Friday, July 10, 2009
What's That About: Spring-O-Lator Mules
Am spending some time with my lovely in-laws, and unexpectedly learned of a vintage accessory that I had never heard of before.
The story is poignant--a Christmas day come and gone without a hoped-for engagement ring. The sad lady in question was my mother-in-law, who had so hoped that Santa (in the form of her boyfriend) would leave a sparkly diamond under the tree. But it was not to be, even though she had dressed to kill, in a pretty holiday frock and her best "shoes with the spring in the sole."
At this point I said "huh?"
"Oh, you know," she said. "Those mules. The ones with a special spring on the bottom so they wouldn't slip off while when you walked."
I jumped on eBay as soon as discretion allowed to see if I could find a pair of these mysterious mules. And lo, within 30 seconds, there they were. Spring-O-Lators, patented in the mid-50s and, according to this interesting history, and this fabulous photo gallery, the must-have shoe of every glamour gal in the country. Everyone from burlesque strippers to Mary Tyler Moore (above!) to the girl next door.
The mind reels. A mule that stays on the foot, doesn't slip off, or go clack-clack-clack as you walk across a wooden floor. They're only available on secondhand, on eBay and other specialty sellers.
Why have they been jilted by the contemporary shoe world?
(BTW, my mother-in-law finally did get that ring, from that very boyfriend. Nobody knows what happened to the shoes.)