Various Saddle Shoe Accounts

Here are a member of brief menories from various individuals. They are not detailed enough for an entire page, but provide some interesting information. Hopefully HBC readers will contribute whatever they can recall on the subject.

Northeast, 1950s

The footwear was always secondary to me. I wore Eton Suits or variations thereof until I was 10-12 ,,,, by 12 it was just shorts with a blazer with a tie etc. But before then, the ruling outfit was the classic Eton suit and the variables had little to do with age, rather the event. We were well off financially, but not killer. Howvever there were people around us (school mates /church etc) who really were the real 8k mansions when that was pretty massive (now I guess you Need 10k to be happening!!). My mother fell into cash my marriage and he turned out to be a creep and basically disappeared for a few years. So Mom wanted the best for my sister and I. Clothes were one way of showing that. Her sister came to live with us and there we were. My friends lost the traditional Eton look like at 7 maybe ... the collars and really short pants. But not all of them. And many wore those two t bar shoes to school and single bar shoes to church. Me...I was the saddle shoe king. Can't remember all of them, but I had many different colors over the years. Always white, but the saddle would be black or red or green or I remember a light blue pair that I wore with a blue and white seersucker outfit ,,, short suspender pants, criss cross in the back, those baby blue and white saddles and a big sailor collar with short sleeves. I rarely wore anything other than saddle shoes but did when I was smaller (like 6). I had fancier outfits for dress up and go to Christmas parties.

Texas, 1958

When I was about 6 years old, in the summer of 1958, one afternoon my mother told me were going to visit some family friends. The visit required some dressing up, because after my bath, a short sleeved shirt, pair of dark blue shorts, blue socks and saddle shoes, black and white, were presented me to wear for our visit. I wore ankle socks with my saddle shoes. Thinking back, seems like only a few times, when I was about 6 or 7, that I wore knee socks. I'd never seen saddle shoes before, neither my father nor my brother had ever worn them, nor any of the neighborhood boys. I think that was my most lasting impression, that they just seemed a lot different from any other shoes I'd seen or worn. HBC is right that saddle shoes spanned the age range, but for me they'll always be shoes worn by younger boys, based on my experience. I remember thinking, also, they seemed to be a little too dapper for a boy on a summer's day.

Virginia, late 1950s

My memmories here are far from perfect. I ill try, however, to sketch out what I can recall. I was born in 1943 and grew up mostly in Washington, D.C. or the Virginia suburbs. I did not wear saddle shoes as a boy. I am pertty sure of this. I do recall eearing them in high school. The onmes I wore were black and white. I am sure of this. I an not sure, however, about the sole color. Nor am I sure what other were wearing. I have it my mind that black and hite was the domonant color. I am not sure, however, to the extent that brown was worn. I also recall wearing them when I went off to college in the early 1960s. Again the were the black and white ones.

New Jersey, late 1950s

I was interested in your comment about wearing black and white saddle shoes. (I presume these were the blucher type as illustrated in the catalog). In New Jersey where I group up about the same time, the kids only wore brown and white. I only saw black and white later. I did, however, see a 6 year old girl wearing green and white blucher saddle shoes to school, which I thought at the time to be very interesting. I never saw either gender wearing red and white ones, except older cheerleaders, and these were the bal type saddles. I would say that there might have been regional differences involved. It would be interesting to study this (I'm a historical geographer by training). However, this would be difficult because the color ads I see are national in scope, whereas most of the photographs are still black and white, and we can't study regional color differences very easily.


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Created: September 25, 2000
Last updated: 4:44 AM 8/18/2007