Show us your shoes!

Ahead of the opening of SHOES: Inside Out at The Gallery in Winchester, we are putting out an open invitation for visitors to the exhibition to step into the gallery wearing their favourite footwear.  

We want to see the shoes that mean the most to you, for whatever reason! Whether it be the quickly disintegrating Dr. Martens you wear while walking the dog because they are so comfy, or your vacuum sealed rare Air Force One collabs, bring them through!  

Visit our shoe selfie station to take a photo of your special shoes to add to our shoe wall, which will grow throughout the exhibition. 

Why we want your wonderful waders 

SHOES: Inside Out is a beautiful exhibition made up of shoes anchored in societal trends. Read through their appearance, contextual significance and design; these shoes build up a brilliant picture of the complex factors that influence what we wear on our feet and how we wear it. The beauty of the Moccasins below, which feature in the exhibition, tells a visual tale with striking natural motifs. However, without knowledge of provenance, much remains elusive. Although we have had decades of donations, rarely did stories accompany the wonderful objects we received. What is often lost is the personal importance of the shoe to the possessor; this is where our collection may falter, and this is why we want to hear from you. You can help us discover the full extent of what shoes mean to us by having your say in the display!

Women’s moccasin slippers, Chamois leather, cotton lining, velvet apron, multicoloured beadwork. The provenance of the beaded moccasins, including how they came into the collection is unknown - they could be an expression of an indigenous craft skill, showing membership of a specific cultural group or cultural appropriation by an invading European people.

Kickstarting the wall 

As part of the team installing the show, I will kick this off by including a picture of my very own! 

Black and Grey Vans, C. 2010s 

These shoes are worn beyond belief, but I love them still. Walking about in them today is akin to walking barefoot, but I always return to them. Colour, form and legacy first attracted me to the shoe. Vans are synonymous with skateboarding, an activity I have only ever mastered in videogame form through Tony Hawk Pro Skater, a game series with gnarly soundtracks that introduced me to the likes of Motorhead and Rage Against the Machine as a kid. It was fitting, therefore, that I would take up this shoe at the beginning of my alternative awakening. These shoes joined me in my initiation into a world of music that speaks to me, weathering storms of two-stepping, hardcore dancing, circle pitting and crowd surfing. We have a shared history made tangible by signs of wear in the shoe itself, including the utter decimation of the insoles and by the clear grungy style. But only I can tell you about the struggles of tying my laces in a moshpit and having my lost left trainer handed to me by a very kind battle vest-wearing banana... 

As my example proves, every shoe, trainer and sandal have or has had an owner and is defined by their relation to that person.  

Come and show us your shoes and let us know why they are important to you.   

SHOES: Inside Out is open at The Arc, Winchester from 24 November to 6 March  

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