History of Fashion – Crakows

As if the men in this painting don’t look silly enough in their tights and feathery hats, they are wearing ridiculously pointy shoes.

History of Fashion - Crakows

Named crakows after the city in which they were thought to originate, these hilariously long shoes were everywhere in Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. They were worn by both sexes, but men’s crakows were especially extravagant. These trip hazards often had whalebone inserts or strings at the end that tied to the knees so that walking was still possible. They were so unnecessary and impractical that both the pope and the king of England tried to ban them, and they were included in sumptuary laws that restricted what people were allowed to wear. Nobles were allowed to wear shoes that were 2 feet long, merchants were allowed one foot and peasants half a foot. Presumably no one was going around with a tape measure though.

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