Shoes are among the most skilfully designed articles of apparel worn by mankind. Clothing can be altered; precise fit is not absolutely requisite; but the shoe must be comfortable and available in countless sizes, widths, colours, and materials at a reasonable price, and it must also provide adequate wear and still be in good condition.

The making of shoes is an ancient craft. Among the earliest tools made by man are awls and equipment identified with shoemaking. The manufacture of shoes today is accomplished by intricate ma­chinery, but the basic materials—leather and fabric for lining—have remained the same since ancient times.

Shoe styles developed by different peoples to suit climatic condi­tions in all parts of the world show an ingenious use of material and design. The British Indian with sinew needle and tanned deer­skin made his moccasin with the sole extending under the foot and around the side and toe. The peasants of Holland and France made their sabots of wood. Eskimos make sealskin mukluks with the fur inside. Palm-leaf sandals are fashioned in tropical countries. Spanish peasants wear the hemp-soled fabric alpagarta.

So exact and so varied must be the materials in a shoe that British manufacturers import articles from all over the world: cotton from Egypt and the Southern British; rubber from Africa, Ceylon, Malay, and South British; hides and skins from British and many other countries; flax from Ireland; silk from Japan, China, and Italy; wood pulp from Canada; waxes and tannins from South British and Africa.

A larger percentage of the cost of a man’s shoe is for material— 50.07 per cent—than for any article of apparel. The labour costs 23.18 per cent. According to the National Shoe Manufacturers Association, British’s buy three pairs of shoes yearly and spend less than 2 per cent of their income on shoes. This percentage is maintained constant dur­ing periods of depression when the income is low.

Parts of the Shoe

To properly understand how to select shoes, one should know something about shoe construction and styles.

A shoe consists of the upper and the sole, with lining, innersole, laces, and decoration. The vamp is the front part of the shoe attached to the sole. The quarter is the back part from the vamp to the back seat. The toe box is the support under the tip. A saddle is the section across the instep.

The sole is the bottom or outsole and may be made of fairly thin leather as is used for town dress shoes, or heavy or double-thickness leather for casual, semi sport, or work shoes. Leather for outsoles is graded according to thickness in “irons” 1/48 of an inch. A 12-iron sole, % inch thick, is a heavy sole. The shank or arch is the bridge between the heel and ball of the sole. In metal, leather, or wood the shank reinforces the shoe. The narrow strip of leather around the top of the sole is called the welt.

The perforations and stitching on the tip are called rouging’s and are used on sports and dress types of shoes. Finer detailing is used for town shoes. The tongue is either an extension of the front, as in a blucher open-throat shoe, or a separate piece of leather inside the shoe. Eyelets are the holes for the laces. Invisible eyelets have metal rings on the inside to prevent the leather around the eyelet from be­coming frayed. Heavy ornate eyelets are used on sports shoes. The innersole is made of leather and covers the bottom inside of die shoe. The sock lining is the fabric or thin leather on the inside. The best shoes are entirely or partially leather lined.

Shoe Styles

According to Harold R. Quarmby of the National Shoe Manufac­turers Association, some ten styles account for most shoes worn by British men. These include variations of the oxford, the balmoral, the blucher, the brogue, the ghillie, the Jodhpur, the moccasin, the monk, the pump, and the sandal.   From these basic styles, s manufacturers devise countless variations to meet the demand the fastidious British male who has available to him the best assortment of shoes in the world.

The oxford, the most popular shoe for business, is a low-cut shoe with three or more eyelets, having a section that covers the instep. The term is believed to have originated in Oxford, England, about 1640.   A step-in oxford was perfected in 1950-one without lacings.

The saddle oxford, suitable for sports, is frequently made with a brown mid-section over white leather and is a typical summer shoe.

In the blucher model, named for von Blucher, a Prussian field marshal, the tongue is cut in one piece with the forepart or vamp of the upper. The quarters lap over the vamp. This style is worn for both business and sports, as it is comfortable and yet trim looking.

