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
This 1940s example was made in Texas.
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time trial record of 277.25 miles – a mark that surpassed the men’s record of the time by 0.73 miles and was not superseded by a man until 1969.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’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: www.northampton.gov.uk/museums
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.
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?
Put the Boot In!
Dylan Hartley, the captain of the Saints, wore these rugby boots in several matches.
They are a pair of white leather Blades made in Vietnam and a UK size 11.
Dylan Hartley Rugby Boots
Hartley joined Northampton Saints in the summer of 2005. On 22 July 2009 he was made the captain, replacing Bruce Reihana. In total he has made over 178 appearances for the Saints and has achieved 50 England caps.
Hartley has recently declared “I’m enjoying it. I like my role at the club and I love being captain.”
He is regarded as an important of the Northampton side with powerful performances as a hooker in the scrum and in the loose.
Dylan Hartley Rugby Boots
The museum is delighted to be able to add Dylan Hartley’s boots to the shoe collection. They find a home with ex Northampton Saints rugby player Ben Cohen’s rugby boots.
This striking shoe sc
ulpture is called Willem Ruys and was conceived and made by the Dutch artist Joyce de Gruiter in 2011 / 2013.
With an endless source of inspiration from top designers such as Louboutin, Blahnik, Vivienne Westwood and Jimmy Choo, Joyce de Gruiter designs and manufacturers her own shoe collection Shoes 2 Make U Happy. These are shoes not to wear but to admire. Her shoe sculptures are made of mixed media and wood and finished with 22 carat gold leaf and pearlescent pigments. She takes architectural forms that although playful, sometimes undergo an ironic metamorphosis.
This shoe sculpture was inspired by the passenger ship Willem Ruys which, in the 1940s, brought the designer’s parents from Asia to Europe, which was a meeting of two opposite cultures and literally East meeting West.
Willem-Ruys Shoe Sculpture
The sculpture is made from wood, krijinto, pearlescent paint and gold leaf.
Northampton Museums and Art Gallery is always delighted to expand its collection of shoe sculptures from around the world.
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit
These fabulous boots were designed and made by artist April Phillips in 2013. Can you see what is different about them? Yes, the rabbits have three ears and the boots are, unsurprisingly named The Rabbit Has Three Ears.
These boots are just one pair of five made by Australian artist April Phillips from preliminary sketches made at Hospitalfield House during her Royal Overseas League annual artist residency in 2010.
The Rabbit Has Three Ears Boots
The Imaginary Happenings of Hospitalfield explores the alternative realities of being removed from everyday modern life and how our imagination can transport us to see the world anew.
All of the imagery decorating the boots has been illustrated, hand carved and painted in layers by hand. April Phillips explores a story influenced by the history and unique experience of spending time living and working at Hospitalfield.
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is always keen to add contemporary footwear to the shoe collection and we are delighted to have these wonderful boots in the collection.
Shoes can be made from many different materials. This shoe has been made from Lego!
It was made by Sami Smith aged 8, a local Northampton schoolboy. He is Lego mad and decided one day to create a Lego shoe. It took him most of a day. He then thought where would be the best place to display it and he thought of us at Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, the home to Europe’s largest shoe collection. We are delighted to be able to display it as our February shoe of the month.