Wartime rationing and the introduction of the utility scheme greatly restricted the styles available. Under the austerity rules all shoes had to completely cover the foot.
So no peeptoes or slingbacks. Heel height was also restricted, though you might not think
so when looking at the adverts, a classic case of idealism - if the models can have
7ft legs then the shoes can have 4 inch heels.
Colour and textured leather finishes hid imperfections in the hides. Rubber soles and elastic
gussets were banned, Zips became popular for a short time as they were easier to close in the blitz.
Low wedges were very popular as they supported the arches and wooden soled shoes made an appearance
in 1943 but did not enjoy extensive popularity as the hinged soles let in the rain.
The spring of 1944 was a particularly bad time to find shoes, with most production aimed at D-Day
civilians had to spend long hours in queues and there were stories of having to obtain tickets just
to join the queues.
First published on Vintage Chic 21-October-2009