Tag Archives: vintage shoes

Dunlop Beach Sandals, 1939

Some time ago I found a pair of 1930s beach shoes from France, so I guess it was bound to happen that I find a pair from Great Britain as well. I would have been happy with just the shoes, but they came in the original box which was just the best icing imaginable.

I spotted these on Instagram (that great enabler of collectors) in the feed of @wideawakevintage. If you are not following her, do please, as she finds the most amazing stuff. After nearly breaking my neck to get to her etay store, I found the shoes were still there and so I purchased them. It was not until the package arrived that I found the box was included.

There’s a real plus to buying from sellers who are obsessed with the history of things. They are on the lookout for ads and such to help with the dating of the things they find. And Michelle of Wide Awake really went above and beyond the duty of a vintage seller, as she not only found an advertisement with my new shoes…

she also found this photo for sale on Etsy with a woman wearing the shoes! I love how she has paired them with ankle socks and a dress, proving that beach sandals are not just for the beach.

Okay, these are not one hundred percent exactly like mine, but they are pretty darned close.

It’s always great to see something I have in my collection in the actual context of it being worn. Ads are great, but it takes a real woman to put these shoes in a real situation.

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Filed under Advertisements, Collecting, Shoes

Keds Hand-book for Girls, 1923

Sometimes I wonder how things like this little booklet survive.  Published in 1923, the girl who originally owned it would now be in her hundreds.  Was it put in a box, stored in an attic for people to find at an estate sale?  And why was such a trivial bit of paper not thrown out years ago?

I should be glad that many people have a tendency to save things.  If we all threw out everything that was not of use then a lot of our history would simply be lost.  Of course 91 years ago children did not have the massive amounts of things that children have today.  Even a little booklet, given free with the purchase of a pair of shoes, might be treasured.

The booklet is 48 pages of miscellaneous information, plus one page of advertising the sponsor’s goods.  The styles shown are interesting because of the variety of Keds available for girls.  I love the cross-strap Mary-Janes, and picture them in red canvas.  And the third pair down is identical to a style that was made for boys.  It’s good to know that they were also made for girls.

There is no rhyme or reason to the choice of entries in the booklet.  These pages have games alongside chores and recipes.

I had no idea that 161 “girls” died in World War I.

The tiny illustrations on the cover show girls doing activities from the booklet.  It looks like Keds are good for reading and cooking as well as for tennis and canoeing.

 

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Filed under Shoes

B.F. Goodrich Velvet Shoe Twins – Updated

On a recent vintage outing  I found the brown shoes in the photo above.  Actually, it was the shoe box that caught my eye, and the brown shoes were the prize inside the box.  I immediately thought of the orange shoes which I bought about ten years ago, which I was pretty sure were the same style.  With the exception of the laces and the color, the shoes are identical.

I love that the colors of the box are the orange and brown of the shoes.

I’ve tried to find an ad for the B.F. Goodrich Velvetie, but so far I’ve not found one.  My guess is that these shoes date from the mid 1950s to the early 60s.  (See update below)

Many times I see vintage items advertised as “unique” or “one of a kind.”  But unless a garment is couture, or is made by a seamstress or a tailor, then chances are the item was made in great quantities, and chances are that more than one example of any given garment has survived to the present time.

A good example of this is the novelty border prints that were so popular in the 1950s and early 1960s.  These prints were commonly made into gathered or pleated skirts, and it is pretty easy to locate multiple examples of the same print made into similar skirts.

Another example is the 1940s figural sweater.  These have become quite popular in recent years, with people looking for specific sweaters that they know exist.  Many of these are well documented in ads by makers such as Jantzen and Catalina, and collectors even find vintage photos of the sweaters being worn.  There is a wonderful thread on the VFG forums where these sweaters and ads are shared.

When I first started buying on eBay in 1997, I’d be really distressed to lose out on an item to a higher bidder.  But as time went on, I realized that if an item surfaced once, chances are there were lots more of them out there.  In my early ebay days, I was the runner-up bidder on a Dalton Scottie doggie intarsia sweater.  I would have bid higher, but the sweater was green, a color I rarely wear.  Ten years later, the very same sweater finally resurfaced, this time in black.   I bought it and wore it a few times, but now it sits safely in the Vintage Traveler collection.

