BATA Shoe Museum

If you live anywhere in the Niagara region, near Toronto, or in the GTA and are interested in fashion or footwear, then the BATA shoe museum is a must see!

With over 13,000 shoes and related artifacts it is certainly something to behold stretching five floors.   It makes me consider what I could do with my chiropody and footcare office!

The museum spans four galleries, exploring both the function and style of footwear.  For those interested in fashion and its evolution, this is undoubtedly of interest.  For those interested in foot function, foot biomechanics and gait, such as chiropodists or podiatrists, it also stimulates a clinical interest.  After all, as a chiropodist I often need to discuss footwear as part of a treatment plan, or consider function by prescribing custom functional orthotics devices for flat feet or dropfoot.

It was Sonia Bata who, since the 1940’s, built the prized collection.  In 1979 the Bata Shoe Museum Foundation was then established.

On a recent visit I picked up some lovely picture postcards with vibrant images of wonderful types of footwear styles.  These included:

  • Reindeer boots from Finnish Lapland with wool felt trim
  • III-IVcentury Coptic shoes decorated with god leaf
  • Silk shoes from 18th Century England with glass buckles
  • XV Century Chimu Culture Ceremonial Ataderos
  • 19th century Ottoman stilted wooden bathouse shoes.
  • XIX Ceentury Painted Leather sandals from Bolivia
  • 1500-1300BC Palm leaf shoes (Egyptian).
  • Mid XIX Century carved wooden clog from Korea.
  • John Lennon’s Beatle Boot from around 1962

I think my favourite, however, setting my clinician aside and admiring them for their sheer jaw-dropping audaciousness has got to be the massive silver leather platforms worn by Elton John in 1974!  Sporting an E motif, of course!

For more information on the Bata Shoe Museum click here.

Stuart Berry BSc (Hons) Pod Chiropodist/Foot Specialist

12th May 2015

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