It has been commonly stated that the first instance of the women wearing high heels involved the 1533 marriage between Catherine de' Medici and the Duke of Orleans. She wore heels made in Florence for her wedding, and as a result, Italian high heels became the norm for ladies of the Duke's court in France. Mary Tudor, another short monarchs, wore heels that were as tall as possible. From this period until the early 19th century, high heels were frequently in vogue for both sexes. The early Victorians were much more comfortable than those of previous eras because shoes were finally being made for left and right feet specifically, and were no longer interchangeable. It became acceptable around 1850 for women to wear the same kinds of boots that men were wearing. Women’s boots would feature intricate embroidery, dying, and lace. They were made from rubber and leather, and also were heeled in a different way than men’s. With scalloped edges, patent leather, and dyed suede, these boots were hardly ones you would want to get muddy, and fashion boots still survive to this day as a lasting testimony to the Victorian Era.
Later in the Victorian Era, as dresses became more bustled and A-line, the shoes turned more into what we would today consider a heel or pump. These heels could be embellished with bows, gemstones, fabric flowers, buckles, tassels—basically, anything you could think of putting on a shoe, it probably happened. Shoes could be covered in silk, suede, or any other fabric, and the variety was as diverse as their owners.