Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The History of Saddle Shoes

The saddle shoe originated in 1906 by Spalding company. The classic style was soft white leather with a black mid saddle (panel). The original design was used as a gym shoe and for sports. 

The black saddle feature was engineered to support the arch and instep. The red rubber sole was added on later for better traction. It was a staple gym, tennis and golf shoe.
I myself remember wearing my saddle shoes as part of my cheer leading uniform back in the day.

During the Lindy Hop/Jitterbug dance craze, the shoe became the choice footwear for dancers. 
Its comfortable, roomy fit and ease of movement made them not only functional but fashionable.


Women and teenagers especially loved how versatile they were and mixed and matched them with poodle skirts, pencil skirts, denim and shorts.

Today, saddle shoes are hard to find in your local shoe store or online for that matter. But with diligence, one can acquire their own piece of shoe history and make a statement when they step out. 
So get yourself a pair and stir up some good memories. They'll make you feel like you're walking back in time.

Photos courtesy of Flickr and Pinterest

Rachel Davies Google+ January 23rd, 2014

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Shady Del Knight said...

I remember them well, Rachel. Thanks for refreshing my memory with all these nostalgic pictures!

Rosie said...

I still have 4 or 5 pairs of saddle shoes that I wear occassionally and I always get comments on where I git them.

Rachel Davies @ Old Soul Retro said...

Thanks for your comments Shady and Rosie. I appreciate the feedback.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic, thank you so much for the post! I always feel I should wear heels with my old dresses, but cannot stand walking in them all day. Sattle shows are exactly what I need. I saw a friend wear some keds, made from canvas, not leather, but worth a try. Thanks again!
j e f

Lucille Jaramillo said...

I would love to find out where to purchase a pair of SADDLE SHOES!!! IF ANYONE KNOWS OF A PLACE, PLEASE INFORM ME! THANK YOU EVER SO MUCH!! Lucille Ann Jaramillo.

OdetoMrs.KatzCohn said...

So interesting! I don't know they started as sport shoes. Can you imagine working out in a gym wearing them today? I've always had a fondness for saddle shoes and bought them for my son when he was a toddler. I've never seen them for adults since I was a kid.

Rachel Davies @ Old Soul Retro said...

I have a website that has a few styles of Saddle Shoes for sale if you are interested. It is called Old Soul Retro, here is the link!vintage-shoes/c1xde

Rachel Davies @ Old Soul Retro said...

Thanks for the comment. It would sure be great to see more people wearing Saddle Shoes today. I find mine to be so comfy. And they go with everything in my wardrobe. Did save your sons pair when he grew out of them? It would be such a cute keepsake.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. Men and women can still buy saddle shoes at on line or at their store in Oregon. Large variety.

Incidentally, when they were just athletic shoes the dark saddle portion was called a "saddle strap" to securely hold the foot in place during rapid motion.

Linda said...

I just discovered your blog and I remember the saddles shoes! I loved them and found them to be very comfortable when I was a little girl. You have a lovely blog, thank you so much for sharing. :)

Unknown said...

Loved the photographs and ads in this story. I'm wearing my saddle shoes to work today!

Yousaf said...

The old photos are really lovely i really like all collection thanks for sharing such a beautiful memory i want to say try women's custom leather shoes it is just awesome where ladies can select own choice shoe and color of their chosen shoe.

Amita Singh said...

Great article. Complete history on saddle shoes. I wish i had mu saddle shoes on instead of the athletic shoes that I am wearing today. It brings back all the good old memories and fun times I had with my friends.

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