Staff Standoff: Tennis Shoes vs. Saddle Oxfords

The case for comfort - by Melody Tian
The case for comfort – by Melody Tian

(Why wearing tennis shoes is the way to go)


Every step a student takes in this school should be a comfortable one. For some, it might mean wearing the green and white saddle Oxfords. For me, it’s my tennis shoes. 

One of the main reasons why I appreciate being able to wear my tennis shoes is comfort. We all have unique feet, and what’s comfortable for one person might not be the same for another. Unlike the stiff saddle oxfords, tennis shoes are built to cushion and protect the feet, reducing the chances of discomfort, blisters or foot problems. Allowing students to wear their own tennis shoes ensures that we can navigate the school day without the discomfort or pain that can sometimes come with formal oxfords, which in some cases, may even become a learning distraction. 

Since school uniforms can be financially burdensome, the addition of a pair of $80 saddle Oxfords only increases the financial strain on students and their families. Allowing us to wear our own tennis shoes, which we likely already own, significantly reduces the cost of maintaining our school wardrobe. 

Personally, I also find carrying an extra pair of shoes for PE and athletics can be quite cumbersome. It seems more practical to wear tennis shoes throughout the day, since it eliminates the need to haul around an additional pair of shoes and simplifies my daily routine. I also won’t ever have to worry about leaving my shoes at home and being caught in a situation where I must decide whether to bother my parents to fetch my shoes.  

Though some might argue that wearing saddle Oxfords increases school spirit, the iconic plaid skirt and polo shirt can still stand as symbolic representations of our school’s identity, even if we have a choice in our footwear. In fact, allowing students to express themselves through their choice of comfortable shoes can add to our school’s identity by fostering a culture of inclusivity. 

The idea of allowing students to wear their tennis shoes may seem like a deviation from traditional school attire, but it is more comfortable, cost-effective and convenient. By giving students the option to choose their own footwear, the school can ensure that every step a student takes is, indeed, a comfortable one. 

Scholarly shoes for scholarly students - by Melinda Hu
Scholarly shoes for scholarly students – by Melinda Hu

As a dedicated-saddle-oxford wearer, I can personally attest that saddle oxfords are the superior school shoe.  

Saddle oxfords are white and green leather shoes with rubber soles. They were first introduced as a part of the uniform in 1953. This means that saddle oxfords were not only recognized by Miss Ela Hockaday herself but also have a history of 70 years at Hockaday. The history of oxfords at Hockaday is longer than that of the history of Nike, HOKA, On Cloud or Under Armour, which are some popular shoe brands I’ve seen in the Hockahalls.  

It is also a tradition to wear saddle oxfords at commencement with socks of the college the graduates are attending in the upcoming fall. The scuffed-up oxfords you wore throughout your experience as an Upper Schooler at Hockaday get to accompany you on your final day as a Hockadaisy as you walk across Graduation Terrace.  

Some may argue that the saddle oxfords are uncomfortable, but like any leather shoe, oxfords just need a little breaking in. Once broken in, they feel more comfortable than any other shoe.  

Though it may sound weird, many people love wearing oxfords because of the memories they hold. I started wearing my saddle oxfords my freshman year, gaining the attention of my field hockey team which also had a few members wearing oxfords. We also played a scavenger hunt where whenever we saw one of the members wearing saddle oxfords, we would snap a quick picture and send it to the team group chat. Our team soon came up with a new name for the white and green leather shoes: Scholars. We came up with this name because wearing our saddle oxfords made us feel like scholars and intellectuals. “Scholars” is a name very fitting for students who attend a school where one of the cornerstones is Scholarship.  

Green and white saddle oxfords are unique shoes that represent the history of Hockaday. Any time you see someone rocking the oxfords in the Hockahalls, take notice because you can be sure that Daisy is a Scholar. 

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