Shoes

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.

Exploring Shoes

Photo of Heel-less shoes, Noritaka Tatehana, 2014, Japan. Museum nos. FE.34:1-2015 to FE.34:2-2015. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Heel-less shoes, Noritaka Tatehana, 2014, Japan. Museum nos. FE.34:1-2015 to FE.34:2-2015. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Fifi shoes, Christian Louboutin Ltd, 2014, France. Museum no. CD.28:1 to 8-2014. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Fifi shoes, Christian Louboutin Ltd, 2014, France. Museum no. CD.28:1 to 8-2014. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Platform shoes, Vivienne Westwood, 1993, England. Museum no. T.225:1, 2-1993. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Platform shoes, Vivienne Westwood, 1993, England. Museum no. T.225:1, 2-1993. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Shoes, maker unknown, 1730 – 40, England. Museum no. T.64&A-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Shoes, maker unknown, 1730 – 40, England. Museum no. T.64&A-1935. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Nova shoes, designed by Zaha Hadid in collaboration with United Nude, 2013, UK. Museum no. T.15:1 to 3-2015. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Nova shoes, designed by Zaha Hadid in collaboration with United Nude, 2013, UK. Museum no. T.15:1 to 3-2015. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Child's shoe, maker unknown, China, about 1873. Museum no. 2077(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Child's shoe, maker unknown, China, about 1873. Museum no. 2077(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Boots, designed by Dr Martens/ AirWair Ltd - Dr Martens Department Store, 1994, UK. Museum no. T.90:1 &2-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Boots, designed by Dr Martens/ AirWair Ltd - Dr Martens Department Store, 1994, UK. Museum no. T.90:1 &2-1994. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Yellow ankle boots in Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) lined with cotton jersey, Mary Quant, 1967, London. Museum no. T.591: 1&2-1992. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Yellow ankle boots in Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) lined with cotton jersey, Mary Quant, 1967, London. Museum no. T.591: 1&2-1992. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Boots, Vivienne Westwood, 1991, England. Museum no. T.232:4,6-2002. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Boots, Vivienne Westwood, 1991, England. Museum no. T.232:4,6-2002. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Boots, Dolce & Gabbana, 2000, Italy. Museum no. T.70:1&2-2012. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Boots, Dolce & Gabbana, 2000, Italy. Museum no. T.70:1&2-2012. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Children's waterproof boots, designed by Globoot Footwear, manufactured by Plastic Coatings Ltd., 20th century, UK. Museum no. CIRC.252&A-1971. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Children's waterproof boots, designed by Globoot Footwear, manufactured by Plastic Coatings Ltd., 20th century, UK. Museum no. CIRC.252&A-1971. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Photo of Overshoes, unknown maker, 1550 – 1070 BC, Egypt. Museum no. 865&A-1903. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Overshoes, unknown maker, 1550 – 1070 BC, Egypt. Museum no. 865&A-1903. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Learn more about Shoes

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