Women's shoes in the 18th century were made for both fashion and function. Working class women had to wear shoes that were more durable as well as comfortable because of the amount of time each day that was spent on their feet. For the noble and/or wealthy woman, shoes were as much of a fashion statement as any other aspect of their clothing, and were not primarily for function or comfort as much as aesthetics. Dancing shoes, of course, had to be comfortable as well as fashionable.
Women’s shoes in the 18th Century were divided into three categories: mules, or backless slippers, shoes, or closed foot gear, and pattens, outdoor shoe coverings which protected delicately made shoes. They had sharply pointed toes and high curved heels. Buckles were also a central attraction on women’s shoes. They were almost unchanging in shape (only narrowing the curved heels) from 1700 to 1780, when shoes took a dive to low heeled slippers. By the late 1790’s, heels disappeared entirely and the soft, flat, square toed slipper which dominated the next 50 years of women’s shoes had appeared.
Information: The Costumer's Manifesto