When executed well, the saddle shoe can be the most stylish oxford in existence. The sad thing about it is that you hardly see them anymore and you don’t see them created to their full potential. If you do see them in America, you often see them in the classic form that has a robust last and a wide saddle. Much like the Aldens below. It is rare to see them in a dressier form which I believe is far more elegant and stylish than its classic cousin. Yet few brands offer this model and I have always wondered why.
Saddle shoes were originally introduced in 1906 by non-other than Spalding, who introduced them as a sports shoe that then became used by players of tennis and squash. However, they soon realized that there were more intelligent shoes that could be made for those sports, and the saddle shoe quickly became adopted into society as a sporty day-to-day shoe.
Throughout the 1950’s teenagers all over America, both boys and girls started wearing them to school and they quickly became a part of the preppy’s new uniform. They were abolished in the hippie era and to this day are really only seen being worn by golfers, classic Americana enthusiasts, and the super shoe snobs, like me 😉
Classics are classics for a reason though (they were once really cool) and it’s time that we made these classics cool again. It is okay to be super conservative and wear only cap-toe oxfords, but every now and then we need to respin the wheel by bringing back the fun side of oxfords. Saddle shoes are just that: classic oxfords with a modern twist. There is no reason we cannot utilize them in everyday wear.
I really feel like it would be acceptable to wear my black/red saddle shoes to a conservative workplace and if not then we need to push towards a new direction of accepting daring dress shoes. Heck, if you can wear sneakers with sweatpants to work, there should be no reason you cannot wear some playful two-tones! Start taking chances by wearing bold shoes and don’t be afraid to add a saddle shoe to your collection.
Many models have a way of coming back and it is only a matter of time before the saddle shoe does, but not as the classic round lasted Americana style one, the dressier version. Mark my words, and you will see some more classic shoe brands start to introduce them into their collections. One brand at a time. I just relaunched mine and Yohei Fukuda has been showing his lately. Who is next?!!