Monica D. Murgia

Art, creativity, and fashion
August 26th, 2012 by Monica Murgia

Who wants a pair of Fred Braun shoes?

Back in November, I found a pair of never-been-worn Fred Braun shoes.  The olive color and kitten heel was such a cute combination, I couldn’t pass them up.  It’s now August of the following year.  I have yet to even attempt to wear them, and they fit me perfectly!

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The post I wrote on Fred Braun received so many comments!  Clearly, I had unknowingly stumbled upon a true Urban Shoe Myth.  Fred Braun was a New York based shoe designer during the 1960s & 1970s.  He had several boutiques throughout Manhattan, including: the Village, Lexington Avenue near 50th Street, and 34th Street.  As the shoes became more in demand, they were carried in independent retailers throughout Brooklyn.

 

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The shoes still have a cult following, and there are message boards where devotees reminisce about their favorite styles, and the iconic red and white striped boxes they came in.  Fans explain that the shoes came in specialty sizes, and were beautifully made.
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Since I’m not going to wear these, I’d love to offer them to someone who appreciates them!  I’m sure there is a happy home out there for this beautiful pair of Fred Braun shoes.  They are unmarked, but fit me perfectly.  I’m a US 8.5, European 39, and UK 6.  I ship internationally.  $50 and they are yours!

 

Comments

48 Responses to “Who wants a pair of Fred Braun shoes?”
  1. susan patti says

    CRAP! I am in love and only a size 7! I wish my foot was bigger, or you had smaller feet. They are gorgeous shoes.

  2. When I was in high school there was a shop on the Grand Concourse. I’m the Bronx – where you went to buy Fred Braun flats. You then took them to the shoemaker who put taps on them. They were a status symbol. I wear size 10 now but I would love to have a pair!

  3. I sold the pair to a really nice lady in Manhattan. Wish I was around during the heyday to see the store. I know there was also a location on the LES later. If I come across any more, I’ll be sure to contact you! Thanks for reading.

  4. Fred Braun flat brown leather shoes, which we stylishly wore with bleached sweat socks (the bleach process turned them a warm beige) and bellbottoms, tights or stockings were amazing looking uber comfortable shoes! Mr. Braun was amazing with the numerous flat shoe styles that he created. I believe that the black girls from Harlem got this trend started. I remember I would spend at least a quarter of my after school part-time job paycheck to buy the latest style. I mustve had more than a dozen pairs! I wish someone would redesign his old styles!

  5. Hi Ester. I agree with you! The shoes were of such high quality, and everyone loved them. Maybe a contemporary company will do a re-release of his styles!

  6. Yes a co-worker and I were just reminiscing about the stylish Freddies we used to rock and the status symbol they portrayed. I had one of those hard to fit large feet and no matter what style of Fred Brauns I tried on, it was custom made for me. I hate to sound cliche, but those were the good ole days!

  7. My Fred Braun’s were so well loved…! I went into a store in NYC while visiting my big sister from out of town, and she bought them for me. They were a claret or burgundy red tie shoe, with a round toe and stitching on top of the toes. They had a nice wedge, covered in the burgundy leather, with a sort of light colored gummy rubber sole. I wore them constantly and for a long time, until they just couldn’t be worn any more. Then I vaguely recall getting another pair, similar oxford tie with gummy bottom, a couple of year later… Anyone remember these?

    Monica, certainly if you come across any more, please post! (7.5 or 8!!) Thanks everyone for sharing.

  8. I’m always on the lookout! I can’t tell you how much I wish I could find a pair in my size (8.5). If I find anything, I will be sure to post! Thanks for reading and commenting :)

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  37. Fred Braun says

    please help me find the styles from 1971-1974 the flats w/the buckle across & they tie ups & the two tone all leather, leather soles they were the greatest! I’m from queens & during those years that’s all we wore. There’s no quality shoes like that anymore everything is faux leather w/ridiculous prices. Do u think they came even be found???

