There is no limit to the number of places we can look for fresh material to post on the Smithsonian’s many blogs, but still one of the greatest sources sits right under our noses within the institution’s own collections. After looking at shoe design of the past, present, and future, I decided to comb through the Smithsonian archives to see what types of footwear have been worthy of impressing upon our national memory. Below is a selection of some of the most interesting, from a pair of cloth booties design to adorn the bound feet of Chinese women at the turn of the 20th century, to the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in her 1939 performance of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.
Sarah Rich is a writer and digital media consultant who previously contributed to Smithsonian.com's Design Decoded blog. She co-founded Longshot magazine and is the co-curator of the Foodprint Project.