Monday, 10 August 2015

Curator's choice: War-time wooden shoes

Our current summer exhibition, Furs, feathers, frills & florals: four decades of fashion, 1919-1959, looks at the development of fashion trends during a period shaped by economic instability and war. These wooden shoes, made in around 1943, are an excellent example of how industry got creative to solve a problem: the rationing of shoes due to rubber and leather shortages.

Red/burgundy suede and rubber wooden shoes (early 1940s)
This fantastic film shows the wooden shoes being made.

As you can see, small pieces of leather were added to these robust shoes to make them more comfortable and quiet. The donor of these shoes informed us that she wore these almost everyday until 1952 as they were so comfy!

Wooden shoes were also coupon free so you could save your coupons for other essential items of clothing. This became increasingly important towards the end of the war when the coupon allocation was reduced.

These wooden shoes, alongside other items of war-time clothing, are on display in the museum until 4th October 2015.