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Shoe Gallery

The new permanent Shoe Gallery celebrates the wonderful world of footwear.

At the very heart of the gallery are the stories of the people who design, make and wear shoes.

Red framed doorway surrounding entrance into a gallery with objects and display cases.


The gallery will take you on an engaging journey through the history of shoe fashions from 5300 BCE up to the present day exploring how shoe fashions have been constantly modified and re-invented in response to new materials and technologies, changes in the industry and even to world events. A section on making explores how shoes are made including handmade bespoke, Northamptonshire factory made and mass factory production. Three diverse shoe designers share their design inspiration and different approaches to the design process. You can explore how we choose shoes for many reasons. They help to protect our feet, provide comfort and aid mobility. But, we can be seduced by advertising, brands, celebrity endorsements and even the pleasure of shoe shopping. A large part of the gallery looks at why we wear the shoes we do and how they can communicate who we are, who we want to be and how we would like others to see us.  Shoes are potent and powerful items that can track our journeys through life.

Our shoe collection

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery