Women’s shoes from the 1940s: See stylish high-heeled vintage footwear

Vintage women's shoes from the 1940s

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These beautiful women’s shoes from the 1940s — pumps of leather and suede, high heels in white & black, blue & red — would still make a stylish statement today.

Before you fall in love with the low prices of yesteryear, know that — adjusted for inflation — $9.00 in 1944 was roughly equivalent to $133 in 2020 dollars.

Not cheap! One of these ads even echoed the popular advice of the time — “Wear a pair and rest a pair” — that figured a woman would probably have only two pairs of fine shoes.

Now, take a look back at some of the fab and fancy footwear of the forties!

Medium Gold Cross shoes (1940s)

Gold (Red) Cross offers more lovely fashions on the smart medium heel than any other fine shoemaker in the world. Styles include The Coquette, the Chateau, the Uptown, and the Myra.

Vintage women's shoes from the 1940s

Air step heels from the 1940s

Air step features styles like the Eileen, a cosmopolitan elasticized Vitality slip-on in soft Catalina Black suede; and the Glen, an elasticized featherweight “V”-throat pump. Also shown: Idona, Loraine, Hilda.

 Vintage suede shoes - classic high heels for women - 1940

Styl-EEZ: A Selby shoe (1940)

Double your zest for living in Styl-EEZ!

Wear a pair and rest a pair; double the ease, double the looks, double the life of your shoes. Styl-EEZ brings you adorable style that slims your ankle and flatters your instep. Precious features to keep your feet eager to be up-and-going.

LIFE Oct 7 1940 shoes 2

After Hours: Air Step high-heeled vintage shoes (1942)

For the radiant after hours: the shoe with the magic sole.

He’ll never guess you’ve worked like a trooped all say, when he sees you with feet dancing-to-go in light little Air Step shoes.

But you’ll say a big “thank you” to your sensible busy-day Air Steps and your gay after-hour Air Steps for that “Fresh at Five” feeling. 

It’s their unique Magic Sole — thousands of tiny air cells in a cushion underfoot. How they rest busy feet! Taking the jolts and jars, taking the jangle out of the job. See these feminine shoes with the secret comfort — at your Air Step store.

Women's shoes from the 1940s

Air Step women’s shoes with toe decorations & bows (1943)

The classic and lovely style of Air Step shoes; Designs that are simple enough to go with anything, smart enough to go anywhere.

Honest quality in leathers, in workmanship, to save time and service with sureness.

Air Step women's shoes with toe decorations & bows (1943)

Vintage pumps: Naturalizer brown & black footwear (1943)

Now is the best time in the world to get acquainted with Naturalizer’s smooth, molded fit (no slip — no gap — no pinch). 

Classic 1943 Shoes for women

Naturalizer shoes, in the black key (1943)

Your first thought this season — the good black shoe that will see you through. The Naturalizer shoe with the simple, uncluttered lines, and fine, rich leathers.

Retro Naturalizer shoes, in the black key (1943)

The 22k Gold Cross shoe (1944)

Valued at more than a million dollars, and dedicated to the lovely step of youth! This 22k solid gold replica of a famous Gold Cross “Limit” last was created as an enduring reminder that the style of shoes, its fit, its true worth, can be no finer than the last over which it is crafted. 

The makers of Gold Cross shoes have known that for many years, and so have millions of smart American women. It explains, perhaps, why Gold Cross shoes, made over the exclusive, youth-giving “Limit” lasts, are America’s largest selling fine footwear.

ALSO SEE: How is lipstick made? Look back to the lip makeup’s 1940s heyday

The 22k Gold Cross shoe (1944

Naturalizer “fit parade” (1945)

The shoe with the beautiful fit. $6.95

Vintage Naturalizer footwear for her

Spring Naturalizer vintage high-heeled shoes (1946)

Spring Naturalizer vintage high-heeled shoes (1946)

More smart women wear Gold Cross shoes (1947)

More smart women wear Gold (Red) Cross shoes than any other brand of fine footwear in the world. And you, of course, know why: gracious, young styles, quality beyond their price, and fit that keeps you swinging along with the envied step of youth.

More smart women wear Gold Cross shoes (1947)

Klevan Bros Spectators in keen color combos (1948)

Fine quality, good fit, and good color combinations these shown and many others… now ready in a grand collection!

Klevan Bros Spectators in keen color combos (1948)

Vitality, the more-for-your-money shoes (1949)

Dollar for dollar, you’re twice as smart with Vitality shoes. Here are the new springtime Vitality shoes. Saucy sandals, new pumps, step-ins and ties. More than good shoes — they are really finer shoes for your money.

