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-Pin Work

Pin Work

Pin work is associated with the shoe repair business and can be seen as an extension of repairing heels and soles that were nailed or riveted.

Tiny brass pins are nailed into the sole to form the outline of a design, this can be filled in with coloured wax, creating a fine and elaborate image.

They were often made to go in the shoe repairs shop window to advertise his trade.

This is one of a pair of men’s black leather Oxford shoes from the 1920s. The sole is decorated with pin point work red roses. The donor used to display these shoes as part of his shoe repair demonstrations. They may have originally been created by shoe repairer Harry Stone.

Pin Work

Pin Work


Shoe of the Month-Crocs

Love them or loathe them?

Crocs Inc., is an American company founded by Lyndon ‘Duke’ Hanson, Scott Seamans and George Boedecker in 2002. Based in Boulder, Colorado the firm was created to market a lightweight plastic shoe first developed and manufactured by Form Creations, Quebec.

Originally intended as a boating shoe because of its slip resistant, non-marking sole. The first model was the Crocs beach known as the Cayman. Launched at a boat show, it sold out.

Despite only a small marketing campaign, Crocs became popular through word of mouth. Wearer’s praised their comfort, bright colours, and unique design plus how lightweight they were.

Today crocs are still popular, as both leisure and work wear, but they do tend to divide people into those that love them and those that loathe them.



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

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