If you’re a big fan of vintage clothing items, then you’re probably already aware of how important choosing the right shoe to complete your look can be.
For example, if you’ve found yourself the most gorgeous, authentic 1940’s dress, you’ll want to make sure that you match it well with a pair of Mary Jane’s reminiscent of the decade.
It can, however, be difficult to locate vintage shoes online, more so than general clothing items.
This is because true vintage shoes are actually difficult to find, and so many of us will rely on retro reproductions to create our dream look.
There are, however, lots of beautiful vintage looking shoes out there to suit every decade. Whether you’re looking for a pair of kitten heels, or chunky platforms, we’ve got some beautiful shoes listed for you below,
Simply keep reading to find out more.
The History Of Women’s Shoes
Before we dive right into some of our very best shoe selections, first, let’s take a little look at some of the history behind women’s shoes throughout the decades.
Beginning with the 1920s, womens shoes became increasingly fashionable. We’re thinking of the kinds of shoes that you might find in a Gasby party, with lots of glitz and glam.
Women from this decade would typically have two distinctive types of shoes, those which would be worn in the daytime, and those that would be worn during the nighttime.
Bar shoes and pumps were often worn during the day, and would traditionally come in plainer colors such as browns and beige.
During the nighttime however, women would wear what we would now recognize as Mary Janes.
These strapped shoes were incredibly comfortable to wear to parties during the evening, where the women planned on doing some dancing.
Because during this century, women were just being freed from the constraints of long, corseted dresses, the fact that people were able to see their shoes under their skirts for the first time was a pretty big deal.
This meant that evening shoes became more and more glamorous, and would often either be gold or silver in color. The material of the evening shoes was incredibly luxurious, and would often be made of satin.
Sometimes embellishments and fringes were made on the shoes to compliment the women’s dresses.
By the 1940’s, these glamorous shoes weren’t worn at all anymore, and women had to sacrifice luxury for practicality.
During this period in time, where women were expected to take on many of the roles previously fulfilled by men, high heels were limited to only being a few inches high.
The shoes worn during this period were what we would call Oxfords or Brogues. Although considered to be highly fashionable today, these were worn purely for practical purposes during the decade.
During the 1960’s, we gradually began to see the rise of the stiletto heel, and women’s shoes became higher than ever. By the 1970’s, we had the famous platform boots that are still adored today.
The 1980’s toned down this fashion trend, and the heels went through a period of getting smaller once again. During this decade, kitten heels were favored by many shoppers, along with a pair of nylon tights to complete the look.
7 Beautiful Vintage Women’s Shoes
Now that we’ve taken a brief look at the history of women’s shoes, we can move on to take a look at some of the beautiful shoes on the market today that are inspired by these decades.
Keep reading to find your perfect vintage shoe.
1. Flapper Shoes
If you’re making your way to a Gatsby party anytime soon, then you’ll definitely need to pick up a pair of flapper shoes.
We love the ones in the image above, as they’re actually pretty historically accurate as far as things go, as well as being beautiful.
These shoes are in the Mary Jane style, which is what many women of the decade would really wear on an evening out. They also come in a beautiful gold color, which was super popular during the decade.
We’re loving the embellishments on these shoes, as well as the little rhinestone on the strap. Wear shoes like these ones to complete your flapper look, and get yourself Gatsby ready.
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more set in the 1930s and 40s, why not pick up a pair of brogues.
These go well with a whole host of different styles, including trousers and a cardigan, as well as some beautiful day dresses.
Real women in the 1940s could be seen wearing brogues, as they were incredibly practical for conducting the men’s jobs they had now taken over.
You can truly play these shoes up or down, and they’ll go with just about anything. The ones here feature a multi-colored effect that we absolutely adore.
When selecting a vintage heel, you really can’t go wrong with a pair of pumps, they’re pretty much essential for creating the perfect vintage look.
Some of the best colors are just plain and simple too, like these black and white ones.
These truly look like something that Marilyn Monroe might have worn out to dinner, and they give us all of those true vintage vibes.
They’re made of PU material, which also helps to give them that glossy, vintage finish.
These would go great with a pepper blouse and pencil skirt, or a swing dress. The choice is entirely up to you.
4. Bow Tie Shoe
If you’re looking for more of a modern vintage look, why not take a look at these heels, which have been inspired by boots from the 1960s.
They reflect the boldness of the decade, with their super beautiful muted red color.
They do however, have a little bit of a modern twist in terms of their construction, and have a tapered high heel along with soft upper leather material.
We honestly think that shoes like these would go great with most things, whether you’re using them to complete your already vintage ensemble, or you just want to spruce up a simple outfit that includes a pair of jeans.
If you want to go for something incredibly daring and chic, why not pick up a pair of platform boots inspired by the 1970s. These have become increasingly popular in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why.
They’re the ultimate going out shoe, in our opinion, and can work well with so many different outfits.
Not to mention the fact that platform heels come in so many different colors, so you can match them perfectly to whatever outfit you decide to wear.
Our favorite, however, is the classic white platform heel. This is probably the most vintage looking of the whole bunch, and is also neutral enough to be able to pair it with lots of different clothing items.
Despite the fact that they’re super tall, they’re actually a super comfortable heel to wear purely because they’re so chunky. They provide your feet with all the support they need to boogie all night long.
6. Kitten Heels
Kitten heels are such an iconic pair of shoes in terms of fashion history. Just seeing these shoes makes us feel as though we’re a high powered business woman on Wall Street in the 1980s.
If you want to pick up a pair of shoes to give your regular office attire a vintage feel, then invest in a good pair of kitten heels.
Because they’re not super high, they’re also incredibly comfortable to wear all day, which makes them perfect for a work environment.
If that’s not your vibe, you could choose a more colorful pair and feel like the 1980’s teenager you’ve always longed to be. Kitten heels come in a vast array of different styles and colors, making them super easy to style.
Some of the most vintage looking ones come with a bow situated on the front, which we think is absolutely adorable.
7. Dr Martens Boots
If looking a little edgier is your thing, then you definitely need to pick up a pair of Dr Martens. These shoes have become iconic in fashion history, and complete any grunge based look.
When we see these shoes, they immediately make us feel like we wish we were at a Kurt Cobain concert.
There are so many different styles of vintage shoes out there, and choosing the right one is integral when trying to create your dream retro look.
If you’re into the 1920s, try a pair of Mary Janes, or if the 1950s is more your era, you can’t go wrong with brogues.
The 1960s and 70s are the decade of the platform heel, so dream big when shopping for this decade.
Finally, if the 80s is more your groove, you can’t go wrong with a pair of kitten heels.
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