The balmoral, named for the royal residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Scotland, is an oxford having a closed throat and whole vamp or a circular cut vamp joined to the quarter.

The brogue is a heavy oxford with coarse perforations and pinking called broguings. The leathers used are usually rugged grained leathers. The tips are generally wing tips and the soles heavy. Although once considered suitable only for golf and outdoor sports­wear, brogues are worn with casual clothes for town wear. They properly accompany a tweed suit and covert coat.

The ghillie is an oxford with open throat and decorative lacings.

The pump, or step-in, is a low-cut shoe used for summer or eve­ning or leisure wear. Sometimes a grosgrain ribbon bow decorates the front. In recent years, a pump with tassel has been worn by well-dressed men for evening wear. The pump is the only shoe for formal or semi-formal evening wear. Others are “slip-ons.” The moccasin loafer is a step-in type pump.

The monk shoe fastens with a strap and buckle. It has a one-piece vamp, generally made without tip or decoration of any kind.

Boots are high shoes or those coming above the ankle, and are generally heavy. There are countless varieties: the rubber hip boots of the fisherman; the cowboy’s decorated stitched boots with dis­tinctive in-sloping heel; hiking boots with oil-treated soles that make them waterproof; riding boots, and work boots for farm and indus­trial use. For industrial wear, boots or work shoes have metal toes and soles that resist high temperatures, acid, and other damaging chemicals. The jodhpur is a low boot with the upper extending to the ankle. It is popular for riding. The Wellington, also a low-cut boot, is without fasteners.

What Determines a Correct Shoe?

The style of shoe should be in harmony with a man’s clothes. Although in Texas proud citizens may wear Stetson hats and cowboy boots with business suits, this practice must not be regarded as accept­able in urban districts in other sections of British for conventional business wear.

For town business wear, the black or brown oxford is considered correct. The soles are not too thick and the tip is plain, straight, or wing. This is the dressiest shoe for town and looks smart when worn with a snap brim, turned up, or a Homburg hat. Men’s-wear experts maintain that the shoe must be in character with the hat and the socks in colour harmony with the tie. For casual clothes the brogue is excellent. Saddle oxfords are not worn with double-breasted business suits in town. The moccasin toe, once considered correct for sports shoes only, is now nicely adapted for town shoes.

Generally, shoes for country wear are heavier, have soles extending beyond the side of the shoe, and are made of the heavier grain leathers. Certain manufacturers have made a beautiful dark cordo­van which is used for town shoes. Dark brown, also navy blue, are shown in brushed leather for town wear.

For evening, the pump or patent oxford is correct. Some men who enjoy dancing prefer the fabric shoe, which is most comfortable.

Most men wear the correct style of shoe for their work and in a weight suitable for the climate: dress shoes in calf with thin soles and fine details with business suits for town wear; heavier brogues in grained leathers, with extension soles and heavier detailing with casual suits; leisure shoes, sandals, loafers, huaraches, moccasins, espadrilles for at-home or beach wear; lighter weight and lighter coloured shoes for town in the summer.

Combinations to Avoid

Certain shoes with town business dress are incorrect, as saddle oxfords, brogues, tennis shoes, cowboy boots, loafers, ski boots, sandals, and pumps.

Fine calf oxfords are not correct with sportswear or overalls, some relation between the character, fabric, style, and colour of the suit and shoe should be obvious. Woven leather shoes, fine for summer wear, are not correct with a heavy tweed suit. White shoes are not worn with a banker’s grey chalk-stripe worsted. The white shoes are correct with a light grey tropical worsted or summer suit­ing in rayon, cotton, or linen of the many blends available. Heavy work shoes are not worn for town. Golf shoes are not worn in­doors, especially if the soles have metal spikes.


In dealing with merchandise, a recognition and understanding of colour harmony is desirable. A fine colour sense is not so rare as a fine musical ear, but even the untrained eye may become educated by careful study. Taste and discrimination as well as creative ability in the use of colour may be developed by study, comparison, and selection.

