The Victorian Age, from 1837 to 1901, spans the length of Queen Victoria of England. While also notable to Goths for the rise of Gothic literature during this time, the Victorian Age is best known for its sombre style, drawn from the 40-year mourning period of Queen Victoria upon losing her beloved husband, Prince Albert. Black shoes became popular during this time and never went out of style afterward.
While few contemporary Gothic boots mimic Victorian footwear, Romantic Goths or Victorian Goths should look for ankle-high boots that either button up on the side or are leather and have laces. A 1-inch heel is authentic. Men’s footwear fluctuated a great deal over the Victorian Age, so toes of any shape, such as pointed, round or square, work.
Current Gothic boots for men draw most on military styling due to Punk’s embrace of combat boots; the modern Goth subculture grew out of the Punk movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Calf-high or knee-high patent leather boots with a low heel, laces and a tapered toe are typical. As for color, black is most popular, though dark brown, red and other colors also pop up.
Doc Martens, which were created by a German doctor active during WWII, are comfortable variations on combat boots that come in many colors. For whatever reason, they’ve become a staple of Goth attire.
The sensibilities of the fetish community blend well with Goth culture; both fetishists and Goths cling to black and are passionate about atypical self-expression. Fetish touches have bled into Goth fashion since the early 1990s and include gratuitous D-rings on clothing and spiked collars.
As for Goth boots, spikes, rivets, buckles and a heel or platform are all typical even in menswear. Skin-clinging man-made fabrics are preferred over leather.
Beyond these important influences in Gothic men’s footwear, there are additional sources of inspiration. The Steampunk look is Victorian, though it favors brown instead of black, natural fabrics including suede, gear designs and brass touches and coloring. The Cybergoth aesthetic also finds its way into some men’s Gothic boots in the form of reflective panels and a precariously high platform.