Vintage Shoe Fashion

"These boots were made for walking" - and so were the shoes. But they also were made to be fashionable in their time. See more...


From foot binding in China to the Inuit's sealskin boots - decorated with vertical patterns for men and horizontal patterns for women, foot coverings have varied widely throughout cultures and time. But no matter what the culture or the era, most societies have used a type of shoe (from sandals through high heels) to protect their feet. The use of shoes is thousands of years old.

Some interesting shoe facts:

  • Heels were first introduced in the 1590's - at an inch high. By the mid 1600's, women's heels were 2 - 3 inches high.


  • During the reign of Louis XIV, red heels could only be worn at court - giving rise, throughout Europe, to the "power" status of the color red.


  • In the 18th century, as skirts inched up to the ankles, high heels on women became of erotic interest. At the same time, for practical reasons, the heels of men's shoes became lower - under an inch.


  • By the end of the 17th century, buckles had replaced ribbons laces for practical reasons.


  • Ankle boots - called demi-boots or half boots - came into vogue in the 1800's because of the popularity of "pedestrianism," women walking for exercise.


  • In the latter 1800's, due to an interest in Asian cultures, embroidered silks were used on shoes.


  • At the beginning of the 20th century, shoes became less interesting. Black, brown, and white footwear predominated until the 1920s. Colored footwear was generally worn only with evening dresses.


  • In the 1930's, shoe makers became (fashion) designers and shoes - especially for women - became really interesting. Spectators, oxfords, pumps, sandals, brogues, platforms . . . the designs and materials became endless.



Today, shoes are a great expression of individual taste and can be coordinated with any personal style. But what was popular in the past can be adapted to today - and with the advent of photography we are lucky enough to be able to see what was popular in days gone by.

