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Spectator’s Return to Popularity

November 1, 2010

Although today the Spector shoes are worn by  men and women, they were mostly worn by men back in the 1930’s era.  They where saddled shoes that have a strip of color set across the instep and often another color at the heel.  They are usually white as a base color in various parts of the upper.  

Growing up with Spectators widely worn in my family, I’ve seen them to be typically wingtips, but some looked like cap toe shoes while others looked like loafers.

As times progressed, modern times presented them predominantly in black and white, but other colors have graciously surfaced, especially the brown and white and brown and tan colors.  But the brown and white color, according to shoe’s history, was not common.  There are claims that the famous English boot maker, John Lobb, was the designer of the first Spectator shoes for the game of cricket in 1868.

The new generation of designers have wielded a newer and more classier style of Spectator and Spectator-like shoes fashioned in the form of high heels and sling backs.  In recent years, getting away from the traditional base white.  Like the Oxfords, where they are predominantly black and white and tan and black in the olden days, the Spectator shoes have reached a new beginning in this century and even the favorite low-heeled Spectator have been given a subtle approach to looking more classier and sexier to match the fashion of the more modern trends of today’s men and women.

The brown and white and black and white Spectators were equally popular as a casual summer shoe.  The Spectator is described as originally being constructed of willow calf leather and white buck or reverse calf suede.  The white portion was sometimes made from a mesh material for better ventilation in hot weather.  Duke of Windsor reportedly adopted the shoe as a sports shoe and golf went on to make them even more famous and more suited for the stylish sport.

It was the 1990’s that Spectator shoes really started making a noticeable come back.  This is when I began seeing a rise in the heel inches.  The 4 – 4 1/2 inch heel spectator in blue and white was the first colored pair of Spectators I owned.  Since then the black and white Spectators seemed to have become, once again, the favorite among shoe designers in taking a stab at reintroducing the shoes altogether in newer designs, adding a new spin and twist to the overall design.

Introducing sex with conservative have opened up a fresh new insight as to how Spectators looked before and how they look today.  It’s the yesteryears that have driven shoe designers into taking new direction of an old-fashioned and remake as new, more appealling and exciting for the more younger generation to begin making new history.

Spectator pumps are on the rise and have been considered a high fashion shoe among women, especially during certain periods, it’s also known to be a dress shoe.   In the 1950’s when their popularity began to fade as the sling backs and sandaled shoes and pumps with thinner heels were creeping up the stylish charts Spectators sort of slipped into the shadows until they were able to be reintroduced into the fashion industry some several years later. 

They began to make a come back in the 1980’s.  They were a favorite in England, best known for their high-fashion appeal that went with the polka-dot and black-and-white, red-and-white, navy-and-white, etc. combination dress ensembles were considered trendy during this time.  Apparently when a color variety first set the stage for when the Spectator shoes would begin their remake.

Joan Collins frequently sported them on the old show, Dynasty, worn with her dramatic hats and black and white suits and dresses.  And if you’ve seen Pretty Woman, you’d recall that Julia Roberts wears a low-heeled version of the shoes to the polo match.  These are little things I pay attention to.  But unfortunately their popularity among women was not sustainable enough to be a long-term trend.  This is where the talents of shoe designers was needed to bring fresh and new ideas to how the shoes could be given a much newer look and a memorable flair.

What amazes me about how the Spectators couldn’t sustain their popularity of the past decades is that they were known as being most suited for high-fashion and British-inspired clothing.  Their white color makes them prime choice for women’s spring and summer fashion.  So why the constant in and out phase?

Fortunately today you will find the Spectators are available in a variety of styles including the classic and traditional style.  Some of them you will find with a more pointy toe and some will have a peep toe.  You’ll find them with cut out sides, a single platform (or single sole) or with a 1 inch or higher platform; you’ll find them with or without straps across the instep; you’ll find them with a thick or skinny heel — they are fashioned to fit everyone’s style and taste whether the old-fashioned at heart, or the woman with a more trendy, flamboyant style.  And the woman with a conservative nature can find a style to suit her taste.  

I would guess one reason the style from the original Spectator shoes has changed so dramatically is to once again make them a sustainable shoe both in popularity and in style by continuing to introduce something for everyone with everyone’s style and taste well in mind.  And let’s not forget the men.  Spectator shoes continue to be available for our stylish men as well.

If you’re looking for Spectators, I would recommend a thorough online search. They range in price so you will want to make sure that you know how much you want to spend and know what style you’re looking for.

Photos from and Google Images.

Updated Friday, November 12, 2010

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 12, 2010 8:26 am

    What post were you reading? Nowhere in the “Spectator’s Return to Popularity” did I write, “We leave it to you to decide.” But thanks for visiting the blog. It’s appreciated.

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