The Victorian era was in the mid to late 1800s, during the reign of England's Queen Victoria. Boots were popular, including button-up, slip-on and lace-up varieties. The term Victorian lace-up boots refers both to lace-style boots that were made during that era and modern boots that are styled to look like their older counterparts. These typically leather boots come in styles for both men and women, and are available from many different sources.
There are still Victorian lace-up boots that date back to the Victorian era, but they tend to be well worn and are relatively small. It is much more common for people to wear authentic reproductions. Ideally, these are made of the same materials as the original Victorian lace-up boots. For costume wear, however, some may choose a boot consisting of man-made materials rather than the more expensive leather.
Most of the Victorian lace-up boots made for men are fairly short, hitting mid-ankle or just above it. They are typically black or brown, though lighter colors can sometimes be found. The laces in these boots are usually dark and tend to be made of thick, heavy material. The heel is typically short and block shaped.
It is not uncommon for Victorian lace-up boots and other shoes to be dressed up with the addition of spats when made for men. Spats are white or light colored cloth covers that fit over the boots, secured in place with a strap under the arch. These decorative accessories cover about 2/3 of the shoes, leaving most of the toe area uncovered. They are used to dress up a man’s outfit and were quite commonly worn with suits in the mid to late 1800s.
Victorian lace-up boots for women come in both low and high-top styles, with ankle-high and mid-calf as the two most common varieties. Laces typically run up the front of the shoe, from the foot to the top of the boot. The heels usually range from 2 to 3 inches in height (5 to 7.6 cm) and are fairly chunky, with an hourglass shape. Color choices include green, tan and white, though black and brown are still the predominant colors.
One additional prominent feature of women’s Victorian lace-up boots is the very pointed, narrow toes. When buying shoes or boots in this style it is sometimes best to get them a size larger than usual to prevent toes from getting too pinched. The extra room helps to ensure that the boots remain wearable despite the extreme styling.