UPDATE:  My favorite vintage researcher, Lynne, has emailed an ad for these shoes dated 1968, though she also found them mentioned in 1967.  I think it was the box that threw me, along with the soles of the shoes, which are that ridged crepe one sees so often on late 50s and early 60s casual shoes.  The shoes also came in black.  Many thanks to Lynne!

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Filed under Collecting, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Active Modern Shoes, 1943

Witchcraft  

Fascinating… inspired detail… perfect cut – all help Active Modern Shoes cast a real spell of loveliness upon your feet.

And with the built-in comfort that only Selby Arch Preserver hidden features can give, you won’t want to fly through the air – you’ll love walking.

I imagine that ad writers had a really hard time when it came to pushing the merits of wartime women’s shoes.  Due to the  scarcity of dyes, by 1943 American shoe manufacturers were limited to six colors: navy, black, white, and three shades of brown.  Shoes were made in sturdy styles that were  meant to last and to provide support for the feet of the female workforce.

I know that there will be some disagreement, but to me these are old lady shoes, possibly because in the 1960s old ladies were still wearing similar styles.  I can imagine that the older woman stuck with this style because as the ad points out, they were comfortable.  Look at all that toe room and the nice sturdy heel.  But I really do fail to see the this style would “cast a spell of loveliness” on anybody’s feet.

And is it just me, or does that black model actually look a bit like a witch’s shoe?

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October 16, 2013 · 8:03 am

1950s Kroydon Golf Shoes by Endicott Johnson

Was it the snappy red color with the contrasting black trim, or was it the tee holder with the three yellow tees?  I can’t really say, but something really sold me on this pair of vintage golf shoes.

I placed the dating of  1950s on these mainly from clues on the shoe box.

First, the guys in the photograph are straight from the mid 50s, plaid golf bags and all.

But the best clue was on the Kroydon logo, where it reads, “Golf leadership for over 40 years.”  Solid information about Kroydon was a bit hard to come by, but I found several old ads for Kroydon golf clubs on ebay.  I found that the company was located in Maplewood, New Jersey.  From there I googled “Kroydon, Maplewood” and found a reference to the company in a 1940s book called Prominent Families of New Jersey.  According to the book, Kroydon was established in 1918.

While Kroydon made golf clubs, they also must have had agreements with other manufacturers to produce golf accessories that were marketed under the Kroydon name.  Endicott Johnson was a large shoe manufacturer located in southern New York state.

Whenever I find sportswear in unused condition, I wonder about the person who owned it.  Did this woman want to learn the game, but never made the time for it?  Did her golfer husband buy them for her for Christmas, hoping that she would pick up the game?  Or did a conservative dresser buy them, hoping to snazz up her style, but then lost the nerve?  I’d love to know the real story.

UPDATE:  I have heard from the great-great-grandson of the owner of Croyden:

Kroyden was a subsidiary of Kraueter & Company founded by Augustus Kraueter (who was my great great grandfather) in Newark NJ  ca 1860 and primarily manufactured small hand tools. They got into the golf business shortly after the First World War by forging the heads for irons and then developed steel shafts for clubs in lieu of hickory, The Kroyden factory was located in Maplewood, NJ as you stated in your post.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Proper Clothing, Summer Sports

Russell Moccasins, and Thoughts about the Past and Present

I recently found this catalog from the W.C. Russell Moccasin Company of Berlin, Wisconsin.  I was pleasantly surprised to open it and find that Russell Moccasins were not just for men.

Click to enlarge

The first pages show both men and women out in the wild, enjoying their Russell boots.  By the looks of the clothing and hair styles, my guess is that most of these were taken in the 1920s and early 1930s.   There is no date to be found in the catalog, but the front cover illustration looks to be more like a late 1930s or even a 1940s style.  Another hint is that the catalog reads that the company has been in business for over a quarter of a century.  Since it was founded in 1898, I know that is later than 1924.

