Saddle shoes. If James Dean wore them, they must be cool.
I have always loved saddle shoes. Those white & black leather loafers that have been around since the 1920s - well before sneakers were fashionable.
Originally black and white, Spalding, the sporting goods company, claims it made the original saddle oxford as a gym shoe for tennis, field hockey, fencing and badminton. They were made with an 'overlaying saddle to give additional strength at the point of stress' (aka, the instep).
In World War II, brown & white saddles became popular when the black dye for the leather was hard to find.
In the 1950s, saddle shoes surged in popularity. They were commonly worn by both girls & boys from that time through the 1960s, the girls often being referred to as 'bobby-soxers'.
Today, saddle shoes can be found in a rainbow of colors, and we have just brought in a gentleman's pair from G.H. Bass & Co.