History of Mens Shoes of 1920’s and 1930’s

mens 1920's shoes

20’s Toe Cap Oxford Shoes

1930s mens shoesMen’s shoes of the 1920’s and 1930’s didn’t change too much from previous decades. Black and brown lace up cap toe oxfords as well as fitted boots continued to be popular. In the 1920’s some low footwear started to show some brogue.* In the summer when men wore light colored linen suits it was very fashionable to wear light colored oxfords as well such as white nubucks. Wearing white was a sign of high class and wealth because white clothing was simply too difficult to keep clean in the working class. The Great Gatsby was the prime example of a fashionable man in the 1920’s. It was more important that men wore the right color shoes with their suit then what style they were.

If you want to skip the history and shop for 1920’s style mens shoes, click here. For a more in depth article on 1920’s men’s shoe history give this one a read.

1920’s Brogue Shoes

mens gatsby shoes

1920’s Brogue Shoe

* Brogue shoes are also know as co-respondent in Britain. They feature toe caps with points on the top  that come in a variety of lengths. The wingtip is the most formal. Semi-, quarter and long wing are other varieties. The defining characteristic of brogue shoes were the small perforated holes that decorated the seams and toe caps. Brogue detail was common on not just mens shoes but ladies oxfords and heeled shoes too. The standard color was a burnt orange-brown, followed by dark brown and black. The most formal wingtip shoes came in patent leather black.

 

1920’s Two Tone Shoes

thirties mens shoes

1930’s Wingtip Shoes Ad

1920s two toned shoes

1920’s Two Toned Shoes

American men experienced a bit more freedom with fashion than the British but it was the Price of Wales and his love of golf that opened up the world to more sporty, relaxed, fashions. Even if you were not playing a sport it was still highly fashionable to dress like you were. The two tone brogue with fringe or shawl tongues became men’s favorite footwear of the decade. Almost every man wore these for day or formal occasions. The difference between men’s two toned shoes in the 1920’s verses the 1930’s were color. The 1920’s has mostly grey and white or brown and white tones while the 1930’s introduced all sorts of color options such as blue and white, green and white, and purple and white.

Black and white saddle shoes were available in the 1920’s but they did not become trendy until the late 1930s through the 1950’s.  They featured brown heels and toes with a white “apron front” pattern in the middle.

For most office, work, or casual shoes the shape of the toe changed over the 1920 decade. Early on in the 20’s the top was pointed, much more then today’s office shoes. By the mid twenties the two rounded out and then took on a sharp, blunt square toe with a bulbous top, and slightly rounded edges. It is interesting to see how the shape of shoe toes coincided with the changing width of mens pants- small toes for narrow pants, wide toes for wide pants! The pointed toe shoe was mostly worn by conservative men, who still wore boots in the style of the 1900’s!

late 1920s mens shoes

Late 20’s Rounded Square Toe Men’s Shoes

1920’s Tennis Shoes

1922 mens tennis shoes

1920’s “converse” mens sport shoes

In 1917  “Chuck Taylor All Stars” Converse shoes were started as one of the original tennis shoes.  The All Star sport shoe design has changed very little since then. The 1920’s version was white, high top, dark rubber soles, and had a round seal over the ankle. Dark leather and canvas versions were equally popular with high school and college age students. The shoe quickly found the way into other sports with variations for golf, tennis, football, and women’s athletics.

As sporting became mainstream so did the acceptance of sport shoes for leisure wear. Lace up, low top, Converse and Keds brands dominated the market.

1930’s Mens Shoes

1930s mens shoes

1930’s Two Toned Loafers

mens casual 1930's shoes ad

1930’s Keds Casual Shoes

In the 1930’s casual men’s shoes were introduced. The moccasin or loafer shoe for cool weather and the leather sandal for summer time became fashionable. Two toned patterns of brown and white or black and white moved from the stiff oxford and brogue to the casual sport shoes.

