Pattens were protective overshoes worn by men and women from the Middle Ages into the early 1900s. Built of raised wooden or metal soles and adjustable leather straps to hold the wearer’s shoes in place, pattens were designed to keep feet free from the perils of unpaved roads.
In the Medieval period, the soles of shoes were very thin, and in addition to protecting shoes from wetness, mud, and muck, pattens also functioned to keep the wearer out of animal dung or human “effluent,” which was often thrown into the street with little warning! In the Early Modern period, the wearing of pattens in church was discouraged and sometimes straight-up forbidden, due to what Jane Austen described as their “ceaseless clink[ing]” racket.
In Pittsburgh, the snow is turning to slush that is a gross and grey with exhaust. It seeps through my boots, soaks through my socks, and makes my feet damp and cold. I think I would like pattens to come back!
What are your thoughts, ModLovers?