The Co-respondent (Spectator) shoe

The Co-Respondent shoe, or Spectator shoe to give their proper name is seeing something of a resurgence in recent years and I, for one, am pleased to see them becoming more easily obtainable.

Spectator shoes are characterised as being brogued or semi-brogued oxford shoes in two tone. Generally the toecap and heel piece will be in one tone (often the darker colour) with the rest of the shoe in the other tone (often the lighter colour). Today there are many differing colour variations with tweed & leather or suede & leather becoming popular.

Below is my lovely pair or Cheaney for Herring Shoes tan and navy suede Co-respondents.

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It is said that the first Spectator shoes were designed by John Lobb in the 1860’s for use during sport (cricket initially then golf and other sports followed) and the name Spectator shoe was adopted when the spectators at the sporting fixtures started to wear this style of shoe. However, during the 1920s and 1930s the design was seen as a bit too flamboyant for a ‘real’ gentleman and so the shoes got a bit of a bad image being associated with cads and bounders.

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson were both well known as lovers of these two toned shoes and it was during this period when the alternative name of the co-respondent shoe seemed to really stick. Because the shoes had a bit of an image problem as being worn by those with questionable scruples the name co-respondent shoe was adopted because the term co-respondent is used in English law for a person charged with misconduct with regard to adultery.

These days you are fortunately unlikely to be judged as an adulterer because of the style of brogue you choose to wear. The spectator, or co-respondent shoe seems to be enjoying something of a comeback and many a smart gent can be spotted sporting them.