A timeline of footwear styles compiled by footwear designer Caroline Southernwood. With thanks to Rebecca Shawcross and the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery for permission to use their images.
A reproduction of one of the earliest known shoe styles, made from cured cowhide and secured with twine.
Leather sandal with a coptic Y-strap.
A fashionable style throughout the medieval period, the length of the ‘pointes’ was periodically regulated by law.
With heights up to 45 cm (18 in.), chopines emerged as a popular women’s style during the Renaissance, although they were originally practical over–shoes.
The shoe rose
Ladies’ silk satin mule, embroidered in coloured threads and sequins.
Ladies’ silk brocade shoes.
The French heel
Ladies’ silk damask mules.
Men’s red Morocco and black patent Wellington boot, a style popularised by the 1st Duke of Wellington.
Men’s factory-made leather Derby boot
Mechanisation transformed the process of making shoes in the 19th century.
Men’s black Bordeaux calf leather, racing jockey boot.
Women’s glacé kid leather brogue Oxford shoes.
Three jewelled heels
Ladies’ shoes, from the roaring twenties.
Pink leather strap sandals with diamanté buckles.
Platform sole sling back.
Green silk ladies’ stiletto
Dr Martens AirWair
The making of a classic – the first boot off the production line in 1961.
Designed by Terry de Havilland.
Union Jack glitter boots
Made by Shellys London and popularised by the Spice Girls.
Super Elevated Ghillie Shoe
Manufactured in green mock crock leather and designed by Vivienne Westwood.
Caroline Groves, Sepia
Bespoke handmade shoes, 2021
Handmade bespoke sneakers
Sneakers made using recycled materials, Helen Kirkum Studio.