A century of shoes

Shoes throughout the last 100 years



Shelly Beraza


Beginning in the 20th century, shoes have undergone some amazing changes. From uncomfortable heels to practical tennis shoes, the possibilities seemed endless.

In the early 1900s, shoes mostly exhibited heels and leather materials, until the U.S. Rubber Company came up with Keds shoes in 1917. Keds were the first sneaker, aptly named for making very little noise when walking.

During that same year, Converse came out with their All Star line, which has continued to grow in popularity.

The 1920s were a time of daring inhibition for women and their shoes; shoes became a focal point in fashion.

According to centuryinshoes.com, shoe styles were influenced by crazes like the Charleston, a dance that demanded a securely fastened shoe, usually using one tiny covered button, with a low heel and a closed toe.

In the 1930s, platform shoes made their first appearance. Salvatore Ferragamo and André Perugia were popular designers and made the platforms out of materials like wood and cork because of the ban on rubber during the war.

In the 1940s, leather was only allowed for military use, so designers began using unconventional materials such as animal skins.

In the 1950s, pumps were the basic shoe of the typical housewife, while ballet slippers and sneakers became more popular among teenagers trying to emulate their favorite stars on the silver screen.

The 1960s was a time of expression and changing the world. Young people became more daring on shoe fashion and often wore bright colors and prints.

According to centuryinshoes.com, the infamous go-go boots were popularized by Nancy Sinatra’s song, These Boots Were Made For Walking, and soon became a symbol of the 1960s. A white, flat-heeled version of the boot was first created by designer Andres Courreges.

The 1970s introduced a new athletic craze and disco. In 1972, the Nike Company was introduced and tennis shoes became increasingly popular.

The heel became less common in the 1980s, so in came the flats, which were extremely prevalent among businesswomen.

Platform shoes came back in the 1990s when the grunge era was all the rage, recycling fashion from previous decades.

Modern day shoes are as varied as the history of shoes itself. Heels, pumps, tennis shoes, platforms, boots and more are all widely available on the market today. No one knows what the rest of the 21st century will bring in shoe fashion, but chances are history will repeat itself.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

A century of shoes

by admin time to read: 2 min