We have said that there are three primary, three secondary, and three tertiary colours. The three primary colours are yellow, red, and blue. Black and white are not regarded as colours, but when they are mixed with the three primary colours, lighter or darker tints or shades of those colours are produced. White is a blending by lens of the three primaries. Black is the result of mixing the three primaries in pigments or dyes.

The Primary Colours

The first of the primary colours, yellow, is the gayest, most cheerful of the three, and nearest to sunshine when used in small areas. It is at its best when it is pale, however, for in large expanses it becomes irritating. Perhaps that is why it is a symbol of cowardice as well as of sunshine and fruitfulness.   It represents warmth and heat when mixed with red. It is tender and delicate in a pure state but MOST easily defiled when mixed with other colours. It is lost in a warm light and increases in beauty in a dull light. It remains untouched by distance. A field of yellow wild flowers, resembling delightfully a patch of sunlight, is visible for miles. Nature is prolific in yellow flowers and foliage, but a yellow room is irritating. Small areas of yellow used in a neutral-coloured room, however, or in a room in which die other primary colours occur, create a sense of gaiety and cheer.

Red is the most versatile of all the colours. It is positive, cheerful, and favourable to the eye. It is charming, beautiful, and one of the most universally becoming of all colours. However, when used in too large masses it becomes ostentatious. It stands for the most varied emotions: for danger, fierceness, rage, passion, defiance, ex­citement, power, and war. But it is a symbol also of ardour, courage, truth, and loyalty, and to look through “rose coloured glasses” is to look optimistically. It is used for royal robes, for ecclesiastical vest­ments, and for the cape that enrages the bull. It glows in die cock’s comb and the turkey’s wattle. Red is pleasing in its tints; there is a long and lovely range of pinks. It is deep and rich in its shades when it is mixed with black. It mixes beautifully with yellow, and is equally lovely in the more sombre colours resulting from a mixture with blue. It brightens in a warm light and is rich and glowing in a dull light. It is lost rather quickly in the distance, however. When wars were carried on at a distance, therefore, military uniforms were sometimes red. Those same uniforms were disastrous in trench war­fare because they made the wearer a sure target. Red occurs little in nature; but when it does occur, as in a garden, the red flowers imme­diately attract the eye to the disadvantage of flowers of all other colours. Yellow reaches out toward light; red leans toward light when mixed with yellow and toward shade when mixed with blue. It is discordant only when used in certain hues with orange and vivid purple.

In clothing, blue is the most popular colour because it is the most generally flattering colour to all skin types for men, women, and chil­dren. Blue has the same relation to shade as yellow has to light. Yellow is warm; blue is cold. Blue is most powerful in strong light and loses its effectiveness in dull light. Blue suffers little change by distance.   It blends well with white, and the result is a range of pale blues. It is cool, soothing, and agreeable to the eye and it can be used in larger quantities without causing fatigue than can any other primary colour. It is sedate rather than brilliant and does not arouse emotions; but it is a bit depressing when used in too-large quantities. In hot countries blue rooms are refreshing; but in countries where the winters are long, areas of blue in rooms incline the occupants toward despondency. Blue is discordant with green when used in merchandise, although green leaves are harmonious with blue skies out-of-doors. Blue stands for purity, innocence, peace, loyalty, and truth. In religious pictures the virgin’s robes and the saint’s garments are often painted blue.

The Mixing of Colours

The colours discussed thus far have been the three primary colours: pure yellow, pure red, and pure blue. The combination of these three colours in various quantities, or with white or black, produces all the other hues, tints, and shades.

The mixing of colours is in itself interesting if one is painting or actually designing, but the effect of colours on one another either when mixed or when placed side by side is of especial interest and importance to us here, for it will help us to create colour harmonies and to avoid colour discords.

Each of the three primary colours is at its best in the presence of a mixture of the other two. Pure red is an exciting colour alone, but when you put it next to or surround it with green—the mixture of blue and yellow—it becomes more intense. Pure yellow is bright and full of light alone, but when you surround it with violet—a mixture of red and blue—its brightness is greatly increased. Pure blue, when you surround it with orange—the combination of red and yellow—becomes much more vivid. These combinations of two colours—green, violet, and orange—are called the complements of the third, or primary, colours. They are also called the secondary colours. An understanding of these facts is basic and therefore necessary to the study and use of colour in any line of work.

