Sensible Shoes through the Decades

I consider these lace-up Oxfords “old lady” shoes, although I have noticed that they come back into style for younger wearers off and on.  In my growing photograph collection, I  can document women wearing them over a forty-four year period—an incredibly long time for any one style to last.

One of my cousins is a physical therapist specializing in older clients; according to her, lace up shoes with a firmly fitting heel are the best thing for older women to wear in order to avoid falls—so maybe there is a good reason that this style stayed so popular for so long.

Do you have a photo that you could send showing someone wearing these shoes before 1915 or after 1959?  I would love to share it!

This entry was posted in 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sensible Shoes through the Decades

  1. csm says:

    Yes! Thank you for pointing out these hideous shoes.

    I remember family members and their friends wearing these as late as the end of the 60’s. I swore I would never wear these old lady shoes. Incredible that they lasted through so many decades! Women in the 70’s traded these for bright white athletic shoes. Unattractive in their own right.

    Love your blog! Brings back lots of old memories.


  2. No photo, unfortunately, but I saw a girl wearing the brown version of these the other day. She was a tourist, probably European (judging by her effortless chic). She was wearing a navy shirtwaist type dress with a slightly raised waist and a full-ish skirt with brown lace ups and no socks. She looked adorable, though I confess her shoes did not look any more comfortable than a ballet flat to me (thin sole). She was somewhere in her 20s, I’d guess, so you are right that this look comes in fashion for the young occasionally.

  3. Susan Whelan says:

    My beloved Nan wore shoes like that right up until her death in 1970. In fact, I never saw her wear anything else, even at her second wedding in 1958. She was 82 when she died and had suffered from bunions for many years; I think they determined her shoe style for the second half of her life. My other grandmother wore them, too. She died in 1974. I seem to remember two of my aunts wearing them into the 1980s, as well. I’ll see if I can locate any photographs for you. They were definitely worn for practicality and comfort. Fashion was the last thing on my grandmothers’ and aunts’ minds. As I recall, the shoes were all leather and very expensive but lasted for years.

  4. Holly says:

    My 89-years-young mom is looking for shoes that will baby her bunion. We went to a small shoe store in a neighboring town to look at their deerskin moccasins. She decided they didn’t offer enough support. Then we saw a pair of lace-up SASS shoes that looked EXACTLY like the ones my grandmother wore ALL the time in the 1960’s. It was like we had stepped into a time machine. Mom found the shoes very comfortable despite her bunion and will eventually be ordering a pair in a color that can be worn year round. My grandmother probably wore that style of shoes because of her bunion. (I am very glad my feet are like my dad’s-not a hint of bunions to come!)

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