Rubber soled shoes, such as Keds, came about in the 1930’s as well. These casual shoes had a sporty look with a casual and comfortable feel. Keds came in all sorts of solid and two tone color combination. Amazingly 1930’s Ked’s don’t look much different than men’s Keds today.

1930's mens shoes

Florsheim 1930’s Brogue Wingtip Shoes

For work and office the oxford was still the only mens shoes, however it became much more fancy in the 1920’s. Brogue, or small perforated holes, appeared all over the shoes. Some featured just a design on the toe while others just around the edging. By the mid 1930’s brogeing was all over the shoes. These tiny holes allowed air to flow through, keeping your feet nice and cool in the summer. Brogue and wingtip oxfords are the easiest shoe to find today and the most vintage in style for your 30’s wardrobe. Shop here for some great 30’s mens shoes.

1930s mens shoes

1930’s Mens Moccasin Loafer shoe to the softer sporting shoes.

The 1940’s didn’t offer much change in shoe fashion for men. In the early 40’s most men were serving in the war and wore military issued boots. Men at home continued wearing lace up oxfords in black and brown. Due to the restrictions during the war shoes were kept longer, repairing as necessary. The same shoes from the 30’s could have been worn for the duration of the 40’s if well taken care of.

 

Shop 1920’s and 1930’s vintage inspired men’s Shoes:

Classic Vintage Mens Cap Toe Shoe
 

Classic Vintage Mens Cap Toe Shoe

$135.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Bass Pasadena (White) Men's Lace up casual Shoes
 

Bass Pasadena (White) Men's Lace up casual Shoes

$79.00

Buy at: Zappos.com

Madison by Stacy Adams Brown Cap Toe Shoes
 

Madison by Stacy Adams Brown Cap Toe Shoes

$120.00

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Madison Stacy Adams Madison  Black Lace up Shoes
 

Madison Stacy Adams Madison Black Lace up Shoes

$125.00

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Dayton Stacy Adams Black Mens 1920's Inpsired Wing Tip Dress Shoes
 

Dayton Stacy Adams Black Mens 1920's Inpsired Wing Tip Dress Shoes

$120.00

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Madison Stacy Adams Madison Two Tone Mens Lace up Shoes
 

Madison Stacy Adams Madison Two Tone Mens Lace up Shoes

$125.00

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Stacy Adams - Amato 24823 (Men's) - Mustard/Taupe Leather
 

Stacy Adams - Amato 24823 (Men's) - Mustard/Taupe Leather

$71.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Brown Clarence Calf Semi-Brogue- Perfect Great Gatsby Office Shoes
 

Brown Clarence Calf Semi-Brogue- Perfect Great Gatsby Office Shoes

$199.00

Buy at: Charles Tyrwhitt

Tyndall Wing Tip Shoe by Johnston & Murphy- Traditional 1920s Styling
 

Tyndall Wing Tip Shoe by Johnston & Murphy- Traditional 1920s Styling

$165.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Stacy Adams - Amato 24823 (Men's) - Black/Gray Leather
 

Stacy Adams - Amato 24823 (Men's) - Black/Gray Leather

$71.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Vintage Style 20's Black Opera Slipper Mens leather slipper
 

Vintage Style 20's Black Opera Slipper Mens leather slipper

$29.95

Buy at: Florsheim

Lamont Shoe by Allen Edmonds
 

Lamont Shoe by Allen Edmonds

$365.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Italian Wool & Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoe
 

Italian Wool & Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoe

$160.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Dublin Dark Brown Suede Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes
 

Dublin Dark Brown Suede Cap-Toe Oxford Shoes

$498.00

Buy at: FORZIERI.com

Two-Tone Handcrafted Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoes
 

Two-Tone Handcrafted Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoes

€554.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Handmade Light Brown Italian Leather Wingtip Dress Shoes
 

Handmade Light Brown Italian Leather Wingtip Dress Shoes

€498.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Whitby stacy adams whitby 24809 Mens wing tip oxford leather upper
 