A photo of an unknown girl 121 - front
Added Dec 29, 2015 by: Drenda Medina
Drenda Medina
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A photo of an unknown woman named "Bessie" - 139 - front
Added Dec 29, 2015 by: Drenda Medina
Drenda Medina
341 favorites
A photo of an unknown girl - 149
Added Dec 29, 2015 by: Drenda Medina
Drenda Medina
341 favorites
A photo of an unknown woman - 185
Added Dec 29, 2015 by: Drenda Medina
Drenda Medina
341 favorites
A photo of an unknown couple - 223
Added Dec 29, 2015 by: Drenda Medina
Drenda Medina
341 favorites
A photo of my mother's older sister, Aunt Rose Finkel, as a flapper, in the 1920's, NYC. I colorized this photo in Photoshop.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
A photo of Maria Poirson Carbonell
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Dec 28, 1904 - Oct 17, 1988 1904 - 1988
A photo of Maria Poirson Carbonell with a doll. Maria was dressed in black because her mother had died recently.
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Dec 28, 1904 - Oct 17, 1988 1904 - 1988
A photo of Theodore & Fanny Meta (Janssen) Roos on their wedding day.
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Feb 4, 1891 - Jun 6, 1958 1891 - 1958
A photo of Albert Schekoske and Emma (Marquardt) Schekoske
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Oct 1, 1903 - Sep 29, 1981 1903 - 1981
Added Jul 24, 2015 by: Stuart Steele
Stuart Steele
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A photo of Nonnie Emma McWherter (1926 - 2008)
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Apr 11, 1926 - Jul 26, 2008 1926 - 2008
Added Mar 11, 2015 by: RTedd Carlsen
RTedd Carlsen
3 favorites
A photo of Annie Jacobs and cousin Gertie Fritz in a Christmas Pageant, Cedarville, Modoc County, CA. Costumes made by her mother a former dressmaker in France.
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Jan 19, 1889 - Sep 25, 1988 1889 - 1988
A photo of William Russ and Louise Maurer Russ, NJ. Written on back "Before Marriage", Louise Maurer and William Russ, Palasades area, NJ- no date anywhere. This photo was in an antique store at Historic Savage Mills- lower level, Maryland. 2015.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Feb 8, 2015 by: Suzanne Farabaugh
Suzanne Farabaugh
106 favorites
Vera Thamer, High school graduation photo, Jackson Michigan
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Apr 12, 2012 by: Christian Thamer
Christian Thamer
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A photo of Ione (or Jone) Wood as a little girl
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Sep 6, 2015 by: Margie Campbell
Margie Campbell
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Woman modelling dresses: A frock of Moon Glo Satin B
A photo of Rose Elizabeth Burton
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Jul 29, 1866 - Jul 2, 1915 1866 - 1915
Added Aug 14, 2015 by: Alan Doig
Alan Doig
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I’ve “rescued” an old photograph of Oluf JOHNSON’S children including Jessie, Ivah, and Geneva JOHNSON. The photograph was taken in the early 1900’s with the three children likely about 4-7 years old at the time the photograph was taken. The photograph is of 2 girls and a boy with the boy appearing to be the oldest. There is no studio or location identified on the photograph though it was recovered in Washington State. I’m hoping to locate someone from this JOHNSON Family so that the photograph can be returned to the care of family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Oct 5, 2017 by: Shelley Cardiel
Shelley Cardiel
607 favorites
A photo of Helen Marie LaFevers, born 03 Jun 1900 Mcalester, Pittsburg, Oklahoma, USA married to Frank Samuel King. Beulah Myrtle Floyd born 16 Apr 1897 in Salem, Fulton County, Arkansas, USA, died 26 Jan 1984 Carmichael Convalescent, Carmichael, California, USA married Fred Jack Haynes. Grace Alene Claxton, born 08 Jan 1913 Salem, Fulton County, Arkansas, USA, died 07 Mar 2002 Selah, Yakima, Washington, United States of America married to Loyce Mack Gabbard. Helen was Ruth May Price's niece. Ruth May Price was married to Robert "Bob" Newton Floyd, who was Beulah Myrtle Floyd's brother.
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Jun 3, 1900 - Unknown 1900 - ?
Added Jun 2, 2007 by: Cynthia Gabbard
Cynthia Gabbard
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A photo of Rita Hayworth campaigning for the recycling of scrap metal in World War Two. A large part of the home front war effort in World War Two was saving scrap metal that could be recycled into weapons for the war (also used for ships and aircraft). The caption on this photo from the National Archives says that Rita Hayworth "sacrificed her bumpers for the duration" (of the war). Rita Hayworth was a big movie star at the time and she also helped sell war bonds - her two younger brothers were both in the War. Most of Hollywood was involved in the war effort, either through promoting home front campaigns such as Victory Gardens, buying war bonds, rationing, or collecting scrap metal, or by service in the War overseas. Margarita Carmen Cansino was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1918. She changed her name to Rita Hayworth for the stage and eventually was named one of the top 25 female motion picture stars of all time. Married and divorced 5 times (once to Orson Wells), her life was plagued with alcoholism. Later in life, she was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and died at the age of 68 in 1987.