The last clue is the style of the shoes.  These look to be late 1930s, or 1940s.  The trouble with sports clothing and shoes is that while fashion is considered, the styles are a bit more constant than a fashion garment or shoe.  But still, I’m leaning toward late 1930s for a date on the catalog.

This boot was a favorite for hiking and camping.  I’ve seen ads for very similar ones as early as 1922.  I have a pair in my collection from Abercrombie & Fitch, the famous outfitters for adventurers.

Click to better see the moviegram

I thought this “moviegram” showing moccasin construction was very interesting.  And just because I love them so much, here are better views of some of the women campers.

I look at a lot of old images, read a lot of vintage magazines and watch classic movies.  To my modern sensibilities, sometimes the things I encounter are disquieting.  The way people thought about race relations, animal rights, and the status of women can be vastly different from the way I look at these issues.

Right now I’m slowily reading my way through every issue of Life magazine, thanks to Google Books.  To be honest, I’ve been shocked at the language used when referring to people of different races.  Words that today we think are used only by ignorant racists were used freely in a national magazine.  Especially in advertising, women are portrayed as being glorified house maids, being concerned with trivial domestic problems while the man of the house works to support her.  There are photos of hunters surrounded by dead animals, in which sport hunting is glorified.

When I encounter such a disturbing image or passage, my mind has to remind my sensibilities that this was almost 80 years ago, and today at least people are aware of these issues and are working toward solving the injustices of life.  I don’t have to like what I’m seeing, but I have learned to put it in the past where it belongs.   Sometimes I think history lovers tend to over-glorify the past.  I love the images of the women I’ve posted here, and frankly have thought about what a great time it must have been.  I’m glad that the photos do not contain images of dead animals, which they very well could have seeing that they are, after all, in the woods and probably hunting.

Which brings me to the present.  I was really surprised to learn that the W.R. Russell Company is still in business, still producing boots in Berlin, Wisconsin.  I was all ready to link to their site when I encountered a page where customers are pictured wearing their boots, surrounded by their prey.  It was like it was 1933 and these guys were big game hunters in darkest Africa.

I live in an area of the country where hunting is still accepted.   Cars sport bumper stickers like “Hunt with your kid, not hunt for him.”  I realize that some people do still hunt for their food, and I know that hunting does help control animal over-population.  However, I cannot understand why any website that is trying to sell shoes in the 21st century would feature photos of great-white-hunter wannabes.    I respect the heritage of hunting.  It is how our ancestors survived.  But I do not understand gratuitous killing just to make the killer look manly.

My point here is not to bash hunters. My grandfather was a “fox hunter.”  I put that in quotes because in his case being a hunter meant that he and his buddies liked to dress in red buffalo check jackets, go camping, and let their hounds run loose.   My point is that we need to remember the past and to honor it.  But there are some things about the past that need to stay there.

UPDATE:  I have discovered that this catalog dates from 1940.

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Filed under Camping and Hiking, Made in the USA, Shoes, Viewpoint

Daniel Green Footwear for 1938

I just cannot resist great vintage fashion advertising!  This is a small poster, probably for a store to display in their slipper department.  Daniel Green slippers have been made for over 100 years, and they have always meant “quality.”  My grandmother, who was not a fashion plate by any means, knew her slippers and insisted on Daniel Greens.

One of my favorite stories about Daniel Green slippers is told by shoe historian Jonathan Walford.  Jonathan says that during WWII brides often wore Daniel Greens as their wedding shoes, as they were made in satin and were easier to obtain than regular shoes.  And I’ve seen them in fashion spreads of the era, usually with “at home” gowns, but I’m sure they also went to dinner.

I bought this poster some years ago because it was cheap and cute.  But it is going to a new home, as I happen to have a friend who is a big Daniel Green collector, and I think she will like it.  Just don’t tell!

Comment:

Posted by Deana Spartan:

Lizzie-
I am one of the designers for Daniel Green. I love the history that you gave with your posted. It’s great to hear that you have fond memories of Daniel Green. I would love to know more history. Maybe I can find some information from the historian you listed.
Thanks! 

Wednesday, January 23rd 2008 @ 12:53 PM


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Filed under Collecting, Shoes, Vintage Clothing, World War II