Damask gaiter boots, c.1830
Side-lacing half boots with toe and heel foxing of contrasting leather were called gaiter boots, because they resembled gaiters (spats) worn over shoes. Originally borrowed from military dress, gaiters protected stockings from the mud and were known in England as "spatterdashes," whence comes the word "spats."
Gaiter boots were impractical for serious walking. They were, however, favored over sturdier footwear because gaiter boots made the foot appear dainty and genteel. Women of the early 19th century often endured the discomfort of wearing small shoes and boots in order to make their feet appear delicate.
This elegant pair features deep green damask uppers lined with ecru cotton canvas twill and foxed with black leather. The boots lace up on one side with the original lacings. The soles are leather.
In the early 19th century, boots became all the rage among fashionable women. In the English magazine Crispin Anecdotes (1827), a writer complains: "It is to be regretted that many ladies should prefer the wearing of boots to the use of the shoe."
The condition is very good to excellent. There is minor scuffing on the toes as well as several unobtrusive early mends on the cloth. The mended areas are barely visible and do not spoil the appearance of the boots.
The boots are 9 1/2" long.