No teenager would be complete without her bobby socks and saddle shoes. Whether worn with cuffed-up denim jeans or with poofy poodle skirts, saddle shoes were second to none.
Saddle shoes were first created by Spalding sports in 1906, made for the foot-active sports of tennis and squash. The ‘saddle’ of the shoe was a reinforced instep that worked as a girdle to hold the foot tight against the shoe during fast sprints of running. The first athletic shoe with technological wizardry (decades before Air Jordans), the saddle shoe failed to win over the players, but it did find eventual approval from golfers before it appeared on the feet of adolescents.
The two-tone style of the oxford shoe with colored ‘saddle’ became a part of the Ivy League craze of college kids. Adolescents of the 40’s adopted the shoe of their big brothers and sisters, pairing it with their new jeans and white bobby socks. The saddle shoe became inexorably linked with the new term that was being coined for the large masses of fashionable adolescents: teenagers.
This new phenomenon shook up parents and left them speechless as to the crazy ways their children were expressing themselves. Conformity was hailed during the early days of the Cold War, but this new teenage uniform was something very different from the identical outfits of yesteryear. Every teen girl wore her saddle shoes, cuffed jeans, and white shirttails like all of her friends, and their friends, and friends of their friends. Maybe they were still conforming to the peers, but teenagers wore saddle shoes as a proud uniform that separated them from their parents and adults of authority.
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