Is there a more reliable shoe than the trusty court? Perfect for work and play, there are few women who don’t have a black pair of courts in their wardrobe somewhere and more likely than not, they’ve got a few pairs in different shades.


Courts, or ‘pumps’ as our American pals call them, are basically any shoe with a low cut front and are mostly slip-ons. They cover stilettos, ballet pumps and kitten heels and come in all sorts of colours and materials.  A quick look in our shoe cupboard and yeah, about 70% of them could be described as court shoes.


But while courts are now very much a wardrobe staple, they used to be the reserve of the wealthy and were among the most highly coveted shoes in Europe. They followed on from the extremely elaborate high heels favoured by rulers in Renaissance nations and became popular as they were easier to walk and even ride in, while still looking stylish.


Their popularity grew among the ruling classes, with French King Louis XIV, even demanding that no one should enter his court without wearing red high heels.


During the French revolution, court shoes feel out of favour and flat shoes were en vogue, but after a few decades, fashion conscious women across Europe resurrected the court shoe and they have remained popular to this day. We’re particularly grateful as we don’t know where we’d be without our faithful black courts, not to mention the other ten or so pairs…


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Did you know?

Court shoes aren’t just for women. In the Regency period court shoes were popular among men and they are still worn in some formal situations. They are also known as opera slippers.


Famous court shoes

– The Duchess of Cambridge is a firm fan of court shoes and is rarely seen out of her favourite nude pair.

– Christian Louboutin designs arguably the most famous court shoes in the world. Victoria Beckham, Mila Kunis and Lady Gaga are all fans of his famous red-soled shoes.