Women's Shoes

Women’s shoes of the 1950’s were arched, sophisticated and cut away to reveal the maximum of the foot. These were perched atop narrow delicate heels that only diminished in width as the decade wore on.

In 1950, heels for women were all fairly high. By 1954, however, there were a variety of heights for different occasions and times of day.

The stiletto heel arrived in 1955, with a heel so narrow it appeared pointed. This heel was added to court shoes and pumps, punching holes in sidewalks and hotel lobby floors all over New York until the fashion died out. It was still worn in 1960, but in a much lower and less dangerous form.

In the late 1950’s, lower squat heels began to rival the stiletto, which had reached staggering heights. Flatties with no heel and a flimsy sole were also popular, but mostly for indoors or for wear with trousers.

The spool heel, so called because of its resemblance to a thread spool, was very popular in 1952, and although its large diameter went out of fashion quickly, the circular heel shape remained.

The court shoe also remained, though it was cut very low at the sides and top of the foot, and was almond toed. Gradually, these almond shapes became more pointed, but by 1958, Dior cut the point off these shoes completely to produce the new wedge shape.

In 1955, Givinchy introduced a new shaped court shoe cut straight across the instep, and called it the opera pump. This pump had a lower heel and a wider toe.

Sandals and mules were still important in the 1950’s. In 1951 the mules and sling back sandals showed the heel of the foot.

At the beginning of the decade, colour and fabric were of little importance to shoe fashion. Shape was everything. The fabric was usually a smooth leather or soft suede in black or brown. For evening, colours were brighter and the uppers were usually of satin.

In 1954, a craze for all things Oriental hit the west, and Turkish slippers in deep hues appeared. These were often embroidered and decorated with gold beads. Though the craze quickly died, the colours and fabrics of the 1955 lines show how influential the mood had been.

For schoolgirls, the Mary Jane was a very popular style. The shoe had a low heel, and usually had an ankle strap.