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Walk This Way: Historical Shoe Exhibit

These boots may have been made for walking, but now they’re serving an entirely different function. The latest display at the Taft Museum of Art features some fancy footwear in a historical tribute to a variety of different shoes. The collection itself began not as an art exhibit, but as a simple gift exchange between fashion designer Stuart Weitzman and his wife, Jane. When in need of new gift ideas for one another, the couple turned toward historical shoes and eventually compiled enough to form an art collection.

Tomorrow's World Today Walk This Way 1
Photo Credit: Taft Museum of Art

The ‘Walk This Way’ exhibit is all about the stories our shoes can tell about us. There is a lot that can be learned about both the historical time period and the individual wearer based on both the design and wear of the shoe. This exhibit encompasses more than two hundred years of cultural history and the stories behind the people who wore the shoes.

There are many highly coveted shoes included in the collection, such as shoes worn by Civil Rights protestors such as those fighting for women’s labor activism, the fight for suffrage, and the sexual revolution. It includes shoes from Jazz Age flappers and those worn by silver screen starlets. It features shoes worn in the 1867 Paris Exposition and the famous tall red boots featured in Broadway’s ‘Kinky Boots’. There is even a pair signed by the 1941 New York Yankees.

Tomorrow's World Today Walk This Way 2
Photo Credit: Taft Museum of Art

Sarah Ditlinger, Senior Manager of Marketing and Strategic Engagement at the Taft Museum, spoke with WCPO regarding the exhibit’s broad appeal, “I think the wonderful thing about this exhibit is there is something here for everybody, no matter what your particular interests… I’m a huge David Bowie fan, so the rock glam shoes we have featured in ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ is a fun one for me to see.”

The ‘Walk This Way’ exhibit is now on display and will run through June 6, 2021.

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