Today is Saturday, July 23rd and we are on our 23rd day of featuring mid-century American brands. We’ve covered a variety of companies relating to fashion. Hosiery, foundations, and swimwear were recent topics, but we haven’t covered the all important women’s shoe market. In an era before big name brands such as Nike or Skechers, there was a company named Brown Shoes and a brand named Naturalizer. This brand is near and dear to my heart because I have several of their wonderful shoes in my closet. I even worked in their retail store in recent years as a way to supplement my retirement income. It is my pleasure to show to you a few of their mid-century ads.
Here’s one from 1964 for a leather loafer called The Softy which sold for $12.99.
This ad is almost identical, but the shoe called The Tourist is a bit more stylish and has a low heel. It sold for $13.99.
This one is from 2 years earlier advertising their pump called The Mayfair for $13.99.
This clever 2 page ad shows their “walking flat” shoe called the Madrid. Note the reference to Good Year rubber who made their Neolite sole. (Looks like I got the pages reversed. Sorry about that).
Someimes a mid-cenury girl wants something more than sensible shoes. Here’s an image from a 1952 article from the February 1952 edition of Redbook titled “Fashion Starts with Shoes”. This high-heeled patent leather shoe is featured in the article.
I recall selling this exact same shoe when I worked in the Naturalizer Outlet store a few years ago. I can’t seem to find a picture of it online, but I’ll keep looking.
The Brown Shoe Company began in 1875 when entrepreneur George Warren Brown established a small shoe factory in St Louis Mo. He showed that it was cheaper to produce shoes with a high quality in St Louis instead of his competitor shoe companies who were all manufactured in New England. The company is the owner of brands such as Famous Footwear, Naturalizer, Dr Sholl’s, and Lifestride . They are currently in operation under the name Calares.