Ladies' vintage shoes are so lovely I decided to catalogue the best examples sold at Fab Fings. Sourcing vintage shoes is a bittersweet thing for me as, despite them often being serious cute and well made with amazing attention to detail, as all too often the brand and factory has closed down, leaving me feeling the loss. When I compare the shoes on offer today with the vintage shoes I source, the latter wins hands and feet down! Excellent materials, beautiful designs, not cripplingly high, good arch support, long-lasting and made in England or Italy usually, compared to synthetic mass-produced ugliness made in China. How and why was this allowed to happen?
The ladies vintage shoes above are from the 70s or 80s and are by Roland Cartier.
Leather outer, leather insole, leather lined (apart from the heel) and leather outer sole.
Such quality! They were made in Italy.
The ladies vintage court shoes above are from the 70s or 80s and are by Evan-Picone.
Leather outer, leather lined, leather insole, leather heels and leather outer sole too. Incredible attention to detail and so much better than today's standards!
They were made in Spain. Evan-Picone was founded by Charles Evans who sold the business to Revlon in 1962, bought it back four years later and then sold it to Jones Apparel Group.
The ladies' vintage shoes above are probably from the 80s and are by Ravel.
They are made of leather and have a hard plastic sole with no grip, so perfect for dancing. Most shoes today have lots of grip on the soles so do not make the best dance shoes. These shoes also have a low heel relative to today's standards: dancing might well have been in mind when designing them!
Ravel was founded in 1934 in England and was known for making good quality yet affordable footwear that was different to the other major manufacturers of the day. The business was sold to Clarks in 1967 and finally closed down in 2007. It's demise was put down to the relocation of the head offices from London to Somerset, the workforce not being instep with the latest trends of the capital.
The ladies' vintage shoes above were made by Holmes of Norwich, England.
Made from red patent leather with red suede bows. No outer sole grip so excellent for dancing, as were most vintage party shoes. All leather lined too! This was the standard in the past but such quality would cost a fortune nowadays. These shoes were made by one of the last major shoe makers in England. A piece of history!
Some exerts from an interesting article on Holmes by the Eastern Daily Press:
In 1966 600 workers were treated to a night out at the Norwich Theatre Royal to see My Fair Lady to celebrate the fact they had made 900 pairs of shoes for the production.
...the industry was torn to pieces by cheap imports, recessions and other factors. Today it is a shadow of its former self but we can still be proud of the shoe-makers which remain. They do not include Edwards & Holmes, sadly. Its factory closed in 1990.
Read more of the article here.
The ladies' vintage shows above were made by Timpson. They have a leather outer and leather insole. These 20s style shoes have very good arch support, which is very unusual in today's shoe, which all seem to be made for flat-footed people. Flat soled shoes must be cheap to make!
Timpson was founded in 1865 by shoemaker William Timpson and his brother-in-law Walter Joyce. They started out, selling and repairing footwear, in a small shop on Oldham Road in Manchester. Later on, the company moved to Kettering and then to Wythenshawe in Manchester. Timpson is now only a shoe repair business having sold the shoe making side to George Oliver in the 80s.
Ladies' vintage 1970s high heeled and slightly platform gold sparkly disco shoes. These are original 70s and not repro and were made by Nite-Aires in England. Very rare indeed!
The above ladies vintage shoes are Carvela high heeled shoes in emerald green velvet. The velvet has a faint swirly pattern imprinted into it.
The ladies vintage shoes above are 70s Clarks high heeled disco shoes in dusky pink. Rhinestone clasps, padded insoles, leather soles, satin fabric outer trimmed with velvet. Gorgeous shoes!
See what ladies vintage shoes are in stock at Fab Fings by clicking HERE.
The History is British Shoe Manufacturing
The history of British shoe manufacturing can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when Northampton became a center for shoemaking. The town was located on the Great North Road, which made it a convenient stopping place for travelers, and it also had a plentiful supply of water for tanning leather.
By the 18th century, Northampton was the largest shoemaking center in England, and its products were exported all over the world. The industry continued to grow in the 19th century, with the development of new technologies such as the sewing machine and the Goodyear Welt.
However, the British shoe industry began to decline in the 20th century, as cheaper imports from other countries became available. Many British shoe factories closed down, and the industry is now a shadow of its former self.
Despite the decline, there are still a number of British shoemakers who produce high-quality shoes. These shoes are often made from traditional materials such as leather and suede, and they are often handcrafted by skilled craftsmen.
Some of the most famous British shoemakers include:
These shoemakers produce a wide range of styles, from classic Oxfords and Derbys to more contemporary designs. Their shoes are often worn by celebrities and royalty, and they are considered to be some of the best in the world.
The British shoe industry has a long and proud history, and its products continue to be enjoyed by people all over the world.