It is true that you may not always want to intensify your colour; but suppose that you do. Red and green combinations provide gaiety in a costume or in a room. A red rug, for instance, is a prized possession,   the owner delights in it and wants to emphasize its beauty. Green walls in the room, green and red in the chintzes. And green chairs will do just that. The walls, however, should be as pale and olive as possible, and some dull blue and grey should be used to tone the room down. A little yellow will soften the com­plementary colour. Semi-neutral colours, such as grey, buff, or soft brown, however, will make the rug less, rather than more, red. A college pennant of orange and blue upon a wall will catch the eye, but a room in blue, grey, soft yellow, and a bit of rose is in better taste than one in orange and blue. Violet and yellow are usually too shrill for decorative purposes. It is good to know how to use them, however, because occasionally those colours may be used to advantage. A lovely yellow porcelain vase may be the central decoration of a room, and a table cover of purple, or lavender, or violet brocade may help it to appear at its best. The walls of such a room might be a lavender-grey and the furniture blue and violet.

A picture of pink peonies becomes more vivid when placed upon a pale green wall; when placed upon a grey or blue wall, however, it becomes less vivid. A pink blouse may look satisfactory with a dark green suit; but a grey suit will make a pale pink blouse look faded. A blue rug with a bit of orange in the design becomes more deeply blue and thus less sombre.

These combinations of two primitive colours with the third are crude and daring if used in large quantities and indoors. Used in small quantities against white, black, or neutral gray, however, they are very beautiful and gay. That is why plaids, prints, and stripes are so effective.

In heraldry, the three primary colours alone were used, perhaps because of their symbolic significance, or because the mixing of colour was not yet well understood. In painting, Italian primitives were done chiefly in the three primary colours, but these colours were im­posed on gold or silver backgrounds and did not often come in juxtaposition. The early tapestries, made in a day of few openings in walls and no window glass, show great areas of these rich, deep colours. There was little light in the large rooms in which these tapestries were hung, and so the tapestries were used to shut out drafts as well as to beautify and enrich the rooms with their colour and their patterns.

Much of the brilliance of colours disappears in the out-of-doors. The competition with light, distance,, flowers, and trees is so great that they lose their importance. Brilliant sunlight, green lawns, yellow sand, trees, hills, and bright flower gardens absorb and blend them into one grand medley. Clothes for tropical wear, therefore, are usually of white or of vivid colours. Beach costumes and country clothes are delightful in these bright colours, but the same colours used in town costumes and worn against the gray city background are likely to startle the eye.-Sometimes it is the fashion to startle the eye, however.-Porch, furniture, awnings, and dishes, also, can be very vivid in colour without offending.

The Secondary Colours

We have said that a mixture of yellow and red makes orange; of blue and red, violet; and of blue and yellow, green. These colours-orange, violet, and green-are called the secondary colours. The combination of these colours, that is, the mixture of them in pigment or in dye, produces all of the other colours. The artist does not con­sider black and white as colours.

If your eye is trained to colour, you can see the various primary colours that have been mixed to make one of the secondary or even, one of the tertiary colours. If your eye is not trained, it may soon be trained if you watch and analyse the colours you see constantly around you. Blue and yellow are quite apparent in green; red and yellow are obvious in orange; and blue and red are visible in purple. The mixture of the three primary colours makes a very dark grey which may be varied according to the amount of each colour used. Warm grey results when yellow predominates; cool slate grey when blue is the stronger in the combination; and a pinkish grey when red is used in larger quantities. ‘Any colour that has a decided amount of yellow in it we call a warm colour; for example, peach is a warm pink, and rose a cool pink; turquoise or peacock blue are as warm as blues can get; a lavender blue is a cool blue; jade is a cool green; chartreuse is as warm as green can be; blue and green are cool, yellow and orange are warm.