Saddle Oxfords a.k.a. Saddle Shoes

After seeing Betty Lou’s saddle oxfords, I was inspired to write about the history and interesting facts of one of my favorite classic American shoes…

Considered to be the grandfather of modern athletic footwear, saddle oxfords are one of the few all-American shoes.  Also known as saddle shoes, saddle oxfords were first introduced in 1906 for tennis and squash players. The first saddle oxfords were manufactured by Spalding, which is the company who also made the first basketball, baseball and American football.

Saddle oxfords are distinguished by their oxford, lace-up style and are made of leather with red clay-colored rubber soles.  They are usually one color at the front and heel with a contrasting “saddle” piece over the middle which supports the instep during sport.  The shoes were originally made in white with a contrasting black piece, however they can be made in any combination of colors.

My Spalding Saddle Oxfords

In the 1950s, almost every American girl had a pair of saddle oxfords in white with black “saddles,” which they often wore with bobby socks. The shoe continued to be popular with teenage girls, cheerleaders and preppies from the 1960s-80s. Nowadays, people seen wearing saddle oxfords are usually golfers, children, preppy men, people dressed in 1950s fashions and vintage aficionados.

Saddle oxfords är en all-amerikansk sko som anses vara anfadern till dagens sportskor. De kallas också saddle shoes. Skorna introducerades för första gången 1906 och användes av tennis- och squashspelare. De första saddle oxfords tillverkades av Spalding, det företag som ocksa. tillverkade den första amerikanska basketbollen, basebollen och den amerikanska fotbollen.

Saddle Oxfords Were All the Rage in the 1950s

Saddle Oxfords känns igen på sin oxfordsstil med snörning och tillverkas av läder med röda gummisulor. Skorna har i regel en färg därframme pa skon och på hälen med en kontrasterande sadeldel på mitten av skon som stödjer plösen under sportutövning. Skorna tillverkades i början med en kontrasterande svart del men kan idag bäras i vilken färgkombination som helst.

På 1950-talet hade nästan varje amerikansk flicka som min mama ett par vita saddle oxfords med svarta sadlar som ofta bars med bobby socks. Skon fortsatte att vara populär bland tonåringar, cheerleaders och preppies från 1960- till 1980-talet. Idag är skon populär framför allt bland golfare, barn, preppies och de som klär sig i 50-talsstil och vintage aficionados.

© Copyright 2010 Americana

Even Studious Girls Love Saddle Oxfords!

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9 Comments

Filed under Saddle Oxfords, Shoes

9 responses to “Saddle Oxfords a.k.a. Saddle Shoes

  1. Oh fun reading! Thanks for the link!

    I got one question, i’ve gotten some black marks/spots on the white on the shoes and i can’t seem to get it off. Any tips?

  2. So glad you enjoyed the post & thanks for your inspiration for it!

    The age-old method for cleaning saddle oxfords is quite simple. You use white shoe polish on the white parts and black shoe polish on the saddle. Actually, saddle oxfords that have had several layers of shoe polish applied eventually get a very nice aged look to them. Good luck!

  3. I’ve actually tried that, but i think i need to find another brand and try that. Thanks!

  4. commonbirds

    i’ve been trying to find a pair of vintage saddle shoes. i had a pair as a kid. any suggestions about where to find them online?

    • Muffy’s is THE source for saddle oxfords! Bass are a good brand, as are Willetts. But the holy grail of saddle oxfords are Spalding, which are the original.

      I’ve also seen where the very fine American shoemaker Cole Haan have come out this spring with a cute modern versions in purple and blue. They should be super-comfy & well-made. Have you also checked Zappos? They should have loads of them in the men’s department, which is good if you have a larger size.

      Good luck!

      • janet

        Gina–My sister and I were in high school during the 1970s and remember the “Bubble Toe Sadddle” shoe being all the rage. I can find NOTHING about these shoes in the Internet. Do you have any knowledge of them?

      • I remember bubble toe saddle oxfords! I believe my sister had a pair. Anyway, I’m a little stuck for any specific information about them.

        Have you tried Retroland.com? Perhaps if you post a comment to the wall on Retroland’s facebook page you can get some feedback.

        If you do find something, please please share it with us here via a comment, because we’re always looking to learn more. Thanks for checking with Americana. Good luck Janet!

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