What shoes did they wear in the 50s?

The 1950s was a decade that witnessed significant changes in fashion, and footwear was no exception. The era was characterized by a blend of classic styles from previous decades and the emergence of new designs that reflected post-war optimism and evolving cultural norms. In this article, we will explore the popular shoe styles of the 1950s and provide insight into the fashion trends that defined the era.

1. Saddle Shoes: A Timeless Classic

One of the most iconic shoe styles of the 1950s was the saddle shoe. This shoe featured a classic oxford silhouette with a distinctive saddle-shaped contrast panel down the center. Wearable by both men and women, saddle shoes were favored for their versatility and timeless appeal. They were typically made of leather and came in a variety of color combinations, with black and white being the most popular.
Saddle shoes were a staple in casual and semi-formal settings. Often paired with poodle skirts, pedal pushers, and rolled-up jeans, they embodied the youthful and playful spirit of the era. Saddle shoes were not only fashionable, but also comfortable, making them a practical choice for everyday wear. Today, these classic shoes continue to be embraced for their nostalgic charm and vintage aesthetic.

2. Stiletto Heels: The Rise of Elegance

While the 1950s were known for their love of feminine silhouettes, stiletto heels became a prominent footwear choice for women who desired a touch of elegance and sophistication. Stilettos were characterized by their slender, high heels, which gave the illusion of longer, more graceful legs. They were often paired with pencil skirts, tailored dresses, and evening gowns, adding a glamorous touch to any outfit.
Stiletto heels were typically made of leather or satin and came in a variety of colors, including classic black, vibrant red, and soft pastels. These shoes were favored by Hollywood starlets and fashion-forward women who sought to emulate the glamour of the silver screen. Despite their impracticality and discomfort, stilettos became synonymous with femininity and were considered a symbol of elegance and refinement in the 1950s.

3. Kitten Heels: Comfortable chic

For women who wanted a more comfortable alternative to stilettos, kitten heels offered a stylish compromise. Kitten heels featured low, slender heels that ranged from one to two inches in height, providing a touch of height without sacrificing comfort. These shoes were often adorned with bows, buckles, or decorative details, adding a feminine and playful element to their design.

Kitten heels were often worn with full skirts, capri pants, and tailored suits, making them suitable for both casual and formal occasions. They were available in a variety of materials such as leather, suede, and patent, and came in a range of colors to match different outfits. Kitten heels remain a popular choice today, beloved for their retro charm and ability to transition effortlessly from day to night.

4. Penny Loafers: Casual Cool

Penny loafers gained popularity in the 1950s and became a symbol of casual, preppy fashion. These slip-on shoes featured a distinctive strap across the vamp, often adorned with a small decorative slot that could hold a penny, hence the name. Penny loafers were typically made of leather and came in various shades of brown, including tan and burgundy.

These versatile shoes were favored by both men and women, and their casual yet sophisticated design made them suitable for a variety of occasions. Penny loafers were often worn with rolled-up jeans, pleated skirts, and cardigan sweaters, embodying the relaxed, collegiate style that was popular during the era. Today, penny loafers continue to be embraced for their timeless appeal, adding a touch of classic elegance to modern wardrobes.

5. Ballet Flats: Effortless Charm

While heels dominated the fashion scene in the 1950s, ballet flats gained popularity as a comfortable and practical alternative. Inspired by the graceful shoes worn by ballerinas, these flats featured a rounded toe and thin sole. Ballet flats were typically made of soft leather or fabric and came in a variety of colors, ranging from neutrals to pastels.
Ballet flats were favored by women of all ages and were especially popular with young girls and teens. Often paired with circle skirts, capri pants and casual dresses, they exuded a sense of effortless charm. Ballet flats offered a more relaxed and carefree aesthetic, making them suitable for everyday wear and leisure activities. Today, ballet flats remain a staple in women’s wardrobes, valued for their comfort, versatility and timeless elegance.

In summary, the 1950s witnessed a wide variety of shoe styles that reflected the fashion trends and cultural influences of the era. From classic saddle shoes to elegant stiletto heels, from comfortable kitten heels to casual penny loafers and charming ballet flats, 1950s footwear offered something for everyone. These shoes not only complemented the fashion of the day, but also represented the evolving social norms and aspirations. Whether you’re looking for a touch of nostalgia or timeless elegance, incorporating elements of 1950s footwear into your wardrobe can add a unique and stylish flair to your personal style.


What shoes did they wear in the 50s?

In the 1950s, people wore a variety of shoe styles that reflected the fashion trends of the time. Some popular shoe styles from the 50s include:

What were saddle shoes?

Saddle shoes were a popular shoe style in the 1950s. They were typically made of leather and featured a distinctive saddle-shaped contrasting color panel over the instep. Saddle shoes were commonly worn by both men and women, and they became particularly associated with the youthful “preppy” style.

What were penny loafers?

Penny loafers were another popular shoe style in the 1950s. They were slip-on shoes made of leather and typically had a decorative leather strap across the top, often with a small slot or “penny” where a coin could be inserted. Penny loafers were originally worn by men but became popular among women as well.

What were stiletto heels?

Stiletto heels were a fashionable shoe style for women in the 1950s. These shoes had thin, high heels that tapered to a point. Stiletto heels were often paired with glamorous outfits and were a symbol of elegance and femininity at the time.

What were saddle oxfords?

Saddle oxfords were a type of shoe that gained popularity in the 1950s. They were lace-up shoes with a low heel and a distinctive saddle-shaped contrasting color panel over the instep, similar to saddle shoes. However, saddle oxfords were typically made of more durable materials, such as leather or suede, and were often worn as part of school uniforms or casual attire.

What were Keds sneakers?

Keds sneakers were canvas shoes with rubber soles that were quite popular in the 1950s. They were lightweight and comfortable, making them a popular choice for casual wear and athletic activities. Keds sneakers were often worn by both men and women, and they became a staple of the American casual shoe market during that time.

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