Shoes for women in the 1930s

Written by sharon secor
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Shoes for women in the 1930s
An example of platform sandals worn in 1938. (Hudson/Valueline/Getty Images)

There were many influences on women's shoe styles in the 1930s. With the Great Depression and the rumblings of a conflict in Europe, the entire world was in the grip of economic struggle and political turmoil. The fantasy and glamour of the movie industry offered a welcome respite, affecting fashion and culture. The Art Deco movement and new concepts of a women's role in society also influenced shoe styles in the 1930s. Many of the styles of that era have enjoyed recurring popularity well into the 21st century.

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Peep-Toed Shoes

Peep-toed shoes, named for the cutout at the tip that offered a peep of the toes, became very popular during the 193's, according to the website Solemates: The Century in Shoes. A daring style for that period of time, peep-toes were typically high heeled and available in a broad range of rich and vibrant colours, reflecting the influence of movie star glamour on shoe fashions.

Platform Shoes

Platform shoes returned to popularity during the 1930s, in designs that were influenced by art, such as the Art Deco movement, and film, as explained by Stephanie Pedersen in her book "Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know." Salvatore Ferragamo and André Perugia were two of the best known designers creating these fanciful, often very futuristic, shoes. Pedersen's book offers beautiful photos of the platform shoes designed for such Hollywood stars as Judy Garland, who sported rainbow heeled platforms that would have fit right into the 1970s platform shoe styles, and Carmen Miranda.


Sandals became fashionable during the 1930s, moving from the beaches to the silver screen, where they were glamorised with high heels and sexy straps before becoming acceptable and popular evening wear. As the decade passed, sandals entered the realm of day wear, with lower heels for comfortable walking.

Wedge Heels

Shoes with this type of heel also became popular in the 1930s because of their balanced and comfortable feel. A number of shoe types, including sandals and peep-toed shoes, feature wedge heels during this era. Shoes of this sort were made of a variety of materials, including leather and cloth, with heels of wood and cork. The lower cost fabric versions were especially appreciated during the difficult economic times experienced during the Great Depression.

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