In Praise of Summer(ettes)

If you are a vintage shoe fanatic like you should be, then you know of Summerettes.  Summerettes were canvas shoes and sandals made by the Mishawaka Rubber & Woolen Mag. Co under their Ball Band trademark. According to the US trademark site, the Summerettes name dates from 1934,  but their heyday was the 50s.  During that decade they made what really might have the the most comfortable (while still looking cute) shoes of all time.  These:

I was lucky enough to buy these several years ago along with the original box and advertising insert.  They actually are a size too big for me, which is a good thing because it they fit they would have been worn out by now.

The reason I’m so convinced these are the world’s most comfortable cute shoes is that in 1973  I found a pair in an old shoe store and they were my favorite sandals until they fell off my feet several years later.  By that time the old store had closed and I couldn’t get a replacement pair, but I have many memories of many interesting things I did while wearing those shoes.  Not that I’d tell those stories because I happen to know that my brother reads my blog.

Here is an ad for the shoes, which dates from 1953.  I need to find a better copy.  This one was sent to me by the gal who sold the shoes to me.  I looked on eBay and if I were desperate enough to buy from the magazine rippers I could buy the ad for $3.99.  But I do not like to buy from people who tear perfectly old magazines apart.  Maybe if I found one who promised that they only deconstructed magazines that were cut up anyway…

I have another pair of Summerettes, which are a bit later, late 50s maybe.  I had a photo but deleted it by mistake.  Anyway, they are cute yellow flats, very similar to the ones in this great store display:

Ah, Summerettes!


Posted by Pallas:

OMG! Summerettes! I had a similar experience purchasing a pair at a Ma & Pa drugstore when I was a teen. I wore them until they fell apart. I wish I could find a pair that I wouldn’t feel guilty about wearing…

Friday, August 14th 2009 @ 9:35 AM

Posted by Gail:

I am sure that I had a pair of these shoes when I was about 12. I remember a pair of green canvas sandals that looked liked the beige pair in the ad. I don’t remember much about them, but I must of liked them since I have remembered them for so long.

Monday, August 17th 2009 @ 3:02 PM

Posted by Cathy:

I used to buy those at Woolworths and other 5&10’s in the early 1970’s. I used to buy vintage dresses and get totally gigged out everyday for school (jr. high/high school). I would love to find some for me and my daughter. s
So super comfy and retro-sylish! 

Thursday, August 5th 2010 @ 7:55 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Cathy, I found a pair on ebay about a year or so ago – new in the box, from the 1970s.

The ones from the 50s were made in the USA, and the 70s versions were usually made in Taiwan.

Friday, August 6th 2010 @ 4:55 PM


Filed under Collecting, Shoes

11 responses to “In Praise of Summer(ettes)

  1. SG

    I have been trying to describe these to my kids. Would love a pair now. I wore them in the 70’s. My kids can’t believe I bought them at woolworths. Also trying to find the platform neutral color leather sandals we wore too.


    • I have a pair of the 1970s ones in my collection, along with the ones from the 50s. I found them on ebay a few years ago.


      • That illustration on the fourth photo looks SO much like the illustration style of original Barbie print materials, especially the woman in the background fussing with her hair. I was more interested in the little catalog that came with Barbie than Barbie herself (I later grew up to write advertising), so I remember the artwork very well.

        Also, the Kork-Ease sandal which another commenter mentions above (the ’70s neutral color wedge sandal) is now available again in several styles and heights. Unfortunately my feet are 40 years old and they no longer feel at all comfortable, even the “Myrna” lower heel style. The leather is just too stiff and the wedge sole too unbending.


    • Have you tried Re-mix vintage shoes? It’s an online store, they sell reproduction vintage leather shoes, they have them, that what led me here! I wanted to find out more before purchasing them!


  2. Anja

    I bought several pairs at Woolworth’s before they closed. I loved them so much that I have two raggedy pairs in boxes in the hope of being able to duplicate them someday. I dissected one shoe in order to create a pattern, but the problem is finding the wedge heel component. I just can’t make or find anything that works. Your red ones are so cute.


    • That’s interesting that you are trying to make your own. If you had a mold that spray foam insulation might work. They do come up on ebay and etsy from time to time.


      • Anja

        Hi, thanks for your reply. I was trying to make my own because I like them so much and I wanted to make some for my friends. I think that I will try to make a mold. Using insulation foam just might work. I am going to a sandalmaking class soon and plan to ask the instructor if she knows of any suppliers that might have something similar as well as that distinctive soling.


  3. Pingback: More Days Wear, Warm and Dry in “Ball-Band” Boots | The Vintage Traveler

  4. Pingback: The Colors of Summer: Red, White, and Blue | The Vintage Traveler

  5. Gladys Rivera

    Summerettes are the most comfortable shot I’ve ever worn I wish there was a company that would reproduce the shoes


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