Quail-Pipe Boots

AKA: 

How to say it:  kweyl  pahyp  boots

Traditional Features: 

The Quail Pipe Boot no longer exists in modern fashion, and I was unable to find a picture of the original version from back in the day, so for the sake of accuracy I have decided not to provide a line drawing as I would have just been making it up based on the descriptions I could find.

Here is a list the traditional features of the Quail Pipe Boots:-

  • high boot
  • made from soft leather
  • fell in folds down the leg
  • may also feature braids or plaits

21st Century Quail Pipe Boots

The Quail Pipe boot is no more in the 21st century, but women’s footwear does now boast several styles of slouch boots which may or may not have originated from the Quail Pipe style. Heeled and flat versions appear regularly in the Fall season and can be found in a variety of colours and materials, although leather is more common.

Free People FRYE

Free People, FRYE

Steve Madden Stuart Weitzman

Steve Madden, Stuart Weitzman

Origins…

…of the style: The Quail Pipe boot was a fashionable style for men from the late 14th to 17th centuries; they were tall boots made from soft leather that fell in folds down the legs. Boots for men were particularly popular during the reign of Charles I, who began wearing boots as a child to hide the leg supports he had to wear as the result of a childhood illness; he continued to wear the boots when he became King and they became fashionable in court for both indoor and outdoor pursuits. Quail Pipe Boots were popular during this time, and were perhaps worn by men who wished to hide particularly slender legs, and thus, I assume, look more manly (as suggested by Chaucer in his poem ‘Romaunt of the Rose‘).

As the 17th century progressed, mens fashion began to focus on the lower body and men began to opt for fancy hoes or stockings and low-cut shoes to show off their shapely legs, so boots of all kinds fell out of fashion.

As for women, I could not find any mention of a female version of the Quail Pipe boot and from what I gathered about women’s footwear history in general, they didn’t really wear any form of boot before the 19th century, so it is unlikely that women ever adopted the Quail Pipe style.

In the 21st century, while the Quail Pipe boot no longer exists under that moniker, and men in do not wear high boots in general fashion, women’s footwear does sport many styles of slouch boots which may have been inspired by the soft leather versions of the 14th – 17th centuries. I was not able to confirm that slouch boots were direct evolutions of the Quail Pipe, and I would imagine that there have been many similar reincarnations of the style in the intervening centuries, but from all the descriptions I was able to find of the style, it seems possible that the Quail Pipe boot is indeed a distant ancestor of the modern slouch boot; and so the style lives on under a different name.

…of the name: The boot was apparently named for its similarities to a Quail Pipe, which was either a pipe used to imitate the call of a Quail, or a woman’s tongue, depending on which source you are looking at.

There is not much historical information available about the Quail Pipe Boot, beyond simple descriptions. The limited amount I was able to find was here, here and in the Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion

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