Women’s Shoes a Hundred Years Ago

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, November 9, 1912:  Was real busy today. Got a new pair of shoes, but I wasn’t away to get them. As I said before that I was busy today.

Source of pictures: Ladies Home Journal (1912)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Hmm . . . How did Grandma get shoes without going anywhere?  Did her mother or sister buy them for her?

I’ve posted lots of pictures of 1912 fashions from Ladies Home Journal—and many of the pictures showed shoes peeking out beneath the dresses.  Today, I cropped a few of the pictures to just show the shoes.


You can get a sense of what stylish shoes looked like a hundred years ago—though many of the shoes were drawn in a soft, slightly blurry way since they weren’t the focus of pictures.

14 Responses

  1. Looks like pointy shoes were popular. Great for stepping into corners to squash bugs or spiders ;-).

  2. I’ve seen some incredibly narrow shoes in museums, I wonder if our feet have gotten bigger? I’d actually wear those boots on top, they’re awesome

    • Maybe. . . I was thinking that it was just the way the artists drew the pictures, but maybe feet were narrower back then.

      The top shoes would be fun to wear. :)

  3. I wore some of those styles when I was 18

  4. Perhaps the shoes were ordered through a catalog–Sears or Montgomery Ward.

  5. Helena makes me smile with her humorously pithy writing style.The Edwardian era is really my favorite, in terms of dress. I’d wear these shoes today.

  6. The heel in the first picture looks comfortable compared to today’s style.

    • Many of the really stylish shoes today are almost impossible to wear. I’ve decided that I’m too old to wear stilettos. I could break an ankle. :)

  7. Ooohhh… I REALLY like the second pair down, with the bow :-)

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