Children's Footware Types

There were several basic footwear options for children and adults. The most common was for boys to go barefoot. This was particularly common for children, although climate was a factor. The other was to wear sandals or shoes/boots. Conventions and fashions concerning these choices have varried over time and in our modern age from country to country. Choices about children until recently have been very strongly affected by the economic and class status of the family. The sandal was, and still is, a popular form of footwear. This is particularly true in warmer areas. The sandal has varied from the primitive form worn thousands of years before Christ, to beautifully finished versions with many straps and intricate decoration. Boys have wore sandals since ancient times. In more recent times, boys have worn both closed-toe and open-toe sandals. Boys have worn a wide variety of shoes since the 17th century. Until the 19th century, however, they mostly wore small editions of women's shoes while still in dresses and small editions of their fathers' shoes after breeching. Distinctive shoes for children appeared in the late 18th and early 19th century. Boys in the early 19th century wore slipper-type pumps with white stockings. Strap shoes were worn at mid century by boys still in dresses. After the middle of the century, button boots were comonly worn especially in America. By the turn of the century footware had become more varried. Strap shoes were worn bybyounger boys for dressy occasions. Oxford shoes appeared as modified boots for, as the name indicates, Oxford university students in the 17th century. A boot was traditioinally a leather covering for the foor, normally reaching at least to mid-calf level. Rubberized boots appeared in the 20th century. Boys wear all kinds of different boots and boot like footwear, such as cowboy boots, wellies. snow boots, and others. Some like cowboy boots have at times been poular with children.

Barefeet

A common footwear option was to go barefoot. This was particularly common for children, although climate was a factor. It was also most common in rural reas. There were variations from country to country. Povertywas also a factor, but ts was not always the case. American boys well into the 20th century would commonly go barefoot in the summer. This was especially the case in rural areas. This was in part because if the cost of shoes, but also because boys finding going barefoot in the days before sneakers more comfortable. Some boys considered in more manly to go barefoot. Now boys mostly like to wear sneakers or sport sandals. Boys in New Zealand and Australia, however, still often go barefoot.


Figure 1.--For dressy occasions such as weddings boys might wear short pants and white knee socks with patent leather slippers or strap shoes. This appears to have been most common in France. This picture post card of idealized French boys was made in the 1920s.

Sandals

The sandal was, and still is, a popular form of footwear. This is particularly true in warmer areas. The sandal has varied from the primitive form worn thousands of years before Christ, to beautifully finished versions with many straps and intricate decoration. Boys have wore sandals since ancient times. In more recent times, boys have worn both closed-toe and open-toe sandals. The closed toe-type is now considered by most to be for only very small boys or girls. Open toe sandals became very popular in California and are now widely worn as casual or sports footware. They are also worn by New Zealand school children during the warm weather. The sandal in Europe and America was once seen as a child's shoe style and had both casual and more formal styles--the strap shoe. Sandals are now viewed as a warm weather, casual foowear style.

Shoes

Boys have worn a wide variety of shoes since the 17th century. Until the 19th century, however, they mostly wore small editions of women's shoes while still in dresses and small editions of their fathers' shoes after breeching. Distinctive shoes for children appeared in the late 18th and early 19th century. Boys in the early 19th century wore slipper-type pumps with white stockings. Strap shoes were worn at mid century by boys still in dresses. After the middle of the century, button boots were comonly worn especially in America. By the turn of the century footware had become more varried. Strap shoes were worn bybyounger boys for dressy occasions. Oxford shoes appeared as modified boots for, as the name indicates, Oxford university students in the 17th century. After World War I sneakers, saddle shoes, and closed-toe sandals appeared. The principal shoe for boys, however, was to be the oxford. After World War II other styles like loafers appeared, but by the 1970s boys wanted to wear sneakers. Sandals have become increasingly popular during the 1990s.

Boots

A boot was traditioinally a leather covering for the foor, normally reaching at least to mid-calf level. Rubberized boots appeared in the 20th century. Boys wear all kinds of different boots and boot like footwear, such as cowboy boots, wellies. snow boots, and others. Some like cowboy boots have at times been poular with children.

Overshoes

Overshoes are protective footwear worn over the shoes to protect them. There have been different types of overshoes. Some looked rather like boots. like wellies and galoshes. Wellies were even called boots. The key difference was that with overshoes you kept your shoes on while boots were footwear themselves and not worn with shoes. Boot like overshoes were called galoshes. Ones for shoes were called rubbers. Galoshes were commonly worn by boys. Rubbers were more common for men. Overshoes were not very popular with chidren--primarily because of the bother associated with oputting them on and taking them off.







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Created: 6:28 PM 4/26/2008
Last updated: 6:29 PM 4/26/2008