The population in the areas in Prussia, Poland, and Russia in which Mennonites lived wore leather boots reaching to the knees, and when the Mennonites from these areas migrated to North America 1873-1880, in the prairie states and provinces, they naturally brought this practice with them. Here all but the most conservative adjusted themselves to their new environment in the matter of footwear, supplanting boots with shoes. The most conservative were the Old Colony Mennonites of Manitoba, and even among them all made the adjustment except the ministers, the guardians of tradition. Thus the Old Colony Mennonite ministers of Manitoba, Mexico, and Paraguay in the 1950s still wore the traditional boots (Stiefel) for which they believed to find sanction in Ephesians 6:15, "An Beinen gestiefelt, als fertig zu treiben das Evangelium des Friedens" (Luther translation).
The older generations of all North American rural Mennonites, particularly the most conservative groups, also held fast to the older customs in foot wear, wearing short boots, or old-style shoes with, elastic instead of shoelaces. Still earlier the most conservative rural Mennonites in Europe continued to wear buckle-shoes or slippers (with knee-breeches) after this item of costume had generally been abandoned by the population. Elder Jacob Horsch of Würzburg-Giebelstadt, Germany, grandfather of John Horsch , was one of those who held longest to the buckle-shoes.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 389. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Bender, Harold S. "Boots." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 20 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B6720.html.
APA style: Bender, Harold S. (1953). Boots. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/B6720.html.