Saddle Shoes


saddle-shortsAs a little boy, I wore navy and white saddle shoes. Since then, I have owned several different variations on the saddle, usually of the dirty bucks persuasion.

The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion defines the saddle oxford or saddle shoe as a “sport or school shoe usually made of white buck calf with a brown or black leather “saddle” shaped section over the middle of the shoe. Usually made with rubber soles, it has been a basic style since the 1920s, very popular in the 1940s, and still worn.”

Until seeing these photos, I associated the white saddle shoe with toddlers in sailor suits, cheerleaders in bobby socks, and Cybil Shepherd’s Jacey in The Last Picture Show. Now, thanks to The Pursuit Aesthetic, I want a pair of the whites.

Here are a few variations on the theme:

bass G.H. Bass


Alyasha Owerka-Moore for Adidas Originals

red-brick-soulRed Brick Soul by Mark McNairy


  1. trip
    March 1, 2009

    Saddles were featured pretty prominently in Ralph Lauren’s stuff last spring/summer. I think white with navy saddle is pretty great. The key here, I believe, is socklessness.

  2. Memphis88
    March 1, 2009

    I really like the Red Brick Soul versions. I agree with Trip about the socklessness. I try to be sockless as much as possible, though.

  3. Memphis88
    March 1, 2009

    Just saw J Crew has some good-looking ones too.

  4. Richard
    March 1, 2009

    I have a two pairs of Ralph Lauren’s Saddle Shoes and wear them all the time ,but with socks.I would like to get a pair of Red Brick Soul Saddle Shoes .Where can I buy them.

  5. plaidout
    March 1, 2009

    Richard, that is a great question. According to ACL, your best bet is to request your local purveyor of menswear to stock them.

    Memphis, who was it that said “Give me socklessness or give me death?” Oh right, that was me. Ankle it!

    Trip, one key is the socklessness. Another key is the heavy cuff. And still another key is the Joaquin-ready beard the model sports.

    March 2, 2009

    Any of the khaki on brown colorways don’t seem soda-shop-ish enough to properly get the wink of the look across.

    If you’re gonna saddle up, the Audrey Horne-like black/dark blue on white seems the boldest choice for a guy right about now.


  7. wecouldgrowup2gether
    March 3, 2009

    now u make me want a pair, to go with short shorts. please come now, spring

  8. plaidout
    March 4, 2009

    Will, I agree.

    And Mr. 2gether, I am looking forward to spring’s arrival also, but I’m fairly certain my inseam won’t rise above 9″ this summer. Just a guess.

  9. Brad
    March 6, 2009

    Those look great. I think I may have to pick up a pair this year.

  10. plaidout
    March 6, 2009

    Brad, let me know what you decide. I’m still on the fence. The price has to be right, methinks.

  11. east side bride
    March 7, 2009

    Saw a few pairs of plain white bucks at Footsie’s last night. (No socks.)

    And loafers. I’m not feeling the loafers.

  12. […] lady-like for a beat or two, then suddenly shifted to seeming droll and dapper for dudes as well. All Plaid Out then swiftly laid out three saddle shoe options and I’ve been Froogling and e-baying other […]

  13. Richard J
    March 15, 2009

    I own 4 pairs of RL saddles, which seem to be the best quaility you can get today. I also own 2 pairs of Alden saddles – black and white and brown and white – that I got in the early 80s in a store in Princeton, NJ. They were a stock item in the store but they were custom ordered by the owner and they are true classics built on the same last as the dress saddles sold by Alden today. Unfortnately, we’ll probably never see them again in the white versions.

  14. plaidout
    March 16, 2009

    Richard, if you provided some photos, I think we could all benefit from a look at your saddles. The Aldens sound like a must-see!

  15. […] response to my post on Saddle Shoes was […]

  16. Richard
    March 28, 2009

    Too, all you can find R.L. saddle shoes on discount at half price at Grapevinehill discount shoes & boots. hope this help someone here.

  17. Alex
    March 29, 2009

    Try Muffy’s! I’m about to order from them now, but seems like the best deal for a variety of straightforward, old-fashioned saddle shoes.

  18. parker stahura
    April 20, 2009

    how do you buy these exact saddles. ive been looking for a light tan with a dark brown and a redish sole, with those thin laces. Where could i buy these.

  19. Richard
    April 22, 2009

    Try, Muffy’s

  20. Richard
    April 22, 2009

    Parker Stahura ,take a look at the beige & Brown (aka) soap& saddle with Red crepe sole #sm-108 Price$99.00 at Muffy’s

  21. Tim
    January 8, 2010

    Those classics are a great look on the model above. The modern variations don’t do it for me, really. I just ran across Muffy’s saddle-shoes website myself and am about to place my first order with them. After checking out vintage pictures and old pairs from antique shops, they seem to be dead-on to the originals.

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