  38. Cecelia jewell says

    I don’t know if anyone is still following this topic but today I was feeling nostalgic about Fred Braun shoes. I worked at the 8th street store, then the Lexington ave store and eventually the store on sixth ave during 1967. I was 18, a Harlem teenager taking a break from college and it was my first job. I was interviewed for the job by Fred braun’s wife Renata.Mr. Braun was in poor health and in a wheelchair. His wife was considerably younger but she seemed to take loving care of him. The salesgirls (most of whom were German) got great discounts so I was able to buy shoes sandals a purse and a luscious chocolate suede skirt and vest that closed with leather buttons. I have great memories of the Village and the bohemian “Hippie” culture that infused the neighborhood.

  39. Marilyn says

    I’m still following this topic! Thanks for sharing your memories… what a fantastic first job! I’m still hoping to run into some long lost shoes that someone might still have!

  40. I REMEMBER PICKING UP MY $37.66 NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH CORP PAY CHECK DURING THE SUMMER AT THE HARLEM ARMORY; CASHIG THE CHESK AT MANUFACTURERS HANOVER TRUST ON 125TH ST; GETTING SOMETHING TO EAT AT THE WOOLWORTHS COUNTER ON 125TH ST (RUNNING OUT WITHOUT PAYING) HOPPING THE “DYNAMITE D” TRAIN TO 34TH ST; THE $5.00 LEE JEANS FROM EJ KORVETTES(THE BLACK KIDS WORE THE LEES AND THE WHITE KIDS WORE THE LEVIS)SPLURGING $18.00 FOR A PAIR OF ROUND TOE OR DIAMOND TOE OR TWO TONE ALL LEATHER (UPPER, SOLE, INSOLES)FRED BRAUNS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL) AND HAVING $10.00 LEFTOVER WHEN WE GOT BACK UPTOWN TO BUY A PAIR OF PRO KED SNEAKERS FROM THE ARMY NAVY OR VETS STORE ON 125TH ST….$3.00 BAGS OF WEED WITH 5 JOINTS IN THE BAG…..GREW UP IN THE PROJECTS..THOSE WERE THE GREATEST DAYS OF MY LIFE….I’M A 55 YR OLD GRANDMA NOW….MEMORIES!!!!!

  41. I DON’T REMEMBER FRED BRAUNS HAVING GUMMY RUBBER SOLES…I DO REMEMBER SOME SHOES LIKE THAT, BUT I REMEMBER FRED BRAUNS BEING SOLIDLY WELL-MADE HAND STITCHED ALL LEATHER SHOES…I REMEMBER GETTING EITHER THE STEEL OR RUBBER TAPS ON THE BOTTOMS….ALSO, IF IM NOT MISTAKEN, I THOUGHT THE STORE IN THE BRONX WAS CALL FRED MICHAELS AND WAS ON 3RD AVE DOWN THE BLOCK FROM ALEXANDER’S AND HEARNS….I COULD BE WRONG….ALSO, REMEMBER OHBACHS; FRANKLIN SIMON; GIMBELS; KORVETTES; B. ALTMANS; AND LATER DELTONS SHOES ON 34TH ST AND A FABULOUS LITTLE STORE CALLED KAZOOTIES ON 34TH ST BACK IN THE 70’S WITH THE NICE DRESS PANTS FOR $7.OO; THE LUNCHONETTE STAND IN THE 34TH ST IND TRAIN STATION UNDER MACYS AND THOSE SUBWAY PRETZELS; THE GUYS PLAYING 3 CARD MONTE; AND MACY’S “LITTLE SHOP” ON THE 6TH FLOOR THAT SOLD THE FLY ASSED SHOES…..OH LORD!!!!

