This is such an easy project…how to make 50s DIY rah rahs, so called because cheerleaders wore them when I was in school. Also called saddle oxfords, which were popular shoe-wear in the 40s and 50’s, with another run in the late 60’s. Sixth grade along came penny loafers and I was dying to have a pair.
Unfortunately, I had to wear corrective shoes all through school. “I don’t care how much my feet hurt, Mama,” I begged, but she was
heartless adamant. No penny loafers. Actually, the dreaded corrective shoes looked exactly like rah rahs, which I wore EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. of my life. Teased unmercifully about them for years, but back in style, girls wistfully asked where I got them! I couldn’t care less whether they were in style. I loathed them.
Fast forward about 50 years, and now I wanted rah-rahs, to wear to a 50’s Square Dance, and disliking shopping, I hoped to forego the hunt for special shoes. Cheapskate me didn’t want to buy new shoes, or take the time to look for them. Surely there was a better way!
Remember how we all had to look the same in high school? I probably wouldn’t have been caught dead in these then…GASP! But with a little age and maturity, it doesn’t matter. (wink wink) Now you will be lauded for your cleverness! I always get compliments when I wear them. They could be used to complete a Halloween costume on a budget. Now these do look a little different on close inspection, but for me comfort won over style. As Mama used to say, “you can’t tell the difference on a galloping horse.”
Make 50’s DIY Rah Rahs
Materials: black felt, hole punch, scissors or pinking shears, hot glue.
*Find a cheap pair of white tennis shoes. Generic cheapies at Wal-Mart will do just fine.
*Sheets of black felt, which usually come in 8″ x 11″ sizes. 2-3 ought to do it.
*Hold up the felt to the side of your shoes, deciding how much of a black covering YOU want, cut to fit. I used pinking shears for cutting, which helped simulate the oxford look. Then a hole puncher to line up holes with your shoe laces. I also cut a strip for the back of heel area.
*Hot glue the felt onto your shoes.
But how do you dance in these???
Good question because when dancing, it’s important to glide. Tennis shoes grip the floor, but I had a brilliant idea for that. Cut another piece of felt for the ball area of the bottom of your shoe. Glue that on & glide away!
TIP: The first time I tried the felt, I glued it to the entire bottom of the shoe…MISTAKE! When I stood up, I was like Bambi on ice!! Not a good idea.
The felt on bottom of shoe lasts longer if you change into your shoes when you get inside rather than walking across a parking lot. I found the felt lasts through about 2-3 dances, then I have to glue more down. It’s a temporary fix, but it works!
I hate it, but my square dancing days are over. I encourage you to try it though! For us, it was one of the most fun activities around, …great for mind and body!
I can’t find my photo of us in 50’s attire, but here we are at a special square dance honoring Disney characters.
How about a Halloween costume? It looks close enough to how you see Mickey and Minnie Mouse dress!
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