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Oct 17, 1918 - May 14, 1987 1918 - 1987
Added Jan 31, 2012 by: Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna
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The firstborn in the family of Samuel Jackson Lewis & Martha Love Barker was my Aunt Belle. She was named for her Aunt Mary Barker French. The hoop in this picture were very common toys in the old days. A peddler came through Lake Tahoe when my son Pieter was a boy & I bought one for him and he grew up running along spinning the iron hoop.
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Mar 18, 1867 - Unknown 1867 - ?
Added Mar 14, 2002 by: Bethel Holmes
Bethel Holmes
419 favorites
We had an antique store close recently and I "rescued" it, trying to find where it belongs. If anyone should recognize this lady, please let me know. Thank you.
Added Aug 12, 2018 by: Karen Peterson
Karen Peterson
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Woman modeling a frock of Du-Bel in 919
I've "rescued" two old photographs belonging to the THOMAS Family of St. Louis, Missouri. The first is one of James, Albert D., and Nellie THOMAS which was taken at the Strauss Studio in St. Louis. The photograph appears to have been taken in the 1880's with the three children appearing to be about 2-8 years old at the time. On the back of the photograph along with their names it says that they are the children of Albert D. THOMAS and Emma Roseline THOMAS (nee STECLE). The birthdays for each are noted as James Nov 01; Albert Jan 06; and Nellie May 27; and not shown in the photo is Emma Bernice b. Jul 19 who was not born at the time of this photograph. The second photograph is one of Albert Daniel THOMAS Jr. which was taken at the same studio in St. Louis, MO sometime in the 1880's with Albert appearing to be about 4 years old at the time it was taken. Based on limited research I was able to locate the following census records for this family: 1900 census of St. Louis, MO: Emma THOMAS, age 40, born Apr 1860, a widow, 4 children/4 living, born KY, parents born England/NY Nellie THOMAS, dau, age 21, born May 1880, born IN, parents born Canada/KY, an Actress Albert D. THOMAS, son, age 16, born Jan 1884, born MI, parents born Canada/KY, a Clerk Emma B. THOMAS, dau, age 9, born Jul 1890, born CA, parents born Canada/KY, at School 1910 census of Detroit, MI: Emma THOMAS, age 46, a widow, 4 children/3 living, born KY, parents born England/NY Albert D. THOMAS, son, age 25, married 7 years, born MI, parents born Canada/KY, a Brass Locks Salesman Maud THOMAS, dau-in-law, age 25, 1 child/none living, married 7 years, born IL, parents born NJ Bernice THOMAS, dau, age 18, born CA, parents born Canada/KY, a Confectionery Saleslady Nellie REDNER, dau, age 27, married 8 years, 1 child/1 living, born IN, parents born Canada/KY, a Stage Actress Frank L. REDNER, son-in-law, age 36, married 8 years, born MI, parents born NY/MI, a Stage Actor Frank A. REDNER, grandson, age 6, born MI 1920 census of Detroit, MI: Frank REDNER, age 42 Nellie REDNER, wife, age 37 Frank A. REDNER, son, age 16 1930 census of Detroit, MI: Frank REDNER, age 25, born MI, parents born MI/IN, an Advertising Artist Nellie REDNER, mother, age 49, divorced, bonr IN, parents born MI/KY 1940 census of Detroit, MI: Nellie REDNER, age 60, divorced, born IN Frank REDNER, son, age 36, born MI, a Commercial Motor Corp. Artist I'm hoping to locate someone from this family so that these wonderful old photographs can be returned to the care of family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
A photo of George D. Flinn, taken Dec. 25 1919 at age 3 yrs 5 months
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1916 - Unknown 1916 - ?
Handwritten on the back: "Eric Arnonsson Ohlen (with umlauts above the "O")"...difficult to read the name as it is very small writing. No other info on this young boy. Photo from an antique shop in Snohomish, WA.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Sep 3, 2011 by: Pam Marks
Pam Marks
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Adelaide Hall (born on October 20th, 1901 died November 7th, 1993) performing in the musical Blackbirds of 1928 at the Liberty Theater, New York City. Adelaide Hall of course was a famous actress on Broadway, most notably known for her roles with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in Blackbirds of 1928, and for her part in the Moulin Rouge. She was born in Brooklyn, New York.
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Oct 20, 1901 - Nov 7, 1993 1901 - 1993
Added Sep 6, 2011 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
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A photo of cousin Josie Logsden. Josie was the only relative who knew Aunt Beckie & Aunt Rachel had 2 sons each. She was the daughter of Aunt Margaret Barker & Joseph Logsden. Margaret was widowed from HH Stone. She raised his 2 girls, Justina who married Oran Burnet and America who married Noble Smith. Josie married Frank Rhine & lived in McLeansboro, IL. Her youngest child was Margaret Rhine Hawkins, named for her mother. Josie was very crippled up with arthritis when she wrote me about the Barker history.
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Unknown - Unknown ? - ?
Added Apr 12, 2002 by: Bethel Holmes
Bethel Holmes
419 favorites
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