Stap shoes in the late 19th and early 20th Century sometimes had straps which crossed the foot from the back of the shoe. Instead of the strap coming directly across at the instep, it comes from the back and wraps around the ankel. It was a kind of ankle strapm shoe. These straps were normally narrow. We had thought that this style was only worn during a relatively narrow time period from the mid-1890s to the early 1920s, but now notice some earlier examples. It was worn with both light and dark stockings, but by the early-1900s, this style was quite common with long white stockings. In the 1910s they began to be worn with white three-quater stockings as well.
The back strap style of strap shoe had a strap which was attached at the back of the shoe. Rather than crossing the foot like the instep style, the back strapped did not cross the book and was instead buckled at the ankle--above where the instep strap crossed the foot. Thus there was no strap coming directly across at the instep, it comes from the back and wraps around the front. The strap were normally very narrow. It was secured by a small metal buckle at the front of the strap. These shoes often had little bows on them. Such bows are still commonly worn on dancing pumps. In fact this style was very similar to a dancing pump, except for the back ankle strap.
We note strap shoes with the strapm bar at the instep in the early-19th century. We are notb sure when the ankle stap shoes at first appeared. The earliest example we have found comes from Britain at mid-century. Rebecca Solomon depicted an idealized Victorian family duruing 1851-54. The boy wears a maroon or burgandy tunic with pantalettes, white three-quarter socks, and ankle strap shoes. The style does not seem to have been very popular, at least in America. We note substantial numbers of strap shoes during the late-19th and early-20th century done as ankle strap shoes. This style was only worn during a relatively narrow time period from the mid-1890s to the early 1920s. HBC does not at this time have detailed time line data. Much heavier shoes were commonly worn in the 1880s. We have not noted in before the 1890s. The more common usage of dark long stockings, sometimes make it difficult to spot the shoes. White stockings were more commonly worn in the 1900s and strap shoes become more noticeable. Most of the photograsphs of boys wearing this style were taken in the 1900s and 1910s. The style was still commonly worn in the early 1920s, but seen much less commonly after about 1925 in America. While boys wore this style of strap shoe much less commonly by the 1930s, they did not entirely disapear. They were still worn by girls. As a result, mothers might occasionally use them for younger boys for formal occasions. A HBC contributor tells me that an Italian friend who took his First Communion at a Catholic school about 1960 wore these back strap strap shoes with his formal outfit. He grew up in a northern suburb of Boston. His parents were first generation Itlalians.
HBC notices a number of differences concerning these shoe styles. The strap is done at different heights. The toe style can vary. And some of these have different shaped bows over the closed toe.
HBC at this time has no information on country differences.
Boys wore this style of shoe from about 3 to 10 years of age. Girls might wear into their teen years.
The same style of back strap strap shoes were worn by both boys and girls. Girls wore them to an older age, but the styles were identical. Girls also continued wearing them after the mid-1920s when boys rarely worn them. We notice that in many photographs the boy wears one style of strap shoe and the girl another style. We can detect no consistency, however, as to who wears which style. Both boys and girl wear back strap shoes. Often mothers liked to diferentiate, but as far as we can determine, there was no well accecpted convention.
The back strap strap shoes HBC has seen were mostly black. We have not seen colored back strap shoes.
The strap shoes of this style were mostly made in patent leather.
Boys weraring back strap strap shoes are probably most commonly outfitted in sailor suits, because the sailor suit was so common. They were, however, worn with many othr styles such as Fauntleroy suits, Buster Brown and other tunic suit styles, and dressy blouses with kneepants. Usually they were worn with kneepants rather than short pants because shorts were just becoming popular as this style of strap shoes was becoming less fashionable.
These back strap strap shoes were worn with both light and dark stockimgs, but by the early 1900s, this style was quite common with long white stockings. In the 1910s they began to be worn with white three-quater stockings as well. Some boys in the 1920s wore them with white kneesocks, but this was less common becuse after the early 1920s when white kneesocks became more common, boys did not commonly wear this style of strap shoe. For the most part they were worn with solid color hosiery, but we have noted three-quarter white socks with narrow colored bands. We do not yet have any information on country differences.
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