Thursday, May 7, 2009
Pattens (wooden overshoes) and Pantoffles
By the 14th century poulaines (long toes shoes) were protected by wooden overshoes called pattens. These safeguarded the delicate materials preventing mud and water from destroying the materials they were made from.
In Spain during the Spanish Renaissance the pantoffle, a cross between the wooden soled clog and the patten overshoe, became popular. The wedged mule footwear consisted of a wooden sole with a soft leather or fabric upper. Pantoffles were popular and worn by the women of the court usually in platform style. The pantoffle crossed over into mainstream fashion more readily than the traditional wooden clog which remained very much footwear of the peasantry.
By the 16th century pattens were regularly advertised in the London Gazette and popular with both sexes. By the 17th century many references to pattens were included in popular literature. In his diary, Samuel Pepys complained in 1660 about the poor workmanship of his wife's pattens.
In 1694 Queen Mary II was known to have a collection of satin pantofles with gold and silver lacing.
In Jane Austen’s novel, “Northanger Abbey,” the character Catherine Morland records on her trip to the abbey that some girls wearing pattens stopped to curtsey.
In Charles Dickens’ novel, The cricket on the health, Mrs Mary Perrybingle was described as 'clicking over the wet stones in a pair of pattens.”
The early settlers to Brisbane (circa 1824) were known to embark from their ship wearing fashionable small patten overshoes to protect their shoes.