T-bar school shoes have been the ‘in’ fashion with Melbourne schoolgirls for decades, and having clunky laceup shoes is a fate worse than turning up in uniform to a casual day!
The only thing more fashionable than wearing t-bars is wearing them with the straps unbuckled, with the “shuffle shuffle shuffle” sounds of schoolgirls walking down the street became a common sound in schools everywhere.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and so it does for the dominance of t-bar shoes among schoolgirls, vanquished from the acceptable uniform at many schools, and replaced by mandatory laceup shoes. Girls with unbuckled t-bars received most of the blame: one part safety concern by educators anxious about girls tripping over, and another part concern that their sloppy appearance was making their school look bad.
The definitive t-bar school shoe is the Idaho by Harrison, which has gone from cool to daggy and back again in the world of schoolgirl fashion. In the early 2000s it was joined by the Indiana variant, which introduced a softer leather upper and a padded collar, and later by the laceup version of each: the Iowa and Indy respectively.
Such is the popularity of the Harrison shoe that many knockoff versions are available from brands such as Wilde, Roc, Cattivo, and Bata.