Resources / Centuries and Decades / 1930s


After the crash at the New York stock exchange Great Depression swept over the world, resulting in unemployment and lack of money. Frivolity and luxury in clothes and footwear have given way severe practicality. However the reason was not only dire straits, but also a certain tribute of the present: cubism, art deco preferred geometrical lines, and design decisions of influential architects have pushed the idea of functionality to the foreground.

Apparently, going to rack and ruin in the reckless turmoil of the twenties, debilitated and collapsed just like dollar exchange rate, the society has rushed to the other extremity.. The thirties have made moderation and care for one’s health in fashion again. They became the main components in arrangement of everyday life and creation of image. The silhouette became more elegant, well balanced and slender. Clothes were chosen on the basis of rationality and cleanliness of cut lines. Quality of material had extremely great importance.

The design of footwear followed the general logic of the decade. Comfort became the determining argument when deciding on the shoes. Narrow long toecaps of the twenties, became more round and wide, leaving more space for normal distribution of toes. Heels became lower and steadier, having fully disappeared on sandals and sports footwear after 1934. Slippers with rubber sole and linen top have become fashionable and appeared to be very practical. Low boots laced up to an anklebone started to be worn on the streets.

Sandals, first intended as beachwear, soon started to be worn for parties, and by the end of decade they were worn even during the day. New open style has slightly changed even the classical pumps. In the front they acquired a small cut opening the toes, and open heel was secured by a strap. Despite the strong opposition and criticism of arbitrators of good taste represented by editors of fashion magazines, this footwear had unbelievable success with women.

In the second half of the decade new unusual forms of heel have appeared: platform and wedges. They had all the advantages of comfort and practicality and opened opportunities to be decorated. Platforms and wedges were covered with fabric or leather, finished with embroidery, decorated with beads and rhinestones.
Suede was one of the most widespread materials for shoe uppers. It was frequently combined with natural and patent leather. Evening shoes were made of crepe de chine and satin. Kid leather still remained the most practical and elegant material, and the shoes of exotic leathers, like antelope, snakes and lizards demonstrated glamour and luxury. The fashion of the 30s was leaning to quiet colour resolutions, with the only concession made for the elegant shoes. Brown, black and pastel colors were characteristic for everyday footwear. Only on the eve of the war there was a sudden explosion of bright colours: crimson, green, dark blue, rust colours appeared everywhere. Black was the color of the decade; gold and silver details appeared on evening shoes. In the 30s boots have disappeared from the fashion field of man's footwear. A more prosperous public was wearing brogues, and people with modest means were content with "combi". For the first time loafers appeared in man's footwear fashion. For active leisure in the open air, men wore sandals.