ON THE ORIGINS OF THE BALMORAL BOOTS
"Fashions fade, style is eternal".
- Yves Saint Lauren -
The origin of the Balmoral boot dates back to the mid-19th century, when boots were the most widespread type of footwear.
It is not surprising that today they are a sign of distinction and style, when they were conceived by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband. At the time, he was what we would consider a true "influencer" today. He cared about dressing stylishly and set the fashion trends at the time.
To speak of the origins of the Balmoral swag is to speak of glamour.
The boot to which we dedicate this entry was born from the need of the British royalty to have a shoe that would allow them to walk in the vast domains of the Scottish countryside where Balmoral Castle is located (residence of Queen Victoria at that time, and summer residence of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh nowadays).
What Prince Albert asked for was a boot that was not only suitable for outdoor use, but also elegant enough to be worn indoors. And that it could also be worn at formal gatherings with the high society of the time. Its design and manufacture was entrusted to the craftsman Joseph Sparkes Hall, who had previously designed several models of footwear for Queen Victoria. The boot designed by Sparkes Hall was given the name "Balmoral". The result was so spectacular that the Queen herself commissioned the craftsman to make several pairs to fit her feet. This also made the model popular among the high society women of the time.
In the following decades, this type of boot became one of the most commonly worn by the upper classes.
Features of the Balmoral boot
This shoe is characterised by the presence of a seam from the instep running approximately parallel to the sole. This seam divides the shoe into two sections. The lower section is normally made of top quality leather and integrates the most resistant flexible part. The upper is usually made of a material "less noble" than leather, but aesthetically more original (usually suede, fabric-tweed or wool, or leather of a different colour than the lower part of the boot).
It is precisely the contrast of colours and materials of the upper and the bottom that gives the shoes their charm, personality and originality.
As far as the lacing or buttoning system is concerned, it is always closed, similar to that of the Oxford shoe.
This type of boot usually has a low heel, and its distinct "British" style imposes a rounded toe.
Until a few months ago, only our husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers and friends had had the opportunity to enjoy the Balmoral boot from Bohemian Shoes ... But, true to our way of working, we have given our all to bring out a version for women, which is pure style and femininity. And we know that it has left everyone with their mouths open... Because it is a marvel of craftsmanship and because whoever has it in front of them and wears it, simply hallucinates. And to do so is to walk between the waters of the Victorian era and the present... With the contemporary and chic touch that only Bohemia imprints on its footwear.
So much for this review of the origins of the Balmoral boot. A type of footwear that we at Bohemian Shoes have adopted as our flagship shoe, our most "British and the most emblematic shoe in our catalogue. With the permission, of course, of our dancer AUDREYwhich has allowed us to carve out a niche for ourselves in a world as demanding as that of the manufacture and sale of handcrafted footwear. It is true that we love each and every one of our creations, and in all of them we have put the same effort and the same tons of love and dedication... But who doesn't have a favourite in their life?
Have a good weekend!
Eva Veiga - Bohemian Shoes