What are Court Shoes?

Court Shoes originated many years ago and were worn in the royal courts which is how the name court shoe was created. When the court shoe was first developed it was only worn by wealthy upper class individuals and members of the royal court. Later as material and technology improved court shoes became popular amongst all consumers.

How high is the Court Shoe height?

A Court Shoes height varies depending on the style. The most common court shoe heel height is the kitten heel court shoe and the medium heel court shoe. Typically, you wouldn’t see a stiletto court shoe. The style of the heel will vary, from chunky heel to slim heel.

A History of Court Shoes

The Court Shoe originated in medieval times in Italy, France, Spain and England. It used to be exclusively the wealthy, upper class people those that held important roles in society such as Rulers and Politicians that would wear court shoes. King Louis XIV demanded that no person would be allowed to enter his court is they were wearing red court shoes, this was because of the colour and the styles close links with power and class and if someone was wearing them it would be seen as a sign of disrespect.

How to choose the right Court Shoe for you?


What occasion are you thinking of wearing your Court Shoes for. If you are needed a court shoe for work then opt for lower heeled court shoe and maybe a court shoe with strap. Those styles of court shoes will be more comfortable when wearing a lower heel court shoe and the strap will ensure it stays on for long periods. A black court shoe or a dark plain court shoe would be more appropriate as the style will go with more and is perhaps a more professional option. If you are wanting a wedding court shoe then choose a higher heel court shoe and maybe one that is a gold court shoe or a metallic court shoe to add a glamorous edge. Pair your court shoe with the dress and see what colours you could work with.

Heel Experience

If you are used to wearing heels then you could wear a higher heeled Court Shoe but if your high heel experience is limited them opt for a chunkier heel court shoe or a kitten heel court shoe. These will be easier to walk in and ensure you look the part even if you are a heel novice.

How often will you wear your heels?

If you are thinking of wearing your court shoes daily then it is advised to choose a long-lasting material, a leather court shoe would be durable and look good for a long time. Leather court shoes are also a classic material that would be work appropriate. To ensure your leather Court Shoe lasts a lifetime make sure you use leather care and protect it before you first wear your leather court shoe.

Different Names for Court Shoes

  • Pumps

  • Court Shoes and Indoor Court Shoes are different. The Indoor Court Shoe refers to a trainer that is worn for indoor sports such as netball or basketball.

  • The loafer notoriously goes incredibly well with tailoring, tailored suits and loafers for both men and women have been a stable look. Update the classic loafer with suit look by adding your loafers to a tailored short and shirt look. It’s the epitome of androgynous chic.

  • Opera Slippers or Opera Pumps

Court Shoes for Men

In the early 19th century wealthy upper class gentlemen would wear court shoes and pumps which were styled with the traditional silk stockings and breeches. Mens court shoes would mainly be worn when there was an evening event with music and dancing which is how the name Opera Slipper or Opera Shoe was coined. It was around the 1930s that the full evening dress with the court shoe became less popular.

Court Shoes for Women

Womens Court Shoes have remained a popular style of shoe for many years and have varied in styles and colours and fashion trends have adapted. See below which womens court shoe was popular each year.

Which Womens Court Shoe or Pump was popular each year

The Court Shoe, Pump was the shoe of the 1930s. Everyone wore one and in many different styles.

  • In 1931, the metallic court shoe- gold court shoe and silver court shoe was the style of the moment, everyone wanted a pair of the glamorous court shoe.

  • In 1932, people were choosing to still wear glamorous evening court shoes but black court shoes with silver detailing.

  • In 1933, after a few years of evening court shoes ruling the popularity contest, the classic black court shoe took it’s place and in 1933 everyone had a pair of black court shoes.

  • In 1935, the white court shoe and block heel court shoe in different colour ways was the Court Shoe style of the year.

  • In 1936, designers were playing with patterns and combinations for the court shoe and soon this meant that patterned court shoes were all the rage.

  • In 1943, the black court shoe was given a revamp and the bow court shoe was designed.

  • In 1946, the ruffle court shoe was made popular by the iconic movie stars that chose to wear them to events.

  • In 1954, the white court shoe became popular once again, thanks to style icons such as Sophia Loren.

  • In 1957, satin court shoes were worn, thanks to their feminine delicate look they fast became popular amongst consumers.

  • In the 1960s thanks to style icon Audrey Hepburn, the kitten heel court shoe really had a moment.

  • In 1966, Twiggy helped to make the silver Court Shoe popular, really any metallic court shoe was incredibly popular.

  • In 1978, In the 70s the court shoe took a back seat to platform block heels but in the late 70s red court shoes were popular.

Popular Court Shoe Colour

  • Black Court Shoes are a popular option for working women.

  • Nude Court Shoes are a great summer court shoe option and are professional enough to wear to work but also will go perfectly with multiple outfits.

  • Navy Court Shoes like Black Court Shoes are a good work shoe option.

  • Silver Court Shoes are a great choice along with any metallic court shoe or leopard print court shoe for a evening do, a new years party shoe and also just if you want to add an extra edge to a more simple outfit.

  • A block heel court shoe is a great option for those who don’t wear heels that often, the same can be said with low heel court shoes.

  • Red Court Shoes are a great summer outfit to give a more understated summer dress that extra pop of colour. Red Court Shoes are a classic wardrobe staple that when the time comes you will be grateful you have your red court shoes.

How to style your Court Shoes for Women

There are many different Court Shoe styles for women that you will be able to find one that goes with you outfit. The ease of the court shoe and it’s ability to go with almost any outfit is one of the reasons why the court shoe has remained popular for so many years. A classic outfit that the court shoe would look fantastic with is evening wear, pair your court shoe with a formal evening dress or a work pencil skirt and you will look both professional and elegant. Equally if you are wearing a more casual jean outfit then add a pop of interest with an on trend pair of leopard print court shoes.

How to wear your Court Shoes and make sure your shoes are comfortable

  • Make sure the size of your court shoes is right. Try walking around the store in them and give them a trial period indoors before you wear them outside.

  • If you are finding your shoes uncomfortable try pairing an insole with the shoe to reduce rubbing and make it more comfortable when wearing your court shoes for long periods of time.

  • You can always purchase some moleskin toe protectors to ensure your toes don’t rub when wearing your court shoes. These are often subtle and won’t show in the shoe.

  • If you have a pair of leather court shoes, put the leather court shoe on and apply a light heat to the areas which rub (try using a hairdryer), just apply the heat for a few seconds and then wear the shoe for an hour or so. This technique will help to stretch the shoe out.

Radley Loafers we Love

Ettie, Leather Court Shoe

Step into something sophisticated with our ladies’ 70s inspired suede kitten heels, these court shoes come in a classic black court shoe and also a pair of gold court shoes. A hint of heel is a brilliant way to boost an office or off-duty outfit. We wear these as an elegant alternative to high court shoes on busy days. A padded insole works to cushion and sooth feet on the go.

This style will pair perfectly with our leather work bags – one of many reasons they’ll become your firm favourites. A veritable classic with flattering pointed toes, low sides and a small golden Radley dog stud to highlight the heel, they are a subtle and refined choice.