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I’ve been meaning to visit the Bata Shoe Museum for a while and Thursday’s unseasonably cool weather seemed like an opportune time to do just that. I’d visited a number of years ago and had forgotten just how interesting a place this is!

Shoes tell a story not only of style but also of lifestyles and their cultural, religious and climatic influences. Sonja Bata started collecting shoes back in the 1940s and the museum opened it’s doors in 1995. It houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive shoe collection with 12,500 artifacts spanning 4,500 years of history.

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I started my visit with some hands-on, or rather, “feet”-on interaction. I couldn’t resist! I haven’t worn platform shoes since the 1970s and indulged in a few shoe-selfies.

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And, on to the current exhibitions.

All About Shoes: Footwear Through the Ages – an awesome historical and international exhibit

Indian. Shoes were often an indication of status.

Indian. Shoes were often an indication of status.

Chinese. The ideal size was considered to be san zun, which equates to 7.6 cm or 3 in. Such feet were called Golden Lotuses.

Chinese. The ideal size was considered to be san zun, which equates to 7.6 cm or 3 in. Such feet were called Golden Lotuses.

14th century

Detail of a 14th century artwork.

German Sabaton, 15th century.

German Sabaton, 15th century.

Notable People

Marilyn Monroe wore these red pumps while visiting Montreal.

Marilyn Monroe wore these red pumps while visiting Montreal.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood's gorgeous quirky pumps with peacock feather.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s gorgeous quirky pumps with peacock feather.

Collected in the Field – an exhibit highlighting the craft of traditional footwear

Mongolian, early 20th century.

Mongolian, early 20th century.

Beauty, Identity, Pride – didn’t have enough time to photograph any other artifacts from this collection

Native, South Western

Native, South Western

Fashion Victims – an exhibit of 19th century footwear

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French, 19th century embroidered boot

19th century fashion trend for bright colours was later considered gawdy by the more privileged.

19th century fashion trend for bright colours was later considered gawdy by the more privileged.

Portrait. Shoeshine boy.

Portrait. Shoeshine boy.

This was definitely an entertaining way to spend an evening. In case you’re wondering what I wore – it was my Sperry Top-siders.

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Have you been to the museum? Are you a shoe person? What stories do your shoes hold?

Linking up with Sheila’s Shoe Shine.

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