Shoes with toe pieces, 1800. Silk, cotton, leather, metal, wood. Collection of Shelburne Museum, 1956-646.17a-d.
These black silk satin shoes are fitted with removable overshoes made of leather that would have provided a modicum of protection for outdoor use. The brass wire springs at the rear would have been covered in kid leather, working like an elastic band to fit tightly over the small “Italian” heel to hold the shoes in place. The extremely pointed toe and v-shaped throat were in vogue at the turn of the 19th century.