Dec 6, 2009

Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum, located at the corner of Bloor & St. George, displays a wide array of shoes from different cultures and eras. I've passed by Bata tons of times and I've always wanted to go (out of curiosity). I've never exactly been a foot or shoe fetishist, and since I was a poor student back then, I couldn't justify paying money just to see shoes. And plus, I always weighed my options against food. Pasta loaded with carbs or paying to see a bunch of old shoes?

Last weekend, a brand new pair of socks could get you a free admission into the Bata Shoe Museum. My Chinese instincts kicked in and I immediately went to buy some socks. Who can resist the word "free"?

Poulaine or Crakows. In certain parts of Europe, these shoes were considered as "fashionable" among the elite in the 15th and 16th century. Imagine being kicked in the groin with these bad boys.

Lotus Shoes. No, you are not looking at cute little children shoes. These embroidered footwear are worn by women in China with binded feet. Foot binding was a custom performed on young girls (age 3-11) in China at the end of the 10th and early 20th century. It was practiced amongst the aristocrats in China and was often perceived as a status symbol. For some strange kinky reason abnormally small feet translated into sexual desirability. The process of foot binding includes breaking the bones of your toes and the arch of your feet, and then binding it with cotton bandages. After, it would be unbound periodically and a concoction was use to remove any dead flesh. It was common for their feet to get infected and these conditions could lead diseases or death. Talk about suffering for beauty.

Moccasins. The bead work on this shoe is gorgeous.

Lakota Footwear. You know those nice pretty little patterns on these shoes? Well, they symbolize buffalo intestines, their main food source.

Manolo Blahnik. I wouldn't mind wearing these.

Chestnut Cracking Clogs. The original nutcrackers. Why don't why use these anymore? They can crack way more nuts and can double as a weapon.

Chopines. These shoes were popular in the 15-17th century across Europe. The primary purpose of these Chopines were to increase their wearer's stature and represented their elite status. They were often concealed under a lavish and sumptuous dress. How on earth does one go about wearing such things? I don't even want to think about what would happen if someone were to fall in these shoes.

Venetian or Milanese 16th century Chopine. I think these opulent shoes could potentially be transformed into marginally nice flats if they severed the bottom part.

Paduka. These shoes were worn by wealthy Indian women for special occasions in the 18th century.

Maybe I have bad taste, but I think these shoes are nice.

The basement floor of Bata Shoes Museum.


  1. I remember going there back in grade 8? Might have been grade 7. Some shoes are so weird, I have no idea how they could be worn and how people actually walked in them.
    And omg, you just had to explain the binding *shivers*