Whitby stacy adams whitby 24809 Mens wing tip oxford leather upper

$85.00

Buy at: Stacy Adams

Brown Handmade Italian Leather Wingtip Ankle Boots
 

Brown Handmade Italian Leather Wingtip Ankle Boots

€398.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Italian Handcrafted Two-tone Wingtip Oxford Shoes
 

Italian Handcrafted Two-tone Wingtip Oxford Shoes

€660.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Two-Tone Italian Handcrafted Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoes
 

Two-Tone Italian Handcrafted Leather Wingtip Oxford Shoes

€554.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Two-Tone Handcrafted Leather Wingtip Derby Shoes
 

Two-Tone Handcrafted Leather Wingtip Derby Shoes

€610.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Tan Paddington Full brogue Derby shoes
 

Tan Paddington Full brogue Derby shoes

$216.00

Buy at: Charles Tyrwhitt

Oxford - Tan Calfskin Wingtip Shoes
 

Oxford - Tan Calfskin Wingtip Shoes

€698.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Stacy Adams Men's Madison Shoes (Ivory)
 

Stacy Adams Men's Madison Shoes (Ivory)

$114.99

Buy at: Famous Footwear

Cayenne - Brogued Wingtip Oxford
 

Cayenne - Brogued Wingtip Oxford

€486.00

Buy at: FORZIERI Italia

Hush Puppies Men's Style Brogue Shoes (Tan Leather)
 

Hush Puppies Men's Style Brogue Shoes (Tan Leather)

$135.00

Buy at: Shoes.com

Italian Leather & Canvas Oxford Shoe
 

Italian Leather & Canvas Oxford Shoe

$160.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Johnston & Murphy Men's Ellington Wing Tip Brown-E
 

Johnston & Murphy Men's Ellington Wing Tip Brown-E

$139.95

Buy at: TheShoeMart

Johnston & Murphy Men's Ellington Cap Toe Saddle T
 

Johnston & Murphy Men's Ellington Cap Toe Saddle T

$139.95

Buy at: TheShoeMart

Stacy Adams - Steadman 24860 (Men's) - Brown/Tan Buffalo Leather
 

Stacy Adams - Steadman 24860 (Men's) - Brown/Tan Buffalo Leather

$99.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Stacy Adams - Parker 24890 (Men's) - Oyster Suede
 

Stacy Adams - Parker 24890 (Men's) - Oyster Suede

$79.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Stacy Adams - Parker 24890 (Men's) - Sand/Oyster Suede
 

Stacy Adams - Parker 24890 (Men's) - Sand/Oyster Suede

$79.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Mezlan - Chapi (Men's) - Camel/Bone Ascot
 

Mezlan - Chapi (Men's) - Camel/Bone Ascot

$244.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Mezlan - Chapi (Men's) - Black/White Ascot
 

Mezlan - Chapi (Men's) - Black/White Ascot

$244.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Florsheim - Castellano Cap Ox (Men's) - Brown Smooth Leather
 

Florsheim - Castellano Cap Ox (Men's) - Brown Smooth Leather

$124.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Johnston & Murphy - Larsey Cap Toe (Men's) - Tan Italian Calfskin
 

Johnston & Murphy - Larsey Cap Toe (Men's) - Tan Italian Calfskin

$134.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Stacy Adams - Atticus 24840 (Men's) - Cognac/Taupe Leather
 

Stacy Adams - Atticus 24840 (Men's) - Cognac/Taupe Leather

$84.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Ellie - Fred-121 (Men's) - Black
 

Ellie - Fred-121 (Men's) - Black

$53.95

Buy at: Shoebuy.com

Stacy Adams Men's Concorde Cap Toe Oxford Shoes (White)
 

Stacy Adams Men's Concorde Cap Toe Oxford Shoes (White)

