Mary Jane Shoes

Mary Jane shoes have been in existence for over 115 years with a history of going in and out of style depending upon trends. While the look of the shoes has changed over the years, traditionally they have a strap across the instep and a rounded and broad toe box with a slight lift in front. They are comfortable, fashionable, and easy to wear. Even Alice in Wonderland wore them.


In case you are not familiar with the name Mary Jane, she was Buster Brown’s sister in the comic strip series that brought joy to many people’s lives. He was the little guy who was the mascot for Buster Brown shoes and said, “I’m Buster Brown, I live in a shoe. That’s my dog, Tige, he lives there too.”

The comic was created by Richard Outcault and published in the New York Herald from 1902 through the 1920’s. Both cartoon characters in the comics wore black shoes with the strap across the top. In 1904, Mr. Outcault sold licenses to numerous companies, including the Brown Shoe Company, for his Buster Brown characters to advertise their products. The Brown Shoe Company hired actors to travel and perform plays using the Buster Brown characters, which successfully promoted their shoe products. Mary Jane Shoes

Buster Brown was the first boy to wear Mary Janes, but other males in history have worn this style of shoe as well. For example, a famous photograph shows John F. Kennedy Jr. wearing Mary Jane shoes at his father’s funeral. Paintings of kings and noblemen show men wearing this style of shoe throughout the middle ages. Watch any movie from the twenties and thirties, and you are likely to see both boys and girls wearing this style of shoe.


The thing about these shoes is that they seem to look good with any outfit you choose. For example, wear some shiny black Mary Jane pumps with a pair of jeans and look styling, or wear Mary Jane Loafers with a skirt and jacket and look classy. It all depends on the look you desire. These shoes come in a variety of styles and are made with and without heels.

Prices for the shoes range from approximately $20 to $319, depending on the store and manufacturer. Classic Mary Janes are made of patent leather, but nowadays they are manufactured in a variety of materials, even cloth. This price versatility gives most people the option to own a pair of these wonderful shoes.

Infants and toddlers, both boys and girls, often wear Mary Janes because they are sturdy and tiny hands cannot easily remove them. The shoes are also cute as anything on a little one. However, it seems that Mary Janes are mostly a shoe for females, though some men enjoy wearing them.


Next time you go shopping for shoes, don’t pass by the Mary Janes. After all, if Alice in Wonderland wore them, they must have some magic.

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