Skip to content

The Gold Standard: Glittering Footwear From Around the Globe

Start Date 01 January 2018
End Date 31 December 2018
Venue Bata Shoe Museum
Location Toronto, Canada
Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack

The Gold Standard: Glittering Footwear from Around the Globe features some of the Bata Shoe Museum’s most impressive and precious artifacts, and explores the meanings and cultural uses of golden