Through the Decades: Men’s Shoes

This week marks our final week of Men’s Fashion Month. Saving the best for last, we will be focusing on the various styles of shoes throughout the decades!


Men’s shoes were definitely more of a fashion statement the further back in time we go. Shoes with heels up to an inch high were popular but have since declined as a whole. Below is a guide of the most popular shoe style for each decade.

1800s through the early 1900s, Victorian men sported laced derby style shoes with a heel. To help keep mud off of their socks, spatter guards “spats” were worn and attached to the shoe.

By the 1920s and 30s, men most commonly sported two toned oxford shoes especially in brown or other neutral colors along with black and white. They were originally made with leather but are now made from a variety of materials such as canvas and suede. You can distinguish an oxford shoe from other similar appearing shoe styles by looking at the laces. If they are closed laces (bringing the center fully together), they are oxford shoes.




In the 1940s, oxfords continued in popularity, and some designs started to become more formal. Saddle shoes were popular and were a more casual version of the oxford that generally sported a lower heel.


The desert boot became the shoe of the ’50s, particularly worn by younger generations. They originated off of chukka boots which were worn by polo players. Desert boots most often were made of suede and had rubber soles. They were made popular by a UK shoe company, C. & J. Clark and introduced to the rest of the world at the 1949 Chicago Shoe Fair.



In the 1960s, the Chelsea boot with elastic on the sides and rounded toe became a hit. This boot was made popular by the Beatles and came in a large variety of styles. Chelsea boots were made close-fitting and ankle high with elastic along the side. The name stems from their popularity in the UK and association with King’s Road, a street in Chelsea, London.

In the 1970s, the platform shoe became popular and acceptable for men to wear. The thick wedged soles and extremely high heel made them stand out from the previous style of shoes. These were worn by both men and a heel version was worn by women.

Doc Martens were more acceptable to wear on the street for more fashion-conscious individuals by the 1980s. Originally created by Klaus Märtens, a doctor in the German Army during WWII. In 1945, he injured his ankle while skiing and found that his army boots were too uncomfortable for his injured foot. He decided to improve the boots with soft leather and air padded soles. 4 decades later, they became high in fashion, particularly in various colors and with yellow laces. 


There are unlimited variations of shoes today, just as there were back then. Many take on their own unique style and pattern. Stop by Most Everything Vintage today to see the great variety of men’s shoes we have on display!

Thanks for reading!




Categories: Features by SarahTags: , , , , , , , ,

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