Stepping out in the 1970s meant donning a pair of shoes from a wide selection of styles that ranged from the conservative to the trend of-the-moment style of male footwear preferences. From platforms to chukka boots, men had the option to express their style vividly through shoes that were designed to impress, surprise--and sometimes just get them from one place to the next with promise of relaxed comfort.
Men wore classic oxfords for more formal occasions or a conservative business look. Many styles featured solid white or black uppers or spectator (two-tone) colour schemes in brown and white leather. The basic oxford came just below the ankle and featured eyelet tabs that were stitched under the vamp (upper portion) of the shoe. Brogue patterns (decorative serrations) were also popular on oxford shoes and came in a variety of designs from a single line of serration to more elaborate patterns for wingtip shoes. Many oxford styles featured a high platform heel, such as the style John Travolta wore in Saturday Night Fever.
Men began wearing platform shoes and boots in 1970 and exaggerated styles were popularised by musicians such as David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. Platform shoes featured a thick midsole that was typically manufactured from cork, wood or leather. The sole was covered with material matching the leather uppers, which gave the shoe its solid and chunky appearance.
Platform shoes were typically laced at the vamp and boot styles featured a side zipper closure. Styles were featured in a large variety of subdued as well as bold colours, giving men the opportunity to make a short-lived fashion statement with their shoes. Platforms diminished in style by the late 1970s.
Chukka boots appeared in the 1950s but remained popular through the 1970s as a comfortable yet stylish boot for less formal occasions. Chukka boots were usually sueded camel-colour leather and laced up to the ankles with two rows of eyelets. Thick rubber soles gave the boot stability and comfortable cushioning, making it a popular casual-wear choice for boys and men.
High-top canvas sneakers in red, white or black with rubber soles and tennis-shoe laces were a classic that came back in the 1970s. Most styles featured a logo patch on the side for brand appeal. Worn on the basketball courts as well as for everyday casual occasions, the popularity of the high-top sneaker has endured as a classic shoe that makes a statement for laid-back comfort with style.
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