May 28, 2024

High-Button Shoes

 High-button shoes, which were in fashion from 1870 until the end of World War I and the beginning of the flapper era, were made possible due to the invention of a sewing machine that could attach buttons

 In the late 1800’s, a woman’s greatest virtue was modesty.  Dresses and blouses had high necks and long sleeves.  Skirts were full and ankle length. High-button shoes ensured the ankle would not be seen. The entire body was covered.

As is true today, style often came before comfort and ease.  The button-down shoe was difficult to slip on and hooking each of the 12 or so small buttons on each shoe took some time, so a button hook was developed to aid the process.   “Once the shoes were on the feet, the hook was threaded through each small buttonhole, then hooked around the button and pulled back out, buttoning the shoe,” according to “Fashion Encyclopedia.”

Data gathered by Bob Holdgreve shows that Delphos had numerous boot and shoe makers during this time period.  Some of the names were Lindeman,  Chambers, Davies,  Sheeter, and Geier.  Perhaps one of these gentlemen made a pair of high button shoes but it is more likely that this type of shoe was made in a factory.

The museum has many articles of clothing from this period.  We are open every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. so plan a visit to see our collection.

Published in the Delphos Herald on January 8, 2011 by the Delphos Canal Commission.

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  1. George B. Parous says

    Does anyone know of ANYONE who could custom make a pair of button shoes modeled after a pair I own that are a tad too small?

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