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Spat Boots

The History of Spats

Spats have been out of fashion since the First World War, but are currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity thanks to changing trends. Spats were very common for men throughout the late 19th century and traditionally made of a loose brown felt. Spats usually included button fasteners to secure the material around a man’s footwear, but it wasn’t unusual to find cloth or even pins used as fasteners. This served two purposes: cleanliness and fashion. It’s perhaps the earliest example of a trendy footwear accessory for men, but this trend was largely due to the function it served. Spats were primarily found amongst military personnel who used them as a cheap and convenient way to both protect their boots on the field and to distinguish their rank and file amongst their peers.

By the mid 1930s, high-top shoes were far more fashionable for men and this was due to a general increase in cleanliness in urban areas. What were once mucky, filthy areas that used horses and carriages as a means of transport became the more manageable concrete and asphalt areas usable by the newly emerging cars we know today. It is reported that the elderly and more socially elite continued to wear their spats into the 1950s, but many of the youth at the time discarded them as they saw little to no use to continue wearing a piece of material over their shoes. This abandonment both increased the comfort of the shoe and controlled its internal temperatures far more readily, which created a much more pleasant wearing experience overall.

Today, spats are slowly coming back into fashion thanks to an increased level of interest in regalia and militaria. However, they’re not the historical separate piece that the general public once knew. While it is still possible to purchase spats on their own, men often go for an integrated solution that combines the spat with the boot in a single piece. A well-selling example of this are the Spat Boots by GvS Clothiers. Here, men will find a completely customizable bespoke option that meets the exact needs of their feet combined with a traditional charm that’s hard to beat in today’s fashion scene.

Michael Snell

Loving father and husband