Saddle Shoes

A few weeks ago I acquired my first pair of saddle shoes.  Saddle shoes are distinguished by a swathe which is a contrasting colour, material, or texture over the vamp of the shoe, a bit like a saddle.

It is a shoe style native to the United States but increasingly adopted by shoemakers wider afield.

I’ve been an admirer of the style for a little while now and finally got round to acquiring a pair when I was last in the US.

Typically men’s shoes have ornamentation at the tip of the shoe, whether that is a wing tip, brogueing or a cap toe.

Saddle shoes in contrast tend have ornamentation around the middle of the shoe by means of the contrasting ‘saddle’ with the rest of the shoe plain.

The location of the ornamentation means that the shoe can look quit e plain when standing up and standing still as your trousers will often cover the ‘saddle.’

However, when sitting down or in motion only then does the ornamentation become visible.

This means that the saddle shoe has the capacity, a little bit like a piece of art, to reveal more each time it is viewed. In this regard it is potentially a more interesting shoe style than many.

Saddle shoes, perhaps because of their relative scarcity in Britain, tend to be noteworthy.

In addition, that they are available in a bewildering range of colour and contrasts mean extroverts and the most restrained can find some saddle shoes to fit their personality.

In my case my saddle shoes came with an extra pair of laces in bright red. I appreciate the idea, not least because I’ve been in the market for some red laces.

However, I must admit that I think that they are probably a bit too brightly coloured.  A more subtle shade of red would have been better.

Perhaps one of the best thing about saddle shoes is that a bit like monk straps they are unusual and can be worn in a wide rang of contexts. Saddles are not as formal as oxfords but are a little more formal than derbys.

They are equally at home with a pair of jeans or chinos as with more formal trousers. They probably wouldn’t be my first choice to be worn with a formal suit however.

If you haven’t yet come across these you might want to look into it.  Saddle shoes aren’t widely available in the UK . However, you will find some at John Lewis. In the USA Cole Haan make some of the coolest saddles, with prices to match, on the market.

What do you think?

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