A World of Shoes overview photo

A World of Shoes

  • Type:Campbell Gallery
  • Duration:Temporary

(date) 9/4/2012–2/10/2013

For 40,000 years, shoes have been a part of human life, providing protection, attraction, correction, and comfort. They reflect our status and represent our beliefs. Their fit can change our attitude. Their price can significantly change our bank account. Our speech is filled with shoe-related sayings.

In this exhibit we take a look at the many ways that shoes can be seen in the lives of people around the world, and we start the journey here. Each shoe displayed is unique in construction, material, decoration, and style and gives hints as to the maker and the wearer. All of these factors dictate the wearer’s stride, their attitude, and the image they project to other people.

The main themes of the exhibit—Sports, Style, Soul, Service, Substance, Self, and Sensuality—bring to light many facets of what shoes mean around the world. Among the smallest shoes on display are lotus shoes, worn in China by women with bound feet. Some of the largest footprints are made by clown shoes worn by renowned clown Emmett Kelly when portraying his Weary Willie character. Beautiful examples of leather mosaic work can be found on leather boots from Russia, and silver heels by Jimmy Choo shine in the Style section.