Oh dear, where has the time gone? All week I was looking forward to this interesting little Friday Shoe History Corner tidbit, and thanks to a crazily busy Friday, I’ve missed my deadline.
Ah well, you won’t hold it against me, will you?
Because I’m here to remind us that we live in wonderful times where our shoes are concerned. Not only can a girl find a pair of comfy and stylish booties like the Bernardo Sahara bootie for the totally reasonable price of $169 (or, free for one lucky Shoeblog reader), but she can buy them in as many colors as she can lay her hands on. And that’s on top of whatever other shoes her heart (and her wallet) may be able to handle, which in some cases is A LOT of shoes.
But such was not always the case.
In February of 1943, during WWII, the United States started a program of shoe rationing.
Yes, that’s right. Shoe rationing. Horrible thought, isn’t it?
People were issued rationing stamps, the same way other commodities were rationed during wartime.
You were allowed 3 pairs of leather shoes per year (yes, only three) and needed to show the appropriate documentation when you wanted to buy a new pair to prove that it was still within your allotment.
Companies like Sears Roebuck offered mail-in shoe purchasing still, even with the rationing in effect.
Please note that certain shoes were not included in the rationing (slippers, infant shoes, and rubber shoes like galoshes).
That doesn’t leave much room for new footwear, does it? Which was, of course, the point. During wartime, the nation’s resources were being put to other, more essential uses.
So, no matter what your feelings are about the just-passed American election, take a moment to think about the fact that programs like this aren’t being put into effect anymore, that politics and war aren’t infringing upon your personal choices in how you want to spend your money. I think that’s something we can all appreciate.