Types of Women's Shoes in the 1920s

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Types of Women's Shoes in the 1920s
Shoes in the 1920s featured sturdy heels. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Women's shoes with closed toes and heels were famous in the 1920s. All footwear came with thick, sturdy heel styles, much different from contemporary thin stilettos. Daytime and evening shoes came in similar styles but with different fabrics and heel height. Around the same decade, high French fashion introduced the split upper shoes, a style featuring the toe covering separate from the heel covering, which became popular in mainstream American fashion much later on.

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Basic Types

The three dress shoe styles popular in the 1920s include the pump, a low-cut, closed shoe without straps or fastenings; the Mary Jane, similar to the pumps but with ankle straps; and the T-strap, similar to the Mary Janes, except that the straps form a letter T. Shoes with straps were popular because women could dance in them without worrying about the shoes slipping off.

Evening Dress Shoes

Evening shoes typically featured pointed toes and either curved heels, called the "Louis heel," or blocked heels, called "Cuban heel." Heel height usually ranged from 2 to 2 1/2 inches. The later half of the decade gave way to more rounded toes. Popular fabrics included velvet, silk satin, lace and brocade over a leather base.

Daytime Dress Shoes

Women commonly wore dress shoes made of more durable fabrics such as leather and silk faille for daytime. Heels were from as low as 1 inch up to 2 1/2 inches. Low-heeled Mary Janes were usually worn with more casual, daytime attire, to allow for a more comfortable movement.

Colours and Accessories

The basic black as well as metallic or pastel colours and bright silks were in fashion throughout the 1920s. Some shoes featured embroidery, beading or shoe clips. Wearing shoes with heels in a contrasting colour or embellished with rhinestones or patterns was considered fashionable.

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