The Shoe Horn, also referred to as Shoe Spoon or Shoeing Horn has been around what is believed to be since the 15th century. It is thought that the wealthy Elizabethans fashion for tight fitting shoes may have encouraged the market for well crafted, highly decorated shoe horns.
By the 16th and early 17th century the shoe horn crafted of silver, tortoiseshell, brass, whalebone, wood, ivory, copper, gunmetal, or wood among many other materials, was an essential accessory.
Throughout the 19th century fashion of men’s stiff leather button-boots and lines of buttons along women’s gloves and clothing brought the need for button hooks. These were handles to help fasten the ornate garments & footwear. Shoe horns became companions to button hooks and were often bought in sets.
Button hooks stayed popular up until the First World War but had almost disappeared by the beginning of the Second World War, where shoe horns continued to be made of plastic. Since then these fashion accessories are no longer crafted as artefacts, which has made vintage and antique shoe horns very collectible.
Today the desire for casual footwear has lessened the use of shoe horns, but they are still an
essential tool found in many homes as this little item can be your best friend when it comes to putting on a pair of shoes or boots.