Boys and girls in the 1930s still commonly wore leather shoes to go to school in and even for play. Sneakers were available but were mostly worn for play during the summer. Leather shoes were much more common.
The Sears ad here is a page from their 1935 Spring-Summer catalog. We note a range of styles, both oxfords and high-tops. There were also sandals and strap shoes. From looking at the catalog, strap shoes were still popular for boys in the United States during the mid 1930s. Unfortunately the ad copy does not give us in many unstances the proper names for the shoe styles which is often an important source of information from these catalogs. We believe, however, that they are misleading depictions. I don't think that strap shoes were commonly worn by school age boys and with many of the garments illustrated here. Its a little confusing as many of these garments were made for quite a wide range of ages. Strap shoes for school age boys certainly are not shown in the photographic record as shown here.
The reader who provided the calalog page writes, "I completely agree that strap shoes on boys are not common in the photographic record in the US (except for very formal occasions, i.e. weddings), and then probably in the very early 30s. It may just be that the illustrators for the catalog were used to drawing
them from the 1920s. Or, possibly they were trying to revive the style, because there were many strap shoes for sale in the shoe section of the catalog as well as four double t-strap shoes. I was surprised that there was not a single example of saddle shoes for sale, either for children or women, in the catalog in 1935. Possibly they were in the Winter catalog, but I don't have this one."
Double strap sandals were offered in two sizes. The ad copy read, "59c A Pair. Priced Way Down Low. --Tough leather uppers. --Long wearing Resillo rubber shoes. --Stitchdown construction. Tots' Sizes 5 to 8. Wide withs. State size. 15H604--Smoke Color Leather, 15H605--Brown Leather ... Pair, 59c" There was no mention as to gender, but I believe this style would have been seen as appropriare for boys, at least younger boys, and girls.
In the specials box was a black patent leather strap shoe for boys and girls. The attached page showing children's shoes from 1935 is interesting in that this is the only ad I seen for strap shoes that actually states they are for boys and girls in sizes 8 1/2 to 2. This would be consistent with the clothing ads showing boys wearing these shoes which we discussed previously. The ad copy for the strap shoe under "Specials for Boys and Girls, sizes 5 to 8 & 8 1/2 to 2
" reads: "Patent leather, Non -marking Resilio rubber stitchdown soles-- Neat perforations. Tots' Sizes 5 to 8, wide widths. State size, Shipping Wt. 12 oz.
13H1047--Underwedge Heel. Pair ... 69c. Girls' and Boys' Sizes 8 1/2 to 2. Shpg wt. 1 lb. 2 oz. 15H1047--Rubber Heel. Pair ... 69c."
We can speculate on why boys are listed in the ad. The shoes were listed as a "Special" -- maybe an oversupply of these shoes, and opening the market to boys would help reduce inventory. Maybe the style was still very popular for boys in Europe and they would try selling to boys in the US as a "trial baloon", etc. I've seen pictures of older boys wearing them in Germany at HBC. 1935 is not that far back. It would be nice if some of your readers could shed some light on this topic. It is curious that this style was mentioned as appropriate for boys. We believe that with few exceptions boys would have worn this style only fir very formal occassions such as weddings.
These shoes were also in the specials box. These wing-tip oxfords were marketed as suitable for both boys and girls. This I believe would have been seen as a school shoe. The Sears ad copy read, "--Smoke colored elk grained leather, brown trimming. --Resilio rubber, stitchdown soles. Tots' Sizes 5 to 8, wide widths. State size, Shpg Wt. 10 oz. 15H643--Underwedge Heel. Pair ... 69c. Girls' and Boys' Sizes 8 1/2 to 2. Shpg wt. 1 lb. 3 oz. 15H1043--Rubber Heel. Pair ... 69c."
These were the same as the shoes above only done in black. The Sears ad copy read, "---Resilio rubber, stitchdown soles. Tots' Sizes 5 to 8, wide widths. State size, Shpg Wt. 10 oz. 15H643--Underwedge Heel. Pair ... 69c. Girls' and Boys' Sizes 8 1/2 to 2. Shpg wt. 1 lb. 3 oz. 15H1043--Rubber Heel. Pair ... 69c."
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing catalog/magazine pages:
[Return to the Main American mail order 1935 page]
[Main photo/publishing page] [Store catalogs] [Fashion magazines]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossary] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Sailor hats] [Flat caps] [Sailor suits] [Buster Brown suits] [Eton suits]
[Rompers] [Tunics] [Smocks] [Pinafores] [Knickers] [Long stockings] [Kneesocks] [Underwear]