Vintage early 1970s red and mustard suede platform oxfords from the legendary Flagg Brothers shoe chain feature purple tongues, chunky heels, slightly bubbled toes and thickly braided blue wool laces. The striped effect of the platform sole and heel is due to the alternating colors—red, tan, and black—used in their stacked rubber layers.
The placement of the mustard suede across the vamp evokes a saddle shoe, and a ridged wood trim outlining the upper of each shoe draws the eye even more to the flashy base it rests upon.
The shoes are embossed “Flagg Bros” on the blue sockliners (mark is very worn, with “Flagg” more visible in the left shoe and “Bros” in the right).
The first Flagg Brothers shoe store opened in St. Louis in 1936, and by the time the platform shoe craze swept the nation, the chain had grown to 215+ stores coast to coast. The trend of high heels for men started in Europe c.1969, and spread to the US in 1971 when Flagg Bros. company president Rod Cochran brought back an example from Paris to mass produce and sell for $16/pair. (As a division of Genesco, Flagg Bros was able to manufacture its own shoes very quickly). Cochran test marketed the 1000 pairs in Chicago, DC, Los Angeles, Boston and Houston Flagg stores, and—without the benefit of any advertising whatsoever—the shoes sold out within 10 days. Clearly, the US customer was more than ready for high heeled shoes, and Flagg Bros obliged—soon adding platforms into the mix, because they made the heels more comfortable to walk in.
Measuring 10” inside from toe to heel and 3 5/8” across the tread (widest part of the bottom), the shoes are equivalent to a Men's size 7.5/8 and a (wide) Women’s size 9/9.5. They have 1” platforms and 2.5” heels.
Fair to good condition, sturdy but with evident wear. Issues are scuffing/ light soiling to the toes and heels, cracking to the bottom tan layer on the right shoe (likely because the worn down heel caps need to be replaced), and a lingering musty smell after weeks of airing out. Price reflects condition, but these remain a standout example of a highly collectible shoe brand.
Proud Member of the VFG Vintage Fashion Guild