These examples from an illustration of 1829 are similar but are designated as 'Russian' shoes.
Dancing slippers were little different, but may often have had a silk sole as well as upper, the better to slip across the ballroom floor. There are recorded cases of ladies completely shredding their dancing slippers in one evening.
Most shoes of the Regency were like these slippers: silk or silk satin, with straight soles of soft leather and no designation of right or left foot. Some shoes however were of stenciled leather like these charming c. 1810 examples in pink from the Museum of Welsh Life.
The Museum describes them thus: "pair of pink glace kid slippers with stylized pattern of black floral moverall; pointed toe; very low heel covered with pink leather; pink silk cord ties single pair of eyelet holes at front; narrow ribbon covers seam". This pair of c. 1829 green silk satin shoes are from the same museum, described as "with leather soles, flattened at toes; no heel; green ribbon binding and laces; gathered satin decoration across front; left and right the same; inscribed: GODFREY Ladies Shoe Maker No 25 New Bond St London".
The ladies' shoe maker noted above may have operated from a shop like this:
And his trade card or advertisments would have been similar to this:
Both of these illustrations come from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Library.
I have always been fascinated by the comments about 'half-boots', and I have always had trouble visualizing them. I finally found some illustrations of original, surviving half-boots. These are available for sale at Vintage Textile and are late Regency, approaching 1830. Those on the left are of ivory linen and on the right they are of green damask with leather toes and soles. Both pairs lace on the inside of the ankle; I did see one illustration elsewhere with lacing up the front of the boot.
One thing I have not found, and would love to, is an illustration of a lady's riding boot. Has anyone seen such a thing?
I wish I could don a pair of pretty shoes today but I think I shall have to make do with my snow boots, again, and for the next month or so. Oh well, my blue tweed shoes with the kitten heels await the spring, and so does my burgundy leather pair with the criss-cross straps, and…
What do your favourite shoes look like?
Til next time,
P.S. Thanks so much to Linore Burkard for an entertaining and informative post on Princess Charlotte last week. It was a pleasure having you here, Linore!