The History of boots

While traditional forms of boots continue to be worn throughout the world for specific functions, they have also played an important role in fashion throughout history. Shop on our website and find your perfect boots!


Earliest Boots

The oldest known depiction of boots is in a cave painting from Spain, which has been dated between 12,000 and 15,000 B.C.E. This painting seems to depict man in boots of skin and a woman in boots of fur. Persian funerary jars have been found which date from around 3000 B.C.E. and are made in the shape of boots. Boots were also found in the tomb of Khnumhotep (2140-1785 B.C.E.) in Egypt. The Scythians of about 1000 B.C.E. were reported by the Greeks to have worn simple boots of untanned leather with the fur turned in against the leg. These simple baglike boots were then lashed to the leg by a thong of leather. This basic form can be found in the traditional dress of many Asiatic and Arctic cultures as well.

In the ancient world, boots represented ruling power and military might. Emperors and kings wore ornate and colorful examples; this was a significant distinction when the majority of the population went barefoot. Leather was expensive, and roman emperors were cited as wearing colorful jeweled and embroidered examples-even with gold soles. Boots were also already associated with the military-the campagnus was worn by the highest-ranking officers and some senators in ancient Rome, the height of the boot denoting rank. Other styles, such as the high, white leather phaecasim, were worn as ceremonial garb.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, the styles shoes and boots established by the ancient world continued. Courtiers of the Carolingian period were depicted wearing high boots laced halfway up the leg. Under Charlemagne the term brodequin is first used for these laced boots and roman terms rejected. The huese, a high, soft leather shoe and forerunner to the boot appeared toward the ninth century. During the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, a short, soft boot called the estivaux was popular. Toward the middle of the fourteenth century, people often wore soled hose, which precluded the need for shoes and boots.

Sixteenth Century

By the sixteenth century, high boots of soft perfumed leather were worn to meet upper stocks and would soon develop into the wide, floppy cavalier styles of the first half of the seventeenth century. Soft boots folded down- and slouchy boots worn with boot hose elaborately trimmed with lace flaring out into wide funnel shapes to fold down over the boots-characterized these fashions. Boot hose was worn both for its decorative qualities and to protect the costly silk stockings. 

Eighteenth Century

For the more gentlemanly pursuit of sport riding, the high cavalier boot of the seventeenth century developed into a softer and closer fitting “jockey” style boot with the top folded down under the knee for mobility which showed the brown leather or cotton lining. This style originated in 1727 and became increasingly fashionable into the 1770s. 


botas vaqueras

Twentieth Century

In the early years of the twentieth century, boots were still prevalent but soon abandoned by fashionable dress in the 1920s. In this period boots returned to their functional role, and traditional forms remained in use for specific military and sport activities. The exception to this was the vogue among women for knee-high leather Russian boots which featured relatively high heels and a side zipper for a close fit. In the second half of the twentieth century, boots reemerged as an important element in the counterculture fashions favored by the young.