Seamless Shoes and Silk Laces

(Apparel Arts, 1934)

In the fall of 1934 menswear trade journal Apparel Arts featured a novel innovation in evening footwear:

The increased popularity of the tailcoat and opera hat have been recent indications of the return to formal sartorial perfection.  In making these concessions to true formality, however, we have found the standards of today on an even higher level in regard to ease and comfort, without detracting from the element of fashion correctness.

Hard have been the trials of those seeking ease in wearing the formal evening shoe – the pump.  Exact fit is essential in the wearing of the pump, and even then the tendency to catch at the instep uncomfortably and the looseness at the heel have discouraged the otherwise strong in heart.  The majority have fallen back on the conventional patent leather shoe.

Pictured here for the first time is a new dress shoe which combines the formality of the pump with the comfort of the ordinary patent leather shoe.  Side-stitching has been omitted, and a single piece of patent leather has been modeled upon appropriately light soles to fit the foot securely and correctly.  The pinch of the pump has been altogether avoided, achieving the ease of the brogue. APPAREL ARTS presents it to both retailer and manufacturer at the very beginning of its importation to this country.

The editors highlighted the new style in two consecutive issues, each time pairing it with swank silk shoelaces.  Then, for whatever reason, the shoe seems to have disappeared from the magazine’s pages.

Although this elegant compromise of a shoe is no longer available, it is still possible to obtain silk shoelaces to at least elevate the panache of standard evening shoes.

Silk laces from A Suitable Wardrobe.



October 22, 2014

Dress and formal shoes look best when laced in the manner shown in the vintage photo at the top of the page.  Instructions for this straight lacing technique can be found here.


  1. Cygnus

    One could come relatively close to the shoe featured in the magazine with the laces from your post and the Wholecut Balmoral from Barney’s New York:,default,pd.html

    1. Peter Marshall

      Wow, that’s actually more seamless than the vintage version. Thanks for the tip!

    2. A. R.

      What a beautiful shoe! I have a pair of pumps that fit quite well, but I’m seriously considering picking up a pair.

  2. Observer

    The vintage version is correct, the Barney’s version lacks pedigree and is incorrect.

    1. Hilton Conrad

      Pedigree? Well, lineage has to start some where. Just because they haven’t been at it for 50 years doesn’t mean its any less correct than the above. The Barneys shoe is smart, classic, and correct in all senses from what i can see. Just because it lacks a label of a more prestigious formal wear maker doesn’t make it any less good.


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