Style Snapshot: Beaded Shoe Accessories Article
by Barbara van Look, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Beaded Shoe Accessories: Shoe Clips, Boot Bracelets and Burberry-Style Bead Swags

Give boots, shoes or summer sandals a new lease on life with beaded shoe accessories. While the shoe rose has been a footwear addition familiar since the 1800s, other forms of shoe embellishment are far more recent.

Beaded shoes and interchangeable shoe accessories have taken off in the last few years. Removable shoe clips created with clip-on earring findings, bead swags and boot bracelets are a few of the recent trends for adding beaded beauty to footwear.

Shoe Clip

The shoe clip was derived from the shoe rose, a flower created out of silk ribbon and sewn onto the top of dancing shoes. In the early to mid 20th century, removable shoe clips were used to dress up a plain pair of pumps or to transition the same set of shoes from daytime to nighttime wear.

Clip-on earrings are frequently used as backings for shoe clips, as they have smooth surfaces and tend to not mark the surface of the shoe. Depending on the style of finding, designers can add beads, Swarovski beads and fancy stones, faceted gems, cabochons and other flat-backed components. Design elements can be strung, sewn or glued into place.

Boot Bracelet

The boot bracelet is a more recent fashion addition to footwear. It is inspired by the bootstraps and boot chains commonly seen on riding boots for equestrians and motorcyclists. These more rugged styles are used to hold spurs and conchos on cowboy boots, while boot chains were often used by motorcycle riders to show membership or affiliation with riding groups and motorcycle manufacturers.

The decorative boot bracelet is usually created using chain or cord, in either single- or multi-strand versions. Frequently a charm or brightly colored bead is added to dangle on the outside of the boot, closing with a lobster claw clasp for security.

Bead Swag

Liven up your shoes, Burberry style! The British fashion house's Summer 2012 sandals include multiple swags of colorful, lightweight wood beads. Use jumprings and lobster claw clasps on each end to create removable lengths that can be mixed and matched to suit a changing wardrobe, worn as bracelets or linked together into a finished necklace.

You can make your own versions using painted wood, shell, lightweight acrylic and polyclay beads for casual looks. Allow your customers to easily upgrade their footwear for more formal gatherings by offering decorative swags using smooth gemstone, glass and metal beads.

Get the Look

Opt for sturdy clasps such as the lobster claw. Bright colors and finishes help draw the eye downward and show off the shoe clip, boot bracelet or bead swag.

Most beads and components will work for shoe clips, if they will not damage the shoe or any hosiery which might be worn. Choose the proper adhesives for materials you will be gluing, keeping in mind that footwear accessories can require added durability and flexibility.

Use solid color materials, as coatings will wear away with friction or use. Choose lightweight and smooth beads for swags, as they will often be in direct contact with skin. Smooth beads and components are also recommended for boot bracelets, as they will be in constant contact with the surface of the boot. Add sparkle to boot bracelets and bead swags with Czech fire-polished glass, which has a smoother surface than faceted leaded crystal.

Be sure to include care instructions for all materials, as jewelry worn closer to the ground will likely need to be cleaned frequently.

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