Semi-Permanent Exhibition


Take a fascinating journey and experience the many facets of footwear – its evolution and symbolism through the ages, the methods and materials of its manufacture and its place in our imaginations.  The Museum’s flagship exhibition, All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages, is a voyage through 4500 years of footwear.





GalleryImage2Fashion returns to the Bata Shoe Museum with an exciting area dedicated to style in our All About Shoes semi-permanent gallery.  Fashion Afoot is an exciting look at the development of fashion shoes in the 20th century.

No longer hidden beneath voluminous skirts, the shoe emerged as an essential fashion accessory.  Its ascendancy also lifted the cloak of anonymity from the shoe designer.   Over the course of the century, a handful of visionaries profoundly influenced fashion and many became adored celebrities in their own right.  Visitors will be able to see how much shoes changed decade by decade in response to design, politics, and social change.

Along with our new fashion area, function is also explored in the revamped section of the All About Shoes gallery called What’s Their Line. Offering visitors an in-depth look at footwear with a purpose, What’s Their Line features shoes that are both ordinary and extraordinary.

The most practical reasons for donning specialized footwear are to protect feet from injury, permit us to do a better or easier job, and improve our performance. Around the world and throughout history, footwear has been designed in unique ways to satisfy these needs.  Shoes that serve as tools are remarkable and fascinating inventions.  No matter how limited the applications might be, appropriate footwear is essential in many jobs and for many occupations.  And keep in mind that these seemingly ordinary and extraordinary shoes have altered jobs and lives over the past two centuries. Chestnut crushing clogs from France and sumo wrestler’s geta from Japan are not to be missed!