Spectator shoes are a men's and women's dress shoe. They are notable for their two-tone color, similar to saddle shoes. While spectators are typically wingtips, they can also be classified as cap toe shoes or even loafers. They are predominantly seen in black and white but other colors are not unheard of. John Lobb, the famous English boot maker, claims to have designed the first spectator as a cricket shoe in 1868.
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Prior to this generation, brown and white and black and white spectators were equally popular. The spectator was originally constructed of willow calf leather and white buck or reverse calf suede. The white portion was sometimes made from a mesh material, for better ventilation in hot weather. They became popular as dressy sports shoes, after the Duke of Windsor adopted them. Golf made spectators popular, with spikes. Spectators for men were most in fashion in the 1930s and 40s, diminishing in favor in the 1960s, but making a return in the 1990s with retro and rockabilly, plus swing nostalgia growing in popularity. Both actor Craig T. Nelson, as Chief Jack Mannion in the CBS TV series The District, and actor-director Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin in the A&E TV series A Nero Wolfe Mystery, were seen sporting black-and-white spectators. Today, spectators made of white buck or suede are rare and generally custom made; commercial ready-to-wear manufacturers typically use white calf leather or synthetic materials.
For women, spectator pumps have been considered, during certain periods, to be very high fashion. After their loss of popularity in the early 1950s, when sling-backed and sandaled, thinner pumps became stylish, they returned to fashion in the early 1980s. Perennially favorite in England, their high-fashion appeal went with the polka-dot and black-and-white, red-and-white, navy-and-white, etc. combination dress ensembles trendy during this time. Joan Collins frequently sported them on Dynasty, with her dramatic hats and black and white suits and dresses. Julia Roberts wears a low-heeled version to the polo match in Pretty Woman. Their popularity for women, again, comes and goes — they are most suited for high-fashion or British-inspired clothing, and with their white color, most appropriate for women's spring and summer wear.
The spectator shoe is also known as the "co-respondent shoe."
"Spectator or Co-respondent shoes are two color shoes, usually white and black or brown. They can be two colors of leather or leather and canvas.
They are usually considered a non-business shoe and worn only during the summer season.
They originated as sporting and hunting footwear, but by the 1880’s had transcended into fashion.
In 1925 golfer Walter Hagen (1892 –1969) introduced the two-tone black-and-white wing tip to America at the swank Lido Club on New York's Long Island. The very next year, Bobby Jones championed brown-and-white two-tones, setting the pace for inventive color combinations to come, including tan with brown as well as black with brown.
During this era the duotone became known as the "co-respondent shoe," so named for its popularity among men who wore them to court for divorce proceedings. A “Co-respondent” is one who “responds” or a defendant, especially in a divorce or equity case.
The Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) helped their popularity when he wore tan and white spectator shoes during a 1925 visit to the U.S., and further popularized them as golf shoes in 1937. Fred Astaire wore them to dance in, and they became the signature shoes of jazz musicians, gangsters and zoot-suiters through the early 1940’s."