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Vintage womens ankle boots

May 15, 2015

Whereas high heeled shoes have never done much for me, Vintage womens ankle boots and the ankle boot is a particular favourite, it provides support to the ankle and allows you to wear heels without toppling over, twisting your ankle or falling over in them.

Not everyone would agree, and that’s fair enough, perhaps I have weak ankles.

Ankle boots – a Fashion Staple

Vintage womens ankle boots have been in and out of fashion, but one has to agree that it’s a fashion staple that’s here to stay, regardless of whether they’re being worn down a catwalk or being hailed as the next big thing at your local high street store…yet again.

Vintage ankle boots the thinking women’s boot

Knee high boots are always in, but don’t always have the edge that ankle boots have, that final foot decoration that holds the entire foot and ankle in with a shapely heel at the end. Knee high boots can be clumsy and hot, whereas an ankle boot gives your legs room to breathe and offers an edgy elegance over the knee high.


Although for a while there the Ugg boot was king, its ugly foot shape and Wellington boot design made knee or calf high boots the thing to have on your feet come rain or shine. But they lack the sophistication of an ankle boot and can never replace the different shapes, designs and colours of an ankle boot, with the variety of heels on offer.


For me the ankle boot will always reign supreme and if like me, you love a bit of vintage, then here are some of the best vintage ankle boots to look out for.

Pixie Boot – 1980s

The pixie boot can mean different things to different people and if you type pixie boot 1980s into a search engine you’re liable to get anything from slouchy ankle boots to lace up booties.


The pixie boot I recall is always a round toed boot with a thick collar at the top of the boot, however a pixie boot can be short ankle boot type shoe with lace ups. The pixie boot with round toe usually has a collar that folds down or can be worn up giving the ankle boot a little length and bringing it almost to calf length.


The lace up pixie boot can also have a collar that folds up, only difference is, it will have lace ups so that the bottom half of your boot is similar to a shoe.

Vintage womens ankle boots-Granny shoes – 1980s

The granny shoe is a particular favourite, again this has a laces up the front and usually finishes off with a Cuban heel reaching high up the ankle. On first appearance they look just like Victorian boots and one can only assume they were inspired by them. They’re fun, they’re comfy and it’s great if you can get hold of a vintage pair.

Chelsea Boot – 1960s, 70s, 90s

Another personal favourite and really comfortable to wear, looks best with jeans and pants. These are tight fitting ankle length boots with an elastic side panel with a tab at the back to help pull them on.


They design goes back to the Victorian period and they were worn by both men and women alike. They were extraordinarily popular during the 1960s and were worn by the Beatles, which didn’t do their reputation any harm.


The Chelsea boot is still around, but the vintage Chelsea is always better. Keep your eyes peeled for a Chelsea boot loyal to its era, shiny and mod with a heel from the 60s or thoroughly traditional Chelsea riding boot from the 1950s or 60s.


Whichever Vintage womens ankle boots you go with, follow your heart and your mind and buy with confidence – your ankles with thank you for it.


Vintage womens ankle boots have been around for a long, long time. Originally a practical item composed of shoes and leather leggings, in about 1000BC the leggings became stitched to the shoes for a bit more protection for the ankle.

Maybe they didn’t have nice woolly socks to keep their ankles warm.

 Vintage Ankle Boots for Women

Ankle boots were worn worldwide – I love the Wiki description of how “The Inuit and Aleut natives of Alaska developed traditional winter boots of caribou skin or sealskin featuring decorative touches of seal intestine, dog hair and wolverine fur”.


Those Alaskans knew a good look! However, Alaskan sealskin boots don’t quite come under the heading of Vintage Womens Ankle Boots, so, moving on.


In the UK, and Europe ankle boots came into fashion for women in about 1804. The examples I’ve seen are incredibly dainty, with a square toe and made of soft leather and fabric, even the sole. They’re not made for hiking. I doubt you could even walk outside in them.


However, by the Victorian period sturdier versions certainly existed, usually with a pointed toe, kitten heel and laced.


They could still be made in different fine fabrics, such as a silk to match a dress, but usually you’re looking at a practical black or brown leather.

Womens Ankle Boots in the 20th Century

Short, fur lined boots became fashionable in the 30s with a flat heel for winter, but the ankle boot didn’t really rise again until the 1960s.


Mary Quant made clog like ankle boots in vinyl, and André Courrèges loved to put his models in white space age ankle boots.


Then we jump to the 80s, when pixie boots with pointed toes and wide, slouchy ankles with a small heel came in.


Vintage womens ankle boots were worn with tights and dresses, or tucked into ski pants.


In the 90s, desert boots became popular, along with chunky work boots like the beige Caterpillar boots with a thick, rugged sole, or Doc Martins, both of which were still popular today.


Some people wore very heavy Army surplus boots, which contrasted with flimsy, flowery dresses. Biker boots and cowboy boots were also sometimes seen, worn in the same way.


Five years ago or so there was a real explosion in the style, and not only did shoe-boots become popular (very high shoes, covering the top of the foot but leaving the ankle bare and with a high heel) but ankle boots with all kinds of heel: two inch platforms or spike heels, slouchy, tight, with biker buckles or intricate lacing. And toes were pointed, square, rounded or peep toe.


And Womens Vintage Ankle Boots came in just about every colour and finish you can think of. Lately designers have been experimenting with the heels of the ankle boots, looking at decorated heels, sculpted heels or even no heels at all.

How to wear Vintage Ankle Boots

Ankle boots look great with skinny jeans, leggings or dresses, and Vintage Womens Ankle Boots are no exception. Victorian style boots are really popular and they look quirky, and Doc Martins are great for stomping around.

Shop more Women’s Footwear



Young, ravishing and kooky – Helena in the 80s.

Tim Burton in the 80s.

Frieda Kahlo meets Brooke Shields.

HBC in Room With a View.

The closest HBC ever came to androgyny.

Looking like a Pre-Raphaelite portrait.

An actual Pre-Raphaeilie portrait.

Tim Burton’s self portrait.

But together they look ravishing!

Quite ravishing!

As dressed by the Andrex puppy.

Any similarity with Corpse Bride is accidental.

I rest my case.
The infamous Chelsea boot

The Beatles in their Chelsea boots

The lace up pixie boot

Ankle boots-Traditional pixie boot

Traditional pixie boot-The granny boot – a stylish choice

Traditional Chelsea boot

Your ankles are begging to be wrapped in leather

Ancient Greek Pair of Terracotta Boots 900BC by Sharon Mollerus

Womens Ankle Boots, 1851 (courtesy V&A)

Needlepoint boot of about 1845 (V&A collections)

Victorian Ankle Boots (by Adriana Popa)

Vinyl ankle boots by Mary Quant 1967 (V&A collection)

Courrege ankle boot, 1965 (V&A)

80s Pixie Boots

Your stompy cat boot.

Shirly Manson in her clompy 90s boots.

Contemporary ankle boots. Photo by