Fashion: Saddle shoes

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Saddle shoes: They've come a long way, baby.

The black-and-white leather lace-ups were standard for every nice girl of the 1950s, but in the following decades they've been relegated to musty attics and bad diner window displays.

The style has popped up here and there. Remember Rory's uniform jumpers and saddles on "Gilmore Girls"? Recently, though, saddle shoes have made an official comeback.

Modern designs have turned the saddle sassy. Sexy, saddle-influenced heels ranging from stilettos to wedges are being sold by brands like H&M, Rag & Bone and Steve Madden. If you're looking for flats, check out Vans' Sophie shoe, Not Rated's Jazzibel Oxford or Urban Outfitters' BDG style.

G.H. Bass & Co. will soon release an eagerly awaited line designed by fashion's indie darling Rachel Antonoff, a self-professed saddle-shoe enthusiast.

The styles, available online at this spring, pair Bass' tailored refinement with Antonoff's whimsical ways - her touch is most evident in the styles that include tiny flowers on the instep.

Back in the '50s, greaser guys typically rocked boots and Chuck Taylors (much more practical for hot rod street races), leaving saddle shoes for the squares in letterman sweaters. But today's classic preppy styles are suitable for men of any social standing.

G.H. Bass has a comprehensive men's selection, and Cole Haan's spring line includes sleek Air Colton Saddle shoes in two-toned combos like tan and green or red and blue.

That design's name comes from the concealed Nike Air padding in the soles, helping to alleviate the uncomfortable flatness that likely caused saddle shoes' demise in the first place.