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May 20th, 2009

Shoes on Show: UC Davis

Candela by Sam EdelmanI read today that the Design Museum at the University of California, Davis is hosting a footwear exhibit. Is it just me, or does exploring the history, influence, and impact of shoes seem to be a growing trend? As one curator of a shoe museum in Toronto puts it, shoes are a “really interesting stepping stone into larger cultural issues.”

The exhibition, cleverly titled “Stepping Out: Footwear from around the World,” features nearly 70 pairs of shoes and will run until July 12. Patrons can expect to see men’s and women’s footwear, and everything from moccasins to sneakers to boots to sandals — all uniquely crafted with a message.

A recent piece reviewing the shoe show took the angle that shoes can have stories — some good, some bad — that most everyone can identify with. It briefly discusses the historical relevance of shoes and their implications regarding social status. In the past, and even today, it’s easy to identify the nature of someone’s work by the type of soles they sport. For instance, when is the last time you saw a Fortune 500 CEO tromp into his office wearing muddy work boots?

Furthermore, the exhibit also aims to address the psychological impact shoes have on us. Shoe blogger Meghan Cleary said: “Shoes, more than any other item of fashion that we put on our body, have a physiological impact on us — they affect the way we walk, the way we carry ourselves. There’s so much we can tell about people from their shoes.”

What are your shoes saying about you?

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