#TBT: Shoe Ads From the 1910s Through the 2000s

In 2017, shoes priced under $50 are a rarity. But in 1916, a pair of patent leather work boots sold for between $2 and $4 — a price that boot brand Charles William proudly displayed on an advertisement. Here FN takes a look back — way back — to get a glimpse at how prices and styles have evolved through the decades.

1916 boots, men's, women's
An advertisement from 1916 highlights boots for men and women in a variety of colors and styles.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

By the 1930s and ’40s, prices had gone up — and the styles had evolved. The flat boots advertised in the ’10s were replaced by chunky-heeled lace-up shoes. Advertisements included lengthy blocks of text highlighting the products’ virtues, a difference between more minimalist ads that emerged later.

Selberite Arch Preserver Shoes , ad , women's
An advertisment for Selberite Arch Preserver Shoes features an explanation of why the shoes fit well.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

With the popularization of photography, shoe ads in the ’40s became more diverse in scope. No longer were advertisements confined to illustration. Now advertisers could also rely on actual images of shoes to speak for themselves.

womens shoes, Shoe Advertisement, 1940s,
An advertisment for Joyce California shoes, from 1946, shows a couple of pairs of shoes with a low heel and lacing at the top.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

As the new millennium approached, the next big change came with respect to footwear advertising. For the first time, advertisers began to take advantage of celebrity as a means to sell.

This trend has continued through today, as celebrity continues to be a big draw for brands.

Gigi Hadid Stuart Weitzman Ad Campaign
Gigi Hadid wearing sneakers for the Stuart Weitzman spring ’17 ad campaign.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

Click through the gallery for more shoe ads from years past.

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