height of two and a half inches became popular in 1910.
By 1910, pumps with small heels had come into fashion for daytime wear. In the evenings, high cut shoes were worn, with straps to hold them onto the feet for dancing. Naked extremities were still considered indecent, so only Boudoir shoes were seductive, made from satin and silk, with tulle bows.