Spats are cloth shoe coverings, most commonly white in colour, that are worn by securing underneath the shoe with buttons or elastic, and then buttoned up around the ankles. Spats are often worn as part of a pipe band uniform, usually as part of the full dress uniform.
Spats evolved from cloth shoe coverings that were worn in the 17th century called gaiters. Gaiters were leggings that covered the shoe and the leg right up to the knee. They were worn by both men and women of the time and were also referred to as “Spatterdash” because they protected the wearer from spatters and dashes of muddy water in the street.
As time went by, a shorter version of the gaiter become a fashionable and stylish dress item in the late 19th and 20th century and became more commonly referred to as “Spats”.
Many European nations had adopted the gaiter as part of their military uniform in the 1700s and carried through to later years with Spats as the style changed and evolved.
Spats add a dash of style to any uniform and look incredibly smart when a band goes marching by, all in bright white Spats and polished black shoes. It is quite an impressive sight. Spats do however, make it very obvious if someone is marching out of time!« Back to Glossary Index