$109.99

Buy at: Famous Footwear

G.H. Bass Buckingham - Men's - Shoes - White
 

G.H. Bass Buckingham - Men's - Shoes - White

$104.95

Buy at: OnlineShoes.com

G.H. Bass Pembroke - Men's - Shoes - Off White
 

G.H. Bass Pembroke - Men's - Shoes - Off White

$78.95

Buy at: OnlineShoes.com

G.H. Bass Pasadena-N - Men's - Shoes - White
 

G.H. Bass Pasadena-N - Men's - Shoes - White

$64.99

Buy at: OnlineShoes.com

Italian Leather Oxford Shoe
 

Italian Leather Oxford Shoe

$180.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Italian Leather & Suede Wingtip Oxford Shoe
 

Italian Leather & Suede Wingtip Oxford Shoe

$160.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Dress Argyle Over The Calf Socks
 

Dress Argyle Over The Calf Socks

$21.00

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Clayton Linen Wing Tip Shoe by Johnston and Murphy
 

Clayton Linen Wing Tip Shoe by Johnston and Murphy

$129.99

Buy at: Jos. A. Bank

Italian Woven Leather Wingtip Oxford
 

Italian Woven Leather Wingtip Oxford

$250.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Italian Suede & Leather Two Tone Wingtip Oxford
 

Italian Suede & Leather Two Tone Wingtip Oxford

$200.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Cole Haan Copley Wingtip Derby (British Tan 1) Men's Lace Up Wing Tip Shoes
 

Cole Haan Copley Wingtip Derby (British Tan 1) Men's Lace Up Wing Tip Shoes

$148.00

Buy at: Zappos.com

Stacy Adams Men's Preston Plain Toe Oxford Shoes (Oyster)
 

Stacy Adams Men's Preston Plain Toe Oxford Shoes (Oyster)

$79.99

Buy at: Famous Footwear

Stacy Adams Men's Concorde Cap Toe Oxford Shoes (Black)
 

Stacy Adams Men's Concorde Cap Toe Oxford Shoes (Black)

$109.99

Buy at: Famous Footwear

Stacy Adams Men's Roulette Wing Tip Oxford Shoes (Brown)
 

Stacy Adams Men's Roulette Wing Tip Oxford Shoes (Brown)

$89.99

Buy at: Famous Footwear

Montclair Nunn Bush Montclair 84491 lace up cap toe dress shoe derby
 

Montclair Nunn Bush Montclair 84491 lace up cap toe dress shoe derby

$90.00

Buy at: Nunn Bush

Farwell Nunn Bush Farwell 84432 Oxford Blucher Cap Toe dress hoe Rubber Bottom
 

Farwell Nunn Bush Farwell 84432 Oxford Blucher Cap Toe dress hoe Rubber Bottom

$56.90

Buy at: Nunn Bush

Italian Leather & Suede Cap Toe Oxford
 

Italian Leather & Suede Cap Toe Oxford

$250.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Italian Perforated Leather Cap Toe Oxford
 

Italian Perforated Leather Cap Toe Oxford

$200.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Italian Two Tone Leather Oxford
 

Italian Two Tone Leather Oxford

$250.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Italian Woven Leather Oxford
 

Italian Woven Leather Oxford

$250.00

Buy at: Paul Fredrick MenStyle

Walk-Over Haverford Burnt Orange/White Men's
 

Walk-Over Haverford Burnt Orange/White Men's

$335.00

Buy at: PlanetShoes.com

This entry was posted in 1920's Fashion History, 1930s Fashion on by .

About Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions is passionate about wearing history through fashion. She and her husband, Oscar, have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories and teach fashion history as it was worn by everyday people. Need more help? Contact us anytime.

One thought on “History of Mens Shoes of 1920’s and 1930’s

  1. Ryan Tilbury

    Check out Johnston and Murphys 1850s line of Men’s shoes–really awesome and well made. They don’t skip a step with this line.

    Reply

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