I was looking for some old family photographs with shoes for this week's Sepia Saturday and came up empty handed. Nearly every photo seems to cut off the feet and shoes. For all I know they sat for portraits with no shoes on at all. I do have some very nice shoe advertisements from the 1880s though. One of my favorites is the trade card featuring solar tip shoes.
I somehow had this idea that solar tip shoes would be open in the front, allowing the sun to warm your toes. Not so. Instead, they were especially durable tips made by folding the sole leather over the tip of the shoe.
This is one of the few trade cards for shoes that highlights the shoes at all. Many of the advertisements simply showed heartwarming scenes that had nothing to do with shoes, like this one:
So, I had to wonder what the shoes of the 1880s were really like. I know that women's shoes had a high heel and a narrow toe and didn't look comfortable at all. On the other hand, when I went to the Wisconsin Historical Museum's online collection to look at the examples of children's footwear of the era, they not only seem well made, they look soft and comfortable. You can see the shoe collection here.
Step on over to Sepia Saturday to see more posts on shoes.