Florence Italy

Shoe Fetish: Vintage Cherokee Wedges

shoes-we-wore-in-1981

One of the style icons of my life is Ms. Fernandez, my middle school French teacher.

As a 14-year old girl, I was obsessed with Ms. Fernandez’s clothes. Middle school French teachers obviously don’t choose the job for the money. But, even on what I imagine was a tiny salary, Ms. Fernandez always looked chic. And, although some of her clothes were faded from years of use, they had a kind of bohemian glamour.

Ms. Fernandez had that type of easy style that companies like Anthropologie wish they could replicate. She had hand-smocked blouses like Frieda Kahlo. She is the only woman I’ve ever seen, outside of a Woody Allen movie, who looks good in a man’s vest. She wore a pashmina scarf (that she’d bought in pre-revolution Tehran, of course) two decades ahead of the trend.

The most fascinating aspect of Ms. Fernandez’s wardrobe, was how small it was. I credit her with creating my lifelong obsession with capsule wardrobes. Ms. Fernandez probably didn’t own more than thirty garments total, but she mixed and matched her clothes so well, that she rarely repeated an outfit.

The one thing that stayed nearly constant, was her shoes. Ms. Fernandez only owned two pairs: a pair of cognac-colored Cherokee sandals with three inch wedge heels that she wore 90% of the time, and a pair of tan, Frye Campus boots, that she wore in really cold weather.

I desperately wanted a pair of Cherokee sandals like Ms. Fernandez, because they were so clearly the lynch-pin of fabulous outfits. Alas, my fashion aspirations were quickly shut down by my medically trained parents. “You’ll break your ankle,” they insisted, citing all sorts of E.R. statistics about the dangers of wedge shoes.

Obviously, Cherokee wedges were as fabulous as I remember, because they are really difficult to find used for under $125. I have an ebay alert for size 7.5 Cherokees, and after three years of diligent online searches, I have yet to find my dream shoe in my size.

Last week, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. A vintage dealer on ebay was selling the exact model sandal that I’ve been dreaming about for more than two decades.

vintagecherokee1

But in a size 8.

I know. This is what is known as a 1st world problem. I also know that my love for these shoes borders on a fetish because I am not satisfied with my Swedish Hasbeens or any other high wedge shoe that I’ve ever owned. They are not the shoe.

If anyone out there has a line on a pair of these shoes, please, PLEASE let me know! You will be my shoe hero forever.

What is your dream shoe?

11 Comments

  1. plaidsneakers
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Her house was tiny, but fabulous too. Great garden space. Anthropologie would die. And yet I don’t remember her shoes…hmmm. One of only a couple of teachers we actually called by their last names, respect and coolness in reverse.

  2. Mrs. B
    Posted June 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    When I read your post I thought, “no..can’t be the same shoe that I wore for YEARS” scrolled down and the maker is the same! style different. These shoes were so COMFORTABLE, and were well made, I don’t think I paid that much for them, it was the late 70’s and I was a single mom working in retail. Over the years I’ve wished I still had them, even though I’m sure I’ve outgrown them.
    Good hunting!!

  3. Posted June 6, 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Everyone I know who had a pair of Cherokees wishes that they were still being made! I’m surprised that someone hasn’t grabbed the license/patent for the sole and reissued them.

  4. Likes2c-crush
    Posted March 19, 2015 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    I love watching Vintage Cherokee Wedges stepping on and CRUSHING stuff!!!!!! Their soles are perfect for crushing and smashing things!!!! Awesome bug crushers!!!! I came across this website that had a lady wearing them and she was using them to walkover crawdads, worms, goldfish, and June bugs……I was completely hooked after that!!!!! I bought my wife 5 pairs so far!!!!!

  5. Posted April 1, 2015 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Hi Likes2c-crush!

    So jealous of your wife! I can’t believe you found that many pairs of Cherokees in her size. I am constantly on the hunt for Cherokee wedges in good condition. They are sooooooo comfortable.

  6. Likes2c-crush
    Posted April 1, 2015 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    Ebay and Etsy are the 2 places that I have been able to find the Vintage Cherokee……wedges, low heeled moccasins, and even low heeled sandals…….

  7. Heather
    Posted July 14, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    As a teenager in the late 70’s early 80’s I had to wait until I got a job to get my first pair! (my parents gave me the same excuse). I probably ended up with 3-4 pair and I wish I still had them! I had sandals and oxfords, and they were the most comfortable and stylish shoes I ever owned. I didn’t think I’d ever find another pair, etsy and ebay have opened my eyes! I’m on the hunt for anything size 8!

  8. Posted July 15, 2015 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi Heather!

    Good luck in your shoe hunt! I now have one pair of Cherokee wedges & they are super comfortable!

  9. susan schwerdtfeger
    Posted July 26, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m obsessed with Cherokee sandals and wish to god, that someone would re-make them again. They would be such a hit. I love the soles and I love the leather that was used to make them. I would give anything to own a pair in a size 10. If anyone every comes across a pair, please let me know. I actually search the internet daily for a used pair. Best!

  10. Posted August 18, 2016 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Susan–

    I will keep my eyes peeled for a size 10 for you!

  11. maninwedges
    Posted October 1, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    After reading this article , you have reminded me of some of my teacher’s and the clothing they wore . I went to school in the 70’s – 80’s era . I had one teacher that always wore the best looking wedges with a small platform . She taught reading and English . I have been looking for a pair of wedges like she wore for years . I was hoping with the 70’s vibe back in style I may get lucky …… to no avail . That being stated I can totally understand . With me it’s a lot like the Sperry “Topsider” wedge . I wish all the best on your hunt and don’t forget to check second hand or consignment shops .

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