About Northampton Museums

Home of the largest collection of shoes! Collections also include art, costume, military history, social history, archaeology and natural sciences

Shoe of the Month – Take a Peep

Take a Peep

Made from snakeskin these shoes are from the 1940s. A well-worn and loved size 3, they were worn by Joan and were a present from her husband.

At the beginning of the Second World War a number of crocodile, snake and lizard skin shoes came onto the market, the last stocks of these valuable leathers, which were not suitable for making footwear for the Forces.

Shoe designs at the time were under strict rules. In Britain two inches (50 mm) was the maximum heel height allowed. The heels on these shoes conform to the regulations.

Peep or open toes became popular, although Vogue magazine in 1939 informed its readers that wearing peep toes during the day was like going naked! Vogue maintained that footwear for the street should have a certain integrity and peep toes should only be worn for evening or formal afternoon occasions.

Peep Toed Shoe

Peep Toed Shoe

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Shoe of the Month-Rudolph Slippers

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Instead of Christmas jumpers we have Christmas slippers.

These Rudolph slippers complete with antlers and red noses were made in 1998 by ‘Kekko Fun Slipper’ in Korea. For many people the song of the misfit reindeer saving the day is an integral part of Christmas.

The first reference to Santa Claus having eight reindeer to draw his sleigh is in Clement C. Moore’s 1823 poem ‘A Visit from St. Nicolas.’ So like many other Christmas traditions – Christmas trees and turkey – Rudolph was established as part of nineteenth century folklore.

Happy Christmas from everyone at Northampton Museums!

Rudolph Slippers

Rudolph Slippers

Shoe of the Month-Fantasy Shoes?

Fantasy Shoes?

These amazing shoes were made Kumiko Nishibuchi in 2007 whilst she was undertaking a shoemaking course at Tresham College in Northamptonshire.

They are a pair of women’s beige leather open toed court shoes with looped straps of leather across the instep. They have a removable collar that forms a fan framing the back of the shoe, attached to the high, tapered heels with Velcro.

Would you wear these?

Fantasy Shoes

Fantasy Shoes

Shoe of the Month-Buckle Latchet Shoe

Lost your sparkle?

Dating from 1690 this buckle latchet shoe has faded from its original vibrant orange and the braid has tarnished. It now appears a completely different shoe to when it was new.

In the late 17th Century such shoes would have made a statement about their owner’s wealth with imported brightly coloured silk and a wide band of silver brocade, like a go-faster stripe, from toe to heel. The brocade is made from very thin silver ribbons or strips woven together by highly skilled craftsmen in a very labour-intensive process.

The needlepoint toes and shaped Louis heel were the height of fashion and the shoes would have been fastened with a cut glass or paste buckle.

Buckle Latchet Shoe

Buckle Latchet Shoe

Shoe of the Month-Nigerian Clogs

Nigerian Clogs

This Nigerian clog sandal has been carved from a single piece of wood that has been hollowed-out to create two stilts at front and back. The wood has been decorated with black poker work in geometric patterns around the sides of the clog. Held on the foot with two types of leather thongs; two overlapping wide leather straps are joined by a slimmer, plaited leather cord between the toes. The leather thongs have also been decorated in similar geometric patterns and are threaded through holes in the sole and knotted in place. The sandal has woven leather buttons to fasten the straps together.

Made in 1924.

Nigerian Clogs

Nigerian Clogs

 

Shoe of the Month-Summer Holiday on a Shoe?

Summer Holiday on a Shoe?

Made in California, in 1990, by Two Left Feet these shoes take Carmen Miranda’s signature fruit headdress and relocate it onto flip flops.

These ‘Fruit Flops’ are one of the most cheerful pairs of shoes in our collection. With luscious bunches of green grapes, complete with vine leaves, cherries, flowers and pearl beads decorating the white plastic sandals they cannot help but make people smile.

The Brazilian Bombshell would definitely approve.

Fruit Flops

Fruit Flops

Shoe of the Month-Northampton Shoes

Northampton Shoes

What do you think of as Northampton-made shoes?

Leather?

Traditional?

Craftsmanship?

Plastic jelly shoes?

These women’s plastic jelly shoes are just as important a part of the Northampton shoe industry story as the men’s leather shoes you might automatically think of. They have been made here for over 30 years and are an example of Northampton manufacturers diversifying into new markets while retaining traditional methods and standards.

Originally a family business providing injection moulding services to the boot and shoe industry, in 1986 JuJu Jellies created the original moulded plastic sandals which became known as ‘jelly shoes’. Now a fashion favourite, as well as a summer shoe icon, these shoes are made using the same processes and designs in bright (and glittery) colours. The plastic used to create these shoes is sourced in England and any waste is recycled to be used again.

Jelly Shoes

Jelly Shoes