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Shoe History 1950-1959


General Trend

The renewal of the values of daily life disrupted by the war had begun. Socially, the 1950’s were a period of a return to family, home and business.

In a new world of tension, instant communication, and massive increases in destructive technology, the Western world attempted to return to a world of capitalist competition and expansion. Consumer revolution. Growth of the buy now pay later mentality

Shoes were often very high in the 1950`s, stiletto heels up to 5 inches were common.

Leather shoes were being replaced by the new materials such as the Plexorsole.


 
 


Men Shoes

Men’s shoes changed very little from the 1940’s to the end of the 1950’s. For mainstream men’s fashion, oxfords, Brogues, and loaferstyles remained unrivalled.

The preppy look had arrived in America, and teenage boys took towearing All Star basketball boots. The desert boot, which was actually a high shoe coming to the bottom of the ankle, was introduced in 1950, and marked one of the first cult shoes of the young generation.


 
 


Women Shoes

Christian Dior began the Fifties’ New Look, bringing the fashion world back to Paris, but the Italians were a formidable force in shoe fashion. In Italy’s post-war boom, the shoe factories made many technical and design changes.The light, elegant sandal was the most distinctive creation of the Italians, and the race to slim down the heel began.

Women’s shoes of the 1950’s were arched, sophisticated and cut away to reveal the maximum of the foot. These were perched atop narrow delicate heels that only diminished in width as the decade wore on.

In 1950, heels for women were all fairly high. By 1954, however,there were a variety of heights for different occasions and times of day. The stiletto heel arrived in 1955, with a heel so narrow it appeared pointed. Thisheel was added to court shoes and pumps, punching holes in sidewalks and hotel lobby floors all over New York until the fashion died out.

In the late 1950’s, lower squat heels began to rival the stiletto, which had reached staggering heights. Flattieswith no heel and a flimsy sole were also popular, but mostly for indoors or for wear with trousers.

The court shoe also remained, though it was cut very low at the sides and top of the foot, and was almond toed. Gradually, thesealmond shapes became more pointed, but by 1958, Dior cut the point off these shoes completely to produce the new wedge shape.

In 1955, Givenchy introduced a new shaped court shoe cut straight across the instep, and called it the opera pump. This pump had a lower heel and a wider toe. Sandalsand muleswere still important in the 1950’s. In 1951 the mules and sling back sandalsshowed the heel of the foot. At the beginning of the decade, colourand fabric were of little importance to shoe fashion. Shape waseverything. The fabric was usually a smooth leather or soft suede in black or brown. For evening, colourswere brighter and the uppers were usually of satin.

In 1954, a craze for all things Oriental hit the west, and Turkish slippers in deep hues appeared. These were often embroidered and decorated with gold beads. Though the craze quickly died, the coloursand fabrics of the 1955 lines show how influential the mood hadbeen. For schoolgirls, the Mary Janewas a very popular style. The shoe had a low heel, and usually had an anklestrap.


 
 

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