Found throughout the Museum

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We have an unrivalled collection of shoes, with around 2,000 pairs spanning more than 3,000 years of history from different cultures around the globe. From hemp shoes found on the ancient Silk Road from the 1st Century BC to Venetian platform shoes typical of the 16th century, shoe design and construction reveals remarkable inventiveness.

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The breadth of our collection shows the chronological progression of shoe height, heel shape and materials, exposing just how many styles we consider to be modern have been in and out of fashion across the centuries.

Collection Highlights

pair of shoes
Pair of shoes, made by Noritaka Tatehana, 2014, Japan
Fifi, shoes, designed by Christian Louboutin, 2014, Paris, France
pair of platform shoes
Pair of platform shoes, designed by Vivienne Westwood, 1993, England
pair of shoes
Pair of shoes, unknown, 1730 – 40, Britain
Nova shoes, designed by Zaha Hadid and United Nude, 2013, UK
child's shoe
Child's shoe, about 1873, Shache, China
pair of boots
Pair of boots, designed by Dr Martens/AirWair Ltd, Dr Martens Department Store, 1994, UK
pair of ankle boots
Pair of ankle boots, designed by Mary Quant, 1967, UK
Boots, designed by Vivienne Westwood, 1991, UK
pair of boots
Pair of boots, designed by Dolce & Gabbana, 2000, Italy
waterproof boots
Globoot children's waterproof boots, designed by Globoot Footwear, manufactured by Plastic Coatings Ltd., 20th century
pair of shoes
Pair of shoes, 1550 – 1070 BC, Egypt


Background image: Cunningham White shoes, Mr. Hare Ltd, 2015, designed in England, made in Italy. Museum no. T.19:1&2-2015. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London