Sandals were also popular in Germany. Boys in the early 20th century wore much the same sandal styles as in England and Germany. While not as common as in these countries, many German boys did wear them. Sandals declined in popularity during the 1930s. Note tha while English and French photographs during the 1930s often show boys wearing sandals, German images of boys wearing sandals are much less common. It is especially rare to see Hitler Youth boys wearing sandals. After the War sandals were again widely worn by German boys. German boys wore different styles than the British ones. From the 1950s to the early 70s nearly every German boy wore them, but from the mid-1980s on boys began to look on sandals as girlish. Some mothers liked the style, however, and insisted on their boys wearing them during the summer.
The German word for sandal is "sandale" (singular) and "sandalen" (plural). We do not know of any special German word for closed-toe or "T" strap sandals. In English the same style of shoe may be called either a sandal or a strap shoe, depending on the material and purpose. A play or school shoe is often called a sandal. A more formal shoe is known as a strap shoe. A German reader tells us, "For a strap shoe we have another word but I am not sure if I remember it correctly. The modern producer of a child's play strap shoe call it a 'Spangenschuhe'."
German schools did not require school uniforms. Boys could choose the clothes they wore to school, within reason. Manu boys in the warmer months wore sandals to school.
German boys in the southern part of the country tended to wear sandals more commonly than in the northern area.
Our seaonal information sabout sandals is still relsativelky limited. Our initial assessment isd thst sandals were highly seasonal wear. Some garments like short pants were worn year round before World war II, but sandals seem to have been definitely seasonal. This still needs to be confirmed with additional information. They seem most common during the summer, although they were not just worn in the hot summer months. We see themn throught the year except when it was really cold. We think they became even more seaonal as casual clothes became increasingly popular after World War II. An associate seasonal factor was the hosiery worn with sandals.
We have not been able to find any written information about sandals in Germany. Of course here language is a problem for us. Our assessment is this entirely based on the photographic record. We get the impression that social class affected the wearing of sandals. They seem to be most common among affluent and middle-class children and much less common working-class children. Sandals often seem less common in rural areas. Of course this requires a rather subjective assessment of the photographs as we often have little information about the children in the available photographs. This same dynamic appears to be the case for both strap shoes and sandals. These social class factors appear to have changed afyer World War II. We think this is in part the destruction of the old rather strong class structure in German by both the NAZIs and the impact of World War II. After the War, especially by the 1960s sandals became more widely worn abd syles shifted from closed toe to open toe sandals.
Boys in the early 20th century wore much the same sandal styles as in England and Germany. While not as common as in these countries, many German boys did
wear them. They were all the closed-toe style. I believe, however that they were not considered to be sandals at the time, but strap shoes. They were mostly worn
by boys from affluent families. Sandals declined in popularity during the 1930s. Note that while English and French photographs during the 1930s often show boys wearing sandals, German images of boys wearing sandals are much less common. It is especially rare to see Hitler Youth (HJ) boys wearing sandals. The NAZI leaders thought that sandals were not manly. The HJ modeled themselves on the Wehrmacht (the army), and soldiers wear boots. So the HJ boys wore sturdy shoes, too. For the most part only girls wore sandals or strap these days, although younger pre-school boys are sometimes seen in them. The NAZI disapproval of sandals meant that boys by school age rarely wore them. After War the economic situation was very difficult in Germany. Litle thought was given to children's fashions of any type. After the War sandals were again widely worn by German boys. German boys wore different styles than the British ones. From the 1950s to the early 70s nearly every German boy wore sandals, but the closed toe English style declined in popularity. Most of the sandals worn by German boys were open-toe sandals. A German contributor to HBC reports in the 1960s wearing knee socks with sandals as a boy and later as teenager in the 1970s wearing white sport socks. He preferred knee socks in red or blue or with pictures, for example, with football-emblem. He does not recall German boys wearing closed toe sandals in the 1960s or 70s. German boys in the early 1970s still commonly wore open toe sandals. By the mid-1970s, however, they declined in popularity. American-style sneakers became much more popular with German boys as with other European boys. From the mid-1970s on boys began to look on sandals as girlish. Some mothers liked the style, however, and insisted on their boys wearing them during the summer. Boys in sandals were often teased by the other boys who didnīt wear them. German boys in the 1990s rarely wear sandals. Even younger boys wore sneakers. Only during the summer holidays do some boys wear sandals. Sport sneakers appeared n the 1990s and some boys began wearing them with socks.
German boys have wore a variety of sandals. The two basic styles are open and closed-toe sandals. Both boys and girls have worn both of these types in many different styles. The single bar style was the most common. Preferemces and conventions associated with ages and gender have varied greatly over time. Closed-toe styles were most common before World War II, but after the War the open-toe style gradually became more popular.
German boys of a quite wide age range swear sandals. The styles and colors are different for children of different ages. Children usually get their first sandals even before they begin walkking. But noy usually later than toddler age. There are special styles made for very young children. theyīre closed in the back. This style is often called "Lauflernsandale". That means something like "walk" (Lauf-) and "learn" (-lern-) "sandal" (-sandale). Or
learn-to-walk-sandal. Boys and girls wear them. But in different colours. Then from the age of three sandals the styles change. There is the so-called "fisherman-style" worn by boys.
From the age of about 5 years, boys begin wearing less juvenule looking sandals, meaning that they were plainer and less colorful. Boys continue to wear sandals until about 10 years, but then they become less common. Before about the 1980s it was more common to see older boys wearing them.
Certain styles of clothes were commonly worn with sandals by German boys. Here there were very substantial changes over time. A factor were the social class connotations before Workd War II and the more widespread popularity of sandals after the War. At first we continue to see closed-toe sandals, but then open-toe sandals become more important. Another factor is the association of sandals with warm weather wear and thus seasonal summer styles. Most German boys wore sandals with short pants. Some boys in the 980s and 90s might be seen wearung casual long pants, like jeans, with sandals. By far the dominte pattern was to wear sandals with short pants. This was in part because of their popularity as warm weathr summer wear. This was true, however, even in the 1920s and 30s when boys commonly wore short pants all year round. Generally speaking as German boys have come to more commonly wear long pants, it has become more common to see boys wearing sandals with long pants. We do not generally see sandals being worn with
suits, but here age was a factor. An exception for some reason was Tracht, at least the Tracht worn by younger boys. White socks, both ankle socks and knee socks seem to be popular with sandals. German boys have worn sandals both with and without socks. Even though sandals came to be warm weather clothing, it has been much more common to wear them with socks. This was in fact a common European style. American boys, in contrast, were much more likely to wear sandals without socks.
Sandals are widely wprn by German girls. They are more popular with girls than boys. Girls wore them after World War I when they first appeared and continue to wear thdem today. Girls also wear the open-toe style but with thinner straps and
different colours (red, pink, white). They also wear the closed-toe style, but less commonly.
Sandals are generally a shoe style chosen by mothers. Most boys would have preferred shoes. Som why did German mothers want boys to wear sandals? German sources repirt that this is an often discussed topic by boys or men who remember their childhood. If you talk with them about their clothes when they were younger, they will talk about sandals and that they didnīt liked them. Similar kinds of discussiins occur in England and some are posted on the personal experience pages. Most mothers say that the reason is that sandals are more healthy than sneakers. But one German HBC contributor believes that the real reason is that thaey think bous look cute, more inocent in them--not so "rough". Many mothers like to keep their boys young and inocent as long as possible--this is a consistentvtrend in many countries. He think because sandals appear sweet and innocet. Many boys would certainly agree, which is why they didn't like sandals.
A few personal experiences are available.
H-strap sandals: Disagreements with mom
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