  42. THIS IS IT FOR ME FOR TONITE…..I’M GOING TO GO LAY DOWN AND WATCH THE NEWS AND THE BIG BANG THEORY (AFTER ALL, I’M NOW A 55 YR OLD STILL WORKING FULL-TIME FAT GRANDMA)I THINK THE GOOEY-HEELED RUBBER SOLE SHOES THE OTHER PERSON IS TALKING ABOUT WERE CALLED “MARHSMALLOWS”…THEY DIDN’T COME CLOSE TO COMPARING TO FRED BRAUNS….WE’RE TALKING ABOUT 40 YRS AGO…THE GUY STILL KNELT DOWN AND MEASURED YOUR FOOT BACK THEN AND THEY HAD SHOEHORNS IN THE STORES TO HELO U GLIDE YOUR HEEL DOWN INTO THE SHOE…AND SPEAKING OF SHOES….REMEMBER THE FELLAS USED TO WEAR THE HI OR LOWTOP PLAYBOYS AND SAVE UP FOR A LEATHER OR SUEDE FRONT SWEATER FROM AJ LESTER ON 125TH ST….WE HARLEM KIDS THOUGHT WE WERE THE FLYEST, BADDEST THINGS OUT THERE…..BUT WE HAD FUN; LOVED AND RESPECTED EACH OTHER; RESPECTED OUR ELDERS; CARRIED OLD LADIES PACKAGES JUST BECAUSE WE WERE SUPPOSED TO; FOUGHT AND MADE UP THE NEXT DAY; WERE SCOLDED BY EACH OTHERS PARENTS (OR SLAPPED!!)HAD JOE PAPP THEATRE IN THE PS 125 BASEBALL FIELD EVERY SUMMER; HAD GENUINE HAND-MADE LEATHER SANDALS MADE BY BOW-LEGGED WEST INDIAN HURK WHO WORKED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE PROJECT (430 TO BE EXACT)FOR APPOX $10-12…SHOPPED ON DELANCEY ST EASTER MORNING FOR OUR EASTER OUTFIT CUZ MOM OR POPS DIDN’T HAVE ANY MONEY UNTIL THE SATURDAY NITE BEFORE CUZ ONE OF THEM GOT LUCKY AND HIT A 5 OR 10 CENT NUMBER…I COULD REMINESCE FOREVER….WE WERE A TIGHT BUNCH US HARLEM PROJECT KIDS….NOT ALL OF US MADE IT; AND SOME OF US MADE IT BIG….BUT WE HAD BIG FUN…..GOOD NITE

  43. Hey Alice – I can’t believe comments are still coming in about this, and that I still read them! Awesome! Though not a New Yorker, I appreciate all the sharing about those times… I have to say I may be the one you refer to who mentioned the Fred Braun shoes with gummy soles… indeed, they were Fred Braun. In fact, the first pair, burgundy, was from 1973 (yikes, and that’s 40 plus years ago) and the replacement I got were very similar in brown, probably not too long after that. Someday I’ll find a picture! It’s funny because at that stage in my life, I wasn’t tuned in at all to the more dressy or all leather shoes – I liked the tie ones that were pretty rugged for school days! Anyway, thanks for sharing memories of those times in your city.

  44. Barbara Ehrmann says

    Thanks, all for the great memories of my favorite NY shop…many remembrances of being a teen in the ’60s and taking the train from Westchester down to the Village… Fred Braun was a regular stop. I will never again love shoes that much! Round- toed , sturdy brown leather and thick- soled, with top stitching- similar to the Doc Martins of today. I still have 2 dark, chestnut brown shoulder bags from that time, with little turn clasps…. pre- Coach days, similar stying…true Euro/hippy wear. Where did the days go- I’m now a 60-something Grandma, still proudly wearing my gray hair long and parted down the middle , and toting my Fred Braun purse!

  45. are u sure that was not fred michaels

  46. this harlem girl loved fred brauns clarks,bunnies,tunisis, village w 8th st memories.found empty box in salvation army lost my mind

  47. lol miles & national shoe stores came out with the fakes

  48. Barbara, so glad to hear that someone else remembers the tie shoes that Fred Braun did back in the early 70s! I smiled when I read your description (sturdy, thick soles, top-stitching… so cool!! and so comfortable!!). You are a lucky lady to still have a purse or two to use – I never was aware of the purses during my two brief visits to the shop, but I can imagine they are great… let Monica (or me!) know if ever you’re willing to sell one of your shoulder bags.

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