The Word Detective says (emphasis mine):

I always thought that gumshoes were galoshes, and that detectives came to be called that from standing in the rain watching their quarry. I guess I was wrong.

So what did these late-19th Century gumshoes look like? Anyone have a link to a picture?


the british servants of the 1800s wore rubber soled shoes so they could move quietly, so you need to find photos of lower servant class menservants. Im dealing with a migraine today, so a quick google didnt turn anything up and I am not really into trying to spend a few hours finding a picture of some guys feet…

Never mind. Searching for “gumshoe” got me “galoshes”.