Korea

Like the Japanese, the Koreans go shoeless indoors, where they don thin white cotton socks. A flat, enclosed shoe with a low cut vamp, made of silk, felt, cotton, or leather, was customarily worn outdoors.

Adult Korean attire is traditionally white or black, mixed with neutrals, but children's and unmarried women's clothing sometimes features the most vivid of colours, including brightly hued shoes and straw sandals for special occasions.

In rural areas, thin woven straw sandals called chipshins were worn, and for wet weather, stilted wooden clogs called namakshins helped lift the wearer away from puddles and mud. For the upper classes, leather shoes with metal studs were worn, and shoes made completely of brass, used for ceremonial purposes, were also instrumental in conveying the wearer's high status.

For conservation reasons, and in order to show more variety over time, only a selection of footwear from the permanent collection is displayed in our exhibitions at any one time. This means there's always something new to see.

image of footwear from Korea