Shoe of the Month – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

These clogs are very special. They were given to the donor’s father by a Dutch family who befriended him during the Second World War. He was in the Army and travelled through France, Holland, Germany and Belgium 1944 – 1945

Clogs are very significant in Holland and are used to celebrate St Nicholas’s Day on December 6. Before they go to bed on St Nicholas’s Eve, some Dutch children still put out their clogs, hoping St Nicholas will fill them with presents by the morning. They also fill the clogs with straw or hay and a carrot as a treat for the Saint’s white horse.

When they wake in the morning, if they have been good the food is gone and sweets and toys are in its place. If they have misbehaved and been bad over the year, the carrot and straw remain and there are no presents, but a cane! Black Peter, a mischievous imp who carries a bundle of canes for use on naughty children, leaves the cane. So remember to be good this year.

Dutch Clogs

Dutch Clogs

Shoe of the Month – First World War Centenary Boots

First World War Centenary Boots

These ‘boots’ were made by artist Val Goldfinch. They were inspired by the centenary of the First World War. The first ‘boot’ is made from an old last and a map of Northamptonshire representing where it would have been made. During the First World War 70 million pairs of boots and shoes were made for the UK’s Forces and allies, with just under 40 million being made in Northampton and the County 

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot

The other ‘boot’ represents its use in the trenches. The last has been built up and the boot is lined with a reproduction trench map and the bootlace has turned into barbed wire and is ‘Battle Scarred’

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot 'Battle Scarred'

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot ‘Battle Scarred’

John Lobb

John Lobb celebrates St. Crispin’s Day with new Limited Edition

John Lobb Shoe

John Lobb Shoe

Every year boot makers honour their patron saint, St. Crispin and since 1996, John Lobb has seen St. Crispin’s Day, on 25th October, as the perfect opportunity to create a new limited edition design, which is then unveiled globally.

This year, in keeping with the spirit of this tradition, John Lobb has designed and crafted another unique limited edition, celebrating their knowledge, experience and high quality craftmanship.

The John Lobb 2014 signals a return to the classic, as a plain toe capped Oxford with an ‘Adelaide’ cut, made on the 7000 last. This particular style of Oxford combines the vamp and quarters to form one piece giving a seamless inside and outside waist and an uninterrupted flow in these areas where the sole meets the waist.

This style is created using the John Lobb Prestige process, one that imitates the appearance of a made to measure with.finely wheeled welts, hand sculptured waists, tapered heels and rounded sole bottoms at the waist to give the ultimate in lightness and comfort.

The iconic ‘Brun Lobb’ colour is achieved by the subtle blend of special creams and waxes. The inside of the shoes are lined with fine calf skin in a chocolate colour.

The John Lobb 2014 is supplied with shoe trees and the sole of each pair is stamped with a limited edition number.

To find out more information about John Lobb, visit their website here‎

And you can also visit the John Lobb Facebook page here to browse through their photo albums featuring vintage editions from the last nineteen years.

Shoe of the Month – Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward

We’re always interested in adding contemporary designer footwear to our shoe collection.

These black patent leather peep toe mules are by the designer Yves Saint Laurent. circa 2005. They were donated earlier this year along with other designer examples.

YSL is a luxury fashion house founded by the designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge in 1961. Today the company markets a broad range of women and men’s ready-to-wear products, including leather goods, jewellery and of course shoes.

Yves Saint Laurent Mules

Yves Saint Laurent Mules

The mules show details that date back to the designs of the 1940s and 50s. They sport a low platform sole and open toe with a retro style bow detail, which were often seen on women’s shoes of the 1940s.

Discover more designer shoes in our collection by clicking here

Ride ‘em Cowboy

Ride ‘em Cowboy

Cowboy boots were traditionally worn by men who rode all day on horseback. The narrow toe of the boot made it easier for the cowboy to find the stirrup quickly when he mounted, and a reinforced steel arch braced him while he rode and roped standing up. The Cuban heel prevented his foot from slipping in the stirrup.

First appearing in the 1860s they may have developed from boots worn by military officers in the civil war or the footwear of Spanish conquistadors in South America.

Decoration varies widely. Early boots were made from cowhide pieces sewn together, but very soon cowboys began asking for decorative stitching, cutouts in the high tops like Texas stars and different materials. Modern examples can be highly decorated and come in the most lurid colours and materials including alligator and ostrich.

Cowboy boots have become an icon of American culture through Hollywood films and have been in and out of fashion ever since. Famous wearers include James Dean, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Springsteen and Rene Zellweger.

Cowboy Boots 1940s

Cowboy Boots 1940s

 This 1940s example was made in Texas.


Record Breaker

Record Breaker

As the Tour de France kicks off this weekend, we are proud to present a pair of cycling shoes worn by the legendary English racing cyclist, Beryl Burton. Burton dominated women’s cycle racing in the UK, winning more than 90 domestic championships and seven world titles as well as setting numerous national records. In 1967, she set a new 12-hour time trial record of 277.25 miles – a mark that surpassed the men’s record of the time by 0.73 miles and was not superseded by a man until 1969.

She also set around 50 new national records at 10, 15, 25, 30, 50 and 100-mile distances; her final 10, 25 and 50-mile records each lasted 20 years before being broken, her 100-mile record lasted 28 years, and her 12-hour record still stands today. And with such an impressive track record, Beryl’s accomplishments led her to compete in the Grand Prix des Nations in 1967, which was a rare opportunity for women cyclists.

These shoes were worn by Burton in 1961 and they were made by Peter Salisbury of Rushden, Northamptonshire. They have a rounded up curved toe with two studs and a metal plate on the sole to fit over the pedals.

Beryl Burton Cycle Shoes

Beryl Burton Cycle Shoes

Beryl’s shoes will be on display in the Life and Sole Gallery from 1st to 31st July 2014. For more information about Northampton Museum & Art Gallery’s collections and exhibitions, visit:

Will He or Won’t He?

Will He or Won’t He?

These Nike Zoomair, 2010 have been worn and signed by Swiss tennis player Roger Federer.

They were purchased at a MAGS (Mines Advisory Group) charity auction using part of a Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures grant to increase the number of trainers and sports shoes we have in our collection.

Nike Zoomair

Nike Zoomair

Wimbledon starts on Monday 23 June and Roger Federer is currently ranked number 4 in the world. Federer has had an illustrious career. He has won a male tennis record 16 Grand Slam singles titles. He is one of seven male players to capture the career Grand Slam, and one of only three (along with Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal) to do so on three different surfaces (clay, grass and hard courts).

Federer has appeared in an astonishing 22 career Grand Slam finals and holds the record of reaching the semi-finals or better of 23 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments over five and a half years from the 2004 Wimbledon Championships through to the 2010 Australian Open.

Many sports analysts, tennis critics, and former and current players consider Federer to be the greatest tennis player of all time. But, will he win this year’s Wimbledon?