As with any antique clothing style, Edwardian Titanic shoes are not part of modern footwear fashion. That makes dressing up in an Edwardian Titanic outfit challenging. Sure, you can buy vintage shoes, but their age makes them very delicate and best suited for show and tell only.
As for reproduction shoes…. they are near impossible to find. One newer brand, however, has a few fabulous Edwardian reproduction shoes: this “Astoria” shoe made by American-Duchess is a strappy, short heel pump in either Ivory or black leather with smooth leather soles ideal for dancing. They are highly recommended (beware of the cheap knock-offs sold elsewhere).
Outside of reproduction shoes, you can use new vintage inspired shoes that have enough of the Titanic era design to them to make them good costume choices. More on that in a moment.
Titanic Era Shoe History
Most of the Victorian or Edwardian era women’s shoes were tall lace up boots. While these continued to be a popular choice for working daywear or traveling shoes, first class women wanted more beauty and comfort in their footwear. The time of the Titanic sinking was the height of shoe fashion. Boot style shoes were made of colored velvet and silk instead of leather, and laced-up with wide silky ribbon. Slip-ons in the form of mules came back in vogue and were embellished with beads, pearls and applique. An early version of the Mary Jane was introduced as a short heeled pump with 3 or more button straps across the foot’s vamp. The recent exhibits of Titanic artifacts show that many passengers wore these styles of shoes on board.
New Shoes with Titanic style:
Learn about vintage Edwardian era shoes here.
Edwardian boots were either lace-up or button-up with the buttons fastening on the outside like this boot. The boot could either be a solid color or two-toned like men’s spats. This nice color combination is good for daywear or while traveling to the Titanic. An excellent choice for an all around great boot.
In the Titanic movie, Rose wore boots similar to these with her blue velvet ‘flying’ dress. The movie version boots were lace-up, and these had straps and buttons, which still makes them very period correct. They come in black or purple, and are made by Pleaser, which I don’t normally recommend, but these are an exception.
This nearly flat-soled mule with beaded vamp design is a great find. The beads stick up off the shoes a bit too much to be authentic, but the overall color and feel is VERY Titanic. I would buy these in a heartbeat. (They are now sold out. )
This next pair of mules have a soft suede exterior, pretty toe cord detail and a 3-inch heel with an almost correct shape for the Titanic era. Usually heels didn’t go over 2 inches, but under a long gown no one will know. These are made by Rockport, which is an excellent brand for creating shoes that look formal but feel as comfortable as tennis shoes. Available in black, stone and a blue similar to the next shoes. (Sold out.)
These next two shoes are the closest pumps I could find that feature straps that were very common in Edwardian pumps and boots. Usually shoes had three or more straps either lying straight across or zigzag for more pizzazz. The straps often had beads to match the decoration on the shoe toe. Although these shoes only have two straps, they are the right style and heel height, which makes them a very good choice. Plus, I just love the affordable price and color choices.
This foot friendly, cross strap shoe is another excellent alternative for an Edwardian Titanic shoe. It comes in many widths and additional colors. It is a design that would carry well into the early 1920s with the addition of the T-strap down the center.
While this era didn’t see too many flats worn outside the home, I couldn’t resist showing off these ones. The pretty silver, gold and rhinestone vamp design on soft purple velvet material is stunning. These are handcrafted in Italy with a price to match the quality. Next time I have $500 to spend, I’ll buy these. (Now Sold out)
The picture of these in black don’t do justice to the design. The shape of the shoe is very “antique”, with the heel thin but otherwise perfectly carved into the standard boot heel shape on the Victorian-Edwardian era. I would suggest adding a rhinestone brooch or clip to the top for some extra sparkle. Available in black, blue and teal blue.
Since writing this article over a year ago, many of these shoes are now sold out; however, I have added even more Titanic inspired shoes for sale here:
How to Make a Pair of Titanic Shoes
With a few craft supplies and a pair of plain pumps or mules, you can make a pair of Titanic style shoes.
1. Locate a pair of plaid colored, low-heeled pumps or mules with a fabric finish like velvet, silk, satin or cotton. Suede or micro-suede can work well, too. Leather will be OK if you don’t have anything else, but avoid patent leather (shiny stuff). The color should match your dress. Use black or white, if that’s not possible.
2. Find some applique or thick lace trim at your local fabric or craft store. You can even use beaded trim instead of a solid applique. The trim should match your shoes. If it’s a white trim made of cotton or other natural fiber, you can also die it with fabric dye. Man-made material won’t die. You can, however, use fabric paint to change the color.
TJ Formal carries a line of Coloriffics stick-on applique for shoes that would be perfect for this project. They also make rhinestone clips for decorating the tops of shoes.
3. Glue or sew on the applique to the top toe of the shoe in a triangle shape with the point pointing towards the tip. For mules, you can wrap the whole shoe in applique if you wish.
www.bustledress.com This site has some good examples of beaded Titanic era shoes.
www.pinterest.com has pictures of antique Edwardian shoes for more inspiration.
4. Add more beads, rhinestone or jewels for more sparkle.
5. That’s it. You’re done. It’s a very easy project and the results are amazing.
Here are the shoes I made. I started with black Astoria Shoes from American-Duchess and added peel and stick on rhinestone stickers over the toe, heel and edges. The stickers I found were made by Recollections in the scrap booking section of Michael’s craft store. I love that these are just stickers so they are temporary. I can decorate these shoes over and over again to coordinate with my dress.
So now you know about the various first class styles of Edwardian Titanic shoes and how to make a pair or buy new shoes with the correct style. For more history and examples of Edwardian Titanic shoes, visit ng.shoe-icons.com/museum.
I’d love to know what Titanic shoe style you love best. Leave a comment below.