Vintage women's shoes from the 40s - 1949 (1)

Women’s shoes from the 1940s: Jacquelines (1949)

Serving advance notice on Spring — beautiful, dutiful Jacquelines — adding fashion excitement to everything. Exquisitely made in the loveliest of leathers.

Vintage women's shoes from the 1940s: Jacquelines (1949)

Vitality vintage women’s shoes from the ’40s (1949)

Compare style for style, materials for materials, fit for fit — you can’t find a better buy for your shoe dollars for Vitality!


Summer wonderful Gold Cross shoes in white (1949)

Summer-wonderful, glade cool whites. Think of a woodland glade, carpeted with lady ferns.

What cooler, fresher inspiration for these wonderful summer shoes by Gold (Red) Cross shoes. They’ll add such a crisp, fresh touch to your summer costumes.

DON’T MISS: Vintage shoe stores: See what shoe shopping really used to be like

Summer wonderful Gold Cross shoes in white (1949)

Thrill to the cosmetic effect of Vitality shoes (1949)

Shoes with a cosmetic effect? Yes — Vitality! Their perfect, restful fit is reflected in a ready, relaxed smile — and inner glow of good feeling that comes out in your walk, your posture — your very expression!

Beaumont: Smart walking… yours in this Colonial buckle pump with high tongue and crisp squared-off toe.

Norma: A dressy, graceful heel puts fashion’s newest line on an elegant classic pump. Wonderfully wearable!

Susan: 1-2-Buckle your shoe twice? Add a jaunty crossover vamp, a sling back. Presto! High style for town.

Dacia: Here’s the ladylike look. Soft, triple-draped front on a graceful Continental heel pump. Fall’s chosen colors.

Vampire: New high-back, dressy high heel, restful platform! New from closed heel to closed toe and flattering ankle strap.

Thrill to the cosmetic effect of Vitality shoes (1949)

Gold Cross shoes — America’s unchallenged shoe value (1949)

More smart women wear Gold (Red) Cross shoes than any other brand of fine footwear in the world. But the reason is more than gracious, young styling. It’s their value — fair beyond their price. And their Fit-Tested fit keeps a schoolgirl swing in your step.

Gold Cross shoes -- America's unchallenged shoe value (1949

Vitality’s open road and outdoor wear shoes (1949)

These newest designs in the gentle lady fashion theme, so delicately wrought by Vitality. Thrill to their “cosmetic effect” – the way their matchless fit shows in a radiant smile, an inner-glow of good feeling that comes out in your walk, your very expression!

Vitality's open road and outdoor wear shoes (1949)

Women’s fashion shoes from the ’40s: Enna Jetticks (1949)

Fitting the fashion to the action. That’s the genius of the new Enna Jetticks. Leading, young-minded fashions — just see! — designed with knowing care for yours-truly fit and step-lightly comfort in action.

LIFE Apr 4, 1949 shoes

Maytime sale – various shoe brands (1949)

Why, the shoes pictured here are only a smattering of the many, many exciting new spectators we have in store for Cincinnati’s best-dressed misses and women. Including brands like “Gold (Red) Cross”, “Pandora”, “Dayne Taylor”, and more!

Maytime sale - various shoe brands (1949)

Women’s shoes from the 1940s: Jolene shoes (1949)

I like the beautiful styling and budget prices of Jolene shoes.” — Yvonne De Carlo, starring in “Calamity Jane.”

Shoe drama in three acts! The front, the back, the side views… all Jolene Hollywood. Inspirations, young originality, color at its costume-making best! Here are value-giving shoes that keep your budget steady. Hollywood inspired them… everyone admires them.

JOlene shoes from the 1940s

DON’T MISS: 1930s shoes for women: 100 vintage styles

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One Response

  1. These are the shoes that used to surround me as I played with my toy cars and toy soldiers on the floor as a small child when Mum, Gran, Aunts, and Great Aunts gathered for afternoon tea back in the early 1950s. With their destruction threatening solid heels, they will for me forever signify female power of attractive clever cultured ladies. With their tailored pencil skirted suits and fox furs or full skirted flared and belted summer dresses, hats and gloves, red lipstick, mascara, eyebrow pencil, and scented powder and perfume, they caused a feeling and stiring in me that at 6, 7, and 8, I did not fully understand but connected with my attraction to certain pretty girls in my class at school, and the love that the men in my family showed to their wives and girlfriends. I now know that it was my first pre-pubescent heterosexual awakenings as well as the origin of my ‘thing’ for painted ladies in high-heels. Fortunately my wife, whom I met at University 53 years ago, had a similar love of high-heels, and has over 300 pairs of them, so we clicked and fell in love almost immediately. Our son seems to have found someone similar, also at University, and they are now married.

    As far as the 1940s/early 1950s shoes are concerned, just the sight of the drawings/photographs of them still has the same effect and whisks me back to the early 1950s.

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