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History of Shoes: Big Band Era Shoe Fashions

Shoe fashion in the United States hit a sweet spot in the Big Band era, which stretched between 1935 and 1945. During this era, shoe fashion was big with both men and women. The explosion of the popularity of American cinema brought shoe fashion to the foreground of American popular culture and made having the right shoes as important as wearing the right dress or suit. This change in style awareness affected the way that people looked at the shoes they bought and how they coordinated their outfits.

Shoe Fashion Changes During the Big Band Era
One of the biggest changes in shoe fashion during the Big Band Era was that there were a lot more shoes to choose between. Not only did the number of available shoe designs explode, but so did the number of sizes and fitting options. In fact, there were more sizes and fitting options during this historical era in America than there are now. The importance of having a well-fitted shoe that looked good was a change in American fashion sense, and it was created by the popularity of American cinema, which played up the appeal of having a great pair of shoes that fit your feet properly.

Shoe Designs That Were Popular During the Big Band Era
Many of the shoe designs that were popular during the Big Band Era are still around today. A few of the styles that were popular include high-heeled sandals , lace-up shoes, wedges and chunk heels. For men, loafers and lace-up shoes were popular. One of the new developments in shoe design during the late 1930s was the addition of lace to women’s dress shoes. Salvatore Ferragamo was the first to apply lace to women’s shoes.

As far as shoe materials go in the 1930s and 1940s, leather was the leader, especially for dress shoes . Leather was used in solid pieces, strips, braids and fringe. The color choices during this era ranged from neutral colors like tan, fawn and black to fashion colors that matched the latest designer clothing fashions on the market. Multicolor shoes were also introduced and generally created by adding lace, embroidery, beads and rhinestones.