The poulaine, the shoe with long pointed toes of the previous period had fallen out of fashion. It is possible that the end of the poulaine was foretold by episodes such as the death of Duke Leopold III of Austria. It is said that he died because his long pointed shoes impeded him from escaping his assassins. Whether the story has any truth, it is safe to assume that the exaggerated toes of the poulaine became clumsy and inconvenient for most tasks, and would eventually give way to a more reasonable style.
At the beginning of this period, the slipper shoes of the late Gothic period reappeared without the exaggerated toes. These shoes resembled modern ballet slippers in many respects. It would not take long before the toes of these shoes became wider and square. The shoes, which are said to have developed because Charles VIII had six toes on one foot, were called “duck-billed” because of their width at the toe.
Like the clothing of the time, these shoes were slashed with puffs of fabric pulled through the cuts. The shoes were generally without heels, and were fastened with laces or buckled straps.