Shoe of the Month – Showing Off

Showing Off

This jockey boot was made by G M Tebbutt of Northampton. It is a perfect miniature version, perhaps made as a sample of the type of footwear manufactured by the firm. Shoemakers also had access to lots of scraps of leather and sometimes used these to make tiny shoes. Some of these are so tiny; you wonder how the shoemaker managed to make them.

Jockey Boot

Jockey Boot

Shoemakers have always been craftsmen. They had served an apprenticeship to learn their trade and were proud of their skills, with a strong history of making exhibition, prize and small scale footwear.

From the late 18th century until the 1860s, prize competitions were held to find the best craftsman. To show off their skills, the shoemakers made special shoes with odd shaped toes and heels and hand sewn seams with up to 40 stitches to the inch (2.5cm)

Special shoes were also made for exhibitions, beginning with the Great Exhibition of 1851. These were full size shoes and could be worn if you could get them on your feet. They all showed a very high standard of workmanship.

 

Shoe of the Month – The Cellona® Shoe

The Cellona® Shoe

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery are always delighted to receive donations of new and innovative shoes to the shoe collection, in particular the orthopaedic / health shoe collection.

The Cellona® shoe is the very latest innovation for those people with bandaged feet. At a time when people are faced with reduced mobility this shoe provides protection and stability. It has a firm reliable base and support, a non-slip sole and creates a good foothold making it easier to walk. It is hygienic and hardwearing. It is fully adjustable for comfort protecting the wearer against wet and cold weather; it can be worn as a closed shoe or open sandal and will fit securely to all foot shapes.

The Cellona® Shoe

The Cellona® Shoe

The shoe has revolutionised the wearer’s ability to walk in comfort with the required support in all weathers.

 

Shoe of the Month – City Mules

City Mules

Feet connect us to the world and help us move through the world. Bare feet are seen as humble, but shoes are vehicles for mobility and therefore linked to status. Different forms of footwear across the world are sometimes limited to members of certain classes by law, social taboos and financial cost. Putting one’s best foot forward involves wearing shoes that signify one’s status, class and ambition.

These women’s ‘City Mules’ are made from wood inlaid with mother of pearl with a leather strap. They came from Syria in 1968.

City Mules

City Mules

Amongst the rural nomadic Bedouin tribes, women and children would often not be able to afford shoes, going barefoot or at most owning simple sandals. Only women who considered themselves wealthy enough to be ‘city ladies’ wore shoes. The more women at a Bedouin wedding wearing shoes, the higher the status of the marriage.

Shoe of the Month – Ski Boots

Ski Boots

Ski boots were originally leather winter boots fixed to the ski with simple leather straps. As skiing became more specialized, the design of ski boots developed, leading to a split in styles between those worn for alpine skiing and those for cross country skiing, including the introduction of a stiffer leg with the advent of the ski lift.

Many ski boot brands were established including in 1950 the Austrian company Humanic . They started manufacturing leather boots before introducing buckles in 1965 and plastic components in the early 1970s. They changed their name to Dynafit in the 70s.

Ski Boots

Ski Boots

These boots were purchased in 1975 by the donor’s father when he first learned to ski. The donor took them on when his father moved onto a more modern pair in the late 70s. They were worn until the mid-80s.

 

Shoe of the Month – Cow’s Mouth

Cow’s Mouth

We get some interesting donations to the Shoe Collection and this shoe is a replica of a much earlier style.

The medieval poulaine, which sported a very distinctive long and pointed toe, disappeared from fashion by 1500. It was replaced with the Tudor cow’s mouth, also known as the hornbill, platypus or the bear paw. This was a flat soled shoe with a broad toe. It could be a simple slip-on shoe or, alternately, have a bar strap across the foot or be fastened with a small buckle. In the 1500s the merchant classes across Europe were beginning to enjoy an altogether wider, more relaxed style. This was a time of great political, intellectual and social change in Europe that coincided with an increase in both the presence and influence of a rich and powerful bourgeoisie. Naturally, the fashions of the day reflected this. Just think of King Henry VIII with his square boxed padded shoulders echoed by his broad toed shoes.

Cow's Mouth Shoes

Cow’s Mouth Shoes

Cow’s mouths were worn across society though the more fancy and shapely they were the higher you were on the social ladder. Amazingly, the soles of some shoes during Henry’s reign reached an incredible 17 cm (6½ in).

This shoe with its wooden last were probably made to illustrate the Tudor style or perhaps for fancy dress?

Shoe of the Month – Beverley’s Trainers

Beverley’s Trainers

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is home to the best public collection of trainers.   The collection covers 1900 to the present day and many well- known and not so well known brands. We are always pleased to add to this collection, so it was with great delight that one of our volunteers on the Virtually Shoe project brought in these trainers as a donation.

Beverley bought them Shoe Zone for £12.99 in 2013. She was keen for a pair of her own shoes to become part of the collection. They are a great example of affordable trainers from the high street.

Beverley's Trainers

Beverley’s Trainers

Shoe of the Month-The Glass Slipper

The Glass Slipper

Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper is a classic feature in one of the most popular Christmas pantomimes of all time.

This glass slipper is too small for Cinderella but in the nineteenth century, such shoe-shaped items were often used to display flowers and as novelty items. They were fashioned from pressed glass made by steam powered presses.

Glass Slipper

Glass Slipper

Glass maybe the acknowledged material for Cinderella’s shoes but in many versions of the story, Cinderella’s shoes are described as golden.

There was an erroneous story that the slippers of Charles Perrault’s story were not made of glass but of fur. It was thought that the confusion sprang from a mistranslation of the word vair meaning squirrel fur rather than verre meaning glass. In fact the slipper has always been glass in European tradition.

We wish you a shoe-tastic Christmas and a Happy Shoe year.