Obsolete Fashion: Patent Worthy Pattens?


Image Above: commons.wikimedia.org

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.

Images Above: and lgq.org.uk

Images Above: echostains.wordpress.com and lgq.org.uk

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?

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  1. Susie 02/15/2010 at 1:37 pm #

    While I LOVE the idea of pattens around this time of year (I’m from Massachusetts and lovely, dirty snow is a common sight), I have a feeling they wouldn’t work on modern roads and sidewalks. When pattens were commonly used the roads were usually either dirt and/or cobblestone, which usually give the pattens something to grip on. But on asphalt or concrete? I have visions of tons of people slipping on black ice…but then again knowing my luck it would probably just be me. 🙂

  2. Katie 02/15/2010 at 1:43 pm #

    I would absolutely love for pattens to come back. It would keep so many places so much cleaner if we could just wear pattens outside and take them off once we came in.

  3. Alison B. 02/15/2010 at 4:39 pm #

    I should make these out in my dad’s wood shop and sell them on ebay. That would be something if people actually bought them!

  4. Piglett 02/15/2010 at 9:43 pm #

    those are awesome!! They would bee hella useful at shows so you’re not standing in a pool of beer!!

    Perhaps you could make them with little spikes or something that would grip the icy snow

  5. Jeremy 02/16/2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Gosh. I need these right now for my jaunts down Walnut street.

  6. Stephanie 02/16/2010 at 3:57 pm #

    But can you imagine someone accidentally stepping on your foot with one of those? Yikes!

  7. Katie 02/16/2010 at 7:43 pm #

    I want a pair of these pronto! Slushy snow and gross salt stains on my boots would be a thing of the past.

  8. Brianna 02/16/2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Like Stephanie said, I think that would really hurt if you got stepped on!!

    I think an idea similar to this but not as harsh looking would be interesting.

    However, I’d be afraid that it would feel like you were walking on stilts and be a falling hazard.

  9. Emily 02/16/2010 at 11:01 pm #

    I think they should totally come back! But they should have a warning on the label or something to tell clumsy people to be extra careful…. and to have your attourney present whenever you wear them. haha

  10. anna 02/25/2010 at 1:04 pm #

    i think we should bring back pattens, but instead of the stilt like things, have them look more like detachable platforms with full grippy tread and in billions of colors.

  11. Melissa 02/26/2010 at 9:10 am #

    Those look a little perilous to me! I don’t think I have the balance to wear those. The ones in those first picture – how could you walk in those?

  12. Ally 02/27/2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I would love those! Its so unique but it looks like you could break your ankle easily.. lol.. I would definently buy a fashionable version of them.

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