Fashion in the 1950′s brought the world out of the conservative war years and into the dazzling 50′s. Dresses were bigger, accessories richer, hairstyles taller and shoes….well plainer. With so much new emphasis on the rest of women’s fashion 1950′s shoes became understated accessories. Instead of bold patterns and a pile of fancy adornments, shoes were basic classy single color pumps. Black and brown were the main choices for day wear while brighter colors were acceptable for evening wear.
In the early 1950′s the stiletto heeled opera, court, and pump shoes were all the rage. They were very tall and had very thin heels. Early on the heels ended in a small metal cap that left dents in soft wood floors requiring some museum and court houses to forbid stiletto shoes. The style featured tall arches with a V shaped cut away from the shoe sides. Red was the most bold and most in demand color for formal wear.
After balancing on tall heels for a few years 50′s women regained their senses and accepted low but still very thin kitten heel shoes. These classic dress shoes were safer to walk in yet still remained elegant and classy. Shoes were made of a soft leather or reptile skin. Suede and some fabric materials were used as well. Toes were very pointed in the early years and more rounded in the later years. For evening wear jewel tone colors especially glittery gold and dark silver were fashionable.
Another 1950′s shoe style called “flatties” or flats in today’s lingo were popular house shoes. They were sometime worn with pants outside of the home for casual occasions. These feature very small heels, 1/2 inch or less, and sometimes had no heels. Black was the most common. Audrey Hepburn was a forerunner of fashion in these basic “ballet shoe” styles and women followed her every move.
For summer wear thin heeled mule shoes and slingback sandals were in. If they featured any extra adornment it came in the form of a thin, flat bow across the toe. Sandals feature thick side bands that gathered at the center vamp. Straps were wide and heels either very thin or more commonly thick and rounded.
Teenagers wore saddle shoes. These were black and white oxford style shoes most associated with girls in poodle skirts. They also wore low heeled patent Mary Jane’s along with their younger sisters.
Vintage 1950′s shoes aren’t too hard to find in vintage or thrift stores. Since the 1950′s shoe was a very classic design they are also easy to find in modern shoes. Here are some great choices from around the web: