Shoe of the Month – Fit for a Duke

Fit for a Duke

Wellington boots have evolved from the original style developed during the Napoleonic Wars and named after the First Duke of Wellington. For much of the Noughties they have been synonymous with Glastonbury and Kate Moss.

The practical wellington has had a close relationship with fashion throughout its history. The close fitting boots were a key part of the ‘heroic’ uniforms of the Napoleonic era as epitomised by the elaborate uniforms of the 10th Hussars. The dress uniform was designed by the Prince Regent, later George IV, and was so impractical that they became known as ‘The Prince’s Dolls’.

Modern wellingtons were first an anti-fashion statement by those with a lifestyle to warrant them that were later adopted by the London fashion set in response to the conditions at Glastonbury. This lead to Hunter wellies in particular becoming part of the festival ‘uniform’ and having an unexpected icon within British fashion with the desirability and cache to match.

Hunter Wellies

Hunter Wellies

For more information about the Duke of Wellington’s wellingtons see this Shoe of the Month from 2015:



Shoe of the Month-It’s Not Easy Being Green!

It’s Not Easy Being Green!

These limited edition Adidas Originals Kermit the Frog trainers were part of the 2005 relaunch of Adidas’ Adicolor range. The original 1983 Adicolor range were white trainers that were sold with special quick drying pens to allow the wearer to customise their footwear. This individuality and the innovative designs created led to their cult status.

The 2005 range continues the humour and quirkiness of the concept by collaborating with a group of artists and pop culture icons, like Kermit.

Kermit the frog trainers

Kermit the frog trainers



Shoe of the Month-A Pair of Grubby Old Boots?

A pair of grubby old boots?

Button Boots

Button Boots

These lovely girl’s button boots from 1890 are a little battered. They are stained, faded and have been squashed.

But underneath the scalloped button holes is a hint of their original beauty.

When new the kid leather of these boots would have been a bright blue with contrasting white glass buttons and pink satin lining. The leather has now faded to dirty cream but the elegant shape of the boots with their rounded square toes, low covered Louis heels and shaped top remains.

Happy New Year from everyone at Northampton Museums and all the best for 2018!


Shoe of the Month-J’adore Dior

J’adore Dior

These beautiful blue/grey satin court shoes sporting a bow and diamante trim were made under the Christian Dior label for Harrods, London, in about 1955.

Christian Dior is famous for designing the New Look in 1947. Characteristics of this new look were a jacket nipped in at the waist and a wide flowing skirt. A hat, gloves and of course a pair of court shoes with pointed toes and stiletto heels completed the look.


J'adore Dior

J’adore Dior

Shoe designer Roger Vivier usually takes the credit for inventing the stiletto heel. As shoe designer to Christian Dior from 1953, Vivier designed bespoke shoes for Dior’s couture collection as well as models for a ready-made series that carried both of their names on the label.

Shoe of the Month – Webb’s Wonders

Webb’s Wonders

This classic Oxford shoe was made by the George Webb factory.

George Webb and his two sons, Dennis and Frank established the business in 1927. They manufactured men’s welted footwear at the Mentone Works in Brockton Street, Kingsthorpe Northampton. The works were extended in 1935 and again in 1967. In the 1960s they also opened factories in both Wellingborough and Walgrave.

George Webb made beautiful men’s shoes under the brands of Mentone, Castillo, World-Walk and Savile Row.

Oxford Shoe by Webb's

Oxford Shoe by Webb’s


Shoe of the Month – Authentic Shoes

Authentic Shoes

Japanese shoemaker Toshinosuke Takegahara of the Authentic Shoe & Company hand made this pair of exquisite leather toe thong sandals. They show perfectly the great skill involved in creating such traditional footwear.

Authentic Shoes

Authentic Shoes

This style is known as Zori in Japan. The design is thought to have been developed in the mid 16th century by Sen-no-rikyu, one of Japan’s famous artists. It was a very practical sandal as it ensured that the wearer’s feet were kept dry on the snow covered ground. Special socks called tabi would have been worn which have a separate big toe to enable them to be worn more comfortably. You may have seen similar shoes called geta. These have a toe thong too but have an elevated platform sole.



Shoe of the Month – Mary Quant Fashion Boots


In the 1960s swinging London became the capital of the fashion world.

Famous as being inventor of the mini skirt, Mary Quant was one of the first designers to aim fashion at the hip and happening trendsetting girls on the street.

Quant’s Chelsea boutique Bazaar opened in 1955 where in the early 1960s she launched her London look of slim line shift dresses with rising hemlines that showed plenty of leg.

‘Legs never had it so good’, boasted the British press.

As hemlines rose, the increase in expanse of leg drew attention to the feet. Quant brought out her Quant a Foot range of fashion boots in bright coloured plastics. These are from the early 1960s.

Mary Quant Fashion Boots

Mary Quant Fashion Boots