1922 white canvas with black leather saddle strap and heel back stay. My usual fashion history sleuthing came up empty as to the origins of the saddle shoe design.
Golfers, in particular, picked up on the two-tone color scheme and incorporated it with their uniforms starting around 1910 and lasting well beyond the ’20s and ’30s. Men quickly diversified the two-tone combination into wingtips Oxfords and loafers.
They replaced the simple saddle pattern with a swirl of two-tone colors. Women, however, enjoyed the simplicity of the saddle design and embraced it much more than men.
As with all things sporty in the 1920s, women were quick to take the men’s saddle shoe and wear it for themselves. They required frequent cleaning and whitening of the white canvas material.
Heels remained very low to keep with the ease of walking, running, or hiking. The majority of clothing catalogs at the time targeted saddle shoes to women and girls equally.
A more lady like Cuban heel was added to some women’s Oxfords to marry the common walking shoe with the casualness of the sporty saddle pattern. They were worn with sporty knits, housedresses, and men’s style knickers in the 1920s.
1933 “Uppers of bleached and mercerized white duck with black fabric and rubber saddle strap. Blue and white canvas saddle shoes became the new trendy shoes to wear.
Only the Oxford style with taller heels used leather soles instead of rubber. By the end of the 1930s, the Depression lessened and factories returned to making leather saddle shoes.
Men were wearing two-tone shoes with business attire, and women with afternoon dresses and even suits. Having worn them as girls, young teens still found them to be a style that was more youthful than most women’s shoes, such as the wedge or peep toe.
Teens and skirts, bobby socks and dingy saddle shoes Teens in the ’40s started the trend for saddle shoes and bobby socks.
The dirty shoes trend ended, and the latest craze was for red rubber soles and spotless “just like new” saddle shoes. Girls would spend an hour everyday cleaning and polishing shoes to perfection.
Starting in Junior High, every girl and now boys had to wear saddle shoes. On the weekends and in summers, they looked great with denim blue jeans, too.
These teens were called “Bobbysoxers” because they always wore white socks with their saddle shoes. “Bobby socks are a fun and comfortable way to ‘girly up’ masculine footwear like brogues or saddle shoes.
The socks are generally ankle length and white with a lace upper that folds over, sometimes with a ribbon bow to add a decorative element to a plain shoe.”- Queens of Vintage, “How to be a Bobby Boxer” In Baltimore, I either wore saddle shoes or a ballet type slipper.
Comfortable to wear around the house yet too informal to be “proper,” housewives quickly changed into heels before their husbands came home. It was a secret ritual women performed daily, yet their husbands never knew about it.
It was a slimmed down version of the chunkier saddle Oxford and often had a buckle across the back of the heel. You would think that after such a pop culture explosion of the saddle shoe in the 1950s, the style would be outdated by the 1960s.
Girls, boys and young teens continued to wear the shoes as their daily uniform. Many schools actually made saddle shoes part of the dress code well into the 1990s.
The mod generation embraced two-tone color blocking into fashion, but not the saddle shoe. There will always be saddle shoes for 1950s costumes and men’s shoes never did lose the saddle from their line (although just in dark colors, rarely a re-run of the black and white combination).
In the pictures, by Gregory Michael King, I’m wearing: the 1950s Handmade skirt,1940s inspired blouse from House of Foxy. In 1906 A.G. Scalding, the American sporting goods company, introduced saddle shoes as athletic footwear.
During the 1920s and 1930s when sports such as golf and tennis gained enormous popularity with the middle classes on both sides of the pond, there was a need for a more relaxed approach to clothing. Sport shoes and clothing are popular because they spell ease and freedom of movement and in name associate themselves with luxury and relaxation from the daily grind.
In the 1930s the white shoes with contrasting black leather saddle became such a huge hit among American University students, both male and female, that they were immortalized on the June 1937 cover of “Life” magazine. This can, at least in part, be attributed to some of the biggest names in the music and film industry; Elvis Presley, Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, who were fans of that particular style of footwear.
Teenagers often wore these two-tone shoes with white bobby socks, full circle or a pencil skirt or blue jeans. Truth be told, they were shoes for any occasion and looked great paired with any garment imaginable.
The sales of saddle shoes dropped in the 1960s although they continued to be worn by young students and teenagers as part of their daily uniform. In recent years saddle shoes came back into favor thanks to the revival of TV shows such as Twin Peaks and Gilmore Girls.
The hugely successful film Stoker (2013) starring Mia Wasikowska also helped to put the shoes back on the fashion map. Mia Wasikowska as India in Stoker (2013) As you can see, the shoes look great paired with a simple black dress.
The shoes look fantastic paired with a plaid skirt and a pale pink long-sleeve sweater. Vintage style with a modern twist is how I would describe their glorious saddle shoes, which make them the ideal footwear.
The brand’s signature pointed-toe sneakers are incredibly comfortable due to their shock absorbable insoles. I'm the founder of It's Beyond My Control blog and I would like to welcome You to my razzle-dazzle world of vintage fashion with a modern twist.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to strut your stuff with a vintage twist, read on for a look at five saddle shoes outfits you’ll love. For a classic everyday outfit, don a pair of saddle shoes to give your attire a vintage edge.
Sport a worn graphic tee of your favorite brand and some skinny jeans to complete the look. Here, we see Chloe channeling the 50s cigarette pant with some high-waisted, cropped skinny jeans.
Pair a leather jacket and some Rider jeans with your saddle shoes for a sexy get-up that’s sure to woo the guys and inspire the gals. For an added edge, don some statement sunglasses or accessorize with an antique pendant.
Pair the adorable additions with some slimming trousers or skinny jeans, an untucked button down, and a blazer for a sleek, modern look with a tasteful homage to retro-wear. Fearlessly pair your shoes with a vibrant cardigan to stand out, or stick to pastel basics for a subtle nod to retro fashion.