Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sixteenth Century Boots

Boots became part of military attire by the 16th century and were worn by the aristocracy for hunting. One aftermath of a war torn Europe was boots became fashionable. Boots were worn high in Spain and the fashion caught on. Henry IV of France (1589-1610) enjoyed wearing the best of leathers but because France craftsmen were inferior he sent his tanner to study leather work in Hungary where the old trades still existed. On his return the master craftsmen made boots very fashionable in France. Considered outside footwear they began to be worn in salons as well as on the dance floor and the style of boots varied relating to whatever purpose they were put to. Like the codpiece boots were distinctively men's fashion. According to Girotti (1997) to make the boots fit tightly around the leg, they were first soaked in water and allowed to dry on the leg. This made it very difficult for the man wearing boots to bend their knees subsequently dismounted horsemen walked with stiffened legs. This may have given rise to a distinctive swaggering gait which was considered very macho at the time.

Girotti E 1997 Footwear: la calzatura San Francisco: Chronicle Books.