Saturday, April 17, 2021


Well, their white bucks

And saddle shoes

That's the style

That's makin' the news

Ivy league at all at best

In the north and the south

And the east and the west

Getting ready to go steady

Are white bucks and saddle shoes

Getting ready to go steady

Are Joe's white bucks

And Mary's saddle shoes

1958 | "White Bucks and Saddle Shoes" (excerpt)
Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman

1947 | High-School Fads
Photograph: Ed Clark
Source: LIFE | November 17, 1947


Recently at Griffith Institute, a new style has been instigated. This style is the wearing of saddle shoes. Saddle shoes, for those who don't remember them, are black and white oxford-type shoes that tie like sneakers, and for many of us, were a low point in social fashion. They were, in mother's own words, "sensible, healthy shoes." 

They weren't, however, in most children's words, "stylish." (At that time, one needed patient leather shoes to be considered fashionable.) Now the tables are reversed, and saddle shoes are becoming the rage. What should one do about this ironic twist of fate? Why, go out and buy a pair of saddle shoes, and bring them home and ask your mother: “aren’t they neat?”

Linda Burke
Buffalo courier Express | January 28, 1967

1948 | Saddle Shoes & Roller Skates at Palo Alto, CA
Source: LIFE Magazine | June 21, 1948

She proudly showed me some black and white saddle shoes. Oh, my. They were hideous, in my opinion I felt hot tears stinging my eyes, and I stood there not knowing what to say. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but neither did I want t wear those shoes.

... Ma said she was leaving the shoes on top of my dresser. She was sure they would grow on me. I felt sick to my stomach each time I looked at those shoes, knowing I was going to have to wear them.

Lesson learned: is this where I learned that what I said or thought didn't matter? Or am I just super sensitive?

Yvonne Grady
From: My Hometown Was the Backseat of a Car (Balboa Press, 2017)

1999 | Celebrate The Century - 1950s
Set of fifteen stamps issued May 26, 1999

The big girls, seventh and eighth graders, would bring their favourite records to school, and the Sisters of St. Agnes - nuns - supplied a record player! Yes, they did - and I remind you that this was St. Mary's Catholic Grade School.

Believe it or not, almost all the girls (never the boys) danced to rock and roll every lunch hour. In fourth grade, I had "rock-and-roll saddle shoes." They were white with a black saddle-shoe band that came to a point on either side of the laces, and the sole were soft and smooth - perfect for dancing.

From: Penny Loafers & Bobby Pins. Tales and Tips From Growing Up In The ’50s and ’60s. (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2010)

Eve Arnold | The Fifties. Photographs Of America
(Pantheon Books, 1985)


The picture "High-School Fads" (first one on top) is also available at Getty Images but it is placed out of context. They don't explain that it was a fad among the teenagers which had fun swapping one shoe. 

This happens quite often with historical photographs and it's a pity because Getty Images manages the complete LIFE Picture Collection, hence they should know. In other words, you pay full price for half the picture.

Various Artists
Dancing Shoes Volume One
Auto Change Records