The Hobble skirt was narrow at the hem and ankle length, restricting the walk of the women wearing it.
The majority of hobble skirts were never as restrictive as those shown in fashion plates. In order to be practical for daily wear many hobble skirts were provided with buttons at the hem which could be unfastened for walking.
The woman shown here has left the bottom 3 buttons undone.
The hobble skirt produced a generation of women who took very small steps. Later when they were Grandmothers many of these women continued to glide along taking rapid short steps. It was difficult
to walk with them. They would invariably take ones arm and one was obliged to match their stride or at least attempt not to outpace them.
A horse was "hobbled" when the front legs were joined by a short length of rope which restricted the stride.They were able to walk but not run. They could then be left to graze without straying too far.