Pattens and Pantofles

The sixteenth century was not known for its practical footwear. The shoes that most wealthy people wore indoors were either very delicate, perhaps made of silk or velvet, or very cumbersome, like the extremely high chopines worn by women. When people wanted to walk outdoors they turned to practical footwear like pattens and pantofles. Pattens were a heavy-duty outer shoe, usually made out of wood, that strapped on over the top of regular shoes. Some pattens might have a wooden sole to which was attached a metal ring several inches tall that elevated the wearer above the mud and dust of the street. Pantofles were much more delicate, resembling the garden clogs or scuffs (flat-soled slipper) of the modern day. They usually slipped on the foot and had a cork sole. By the end of the century pantofles were made of materials nearly as delicate as indoor shoes and could be highly ornate. Still, they offered protection for the feet, their main purpose.


Cassin-Scott, Jack. Costume and Fashion in Colour, 1550–1760. Introduction by Ruth M. Green. Dorset, England: Blandford Press, 1975.

LaMar, Virginia A. English Dress in the Age of Shakespeare. Washington, DC: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1958.

[ See also Volume 3, Sixteenth Century: Chopines ]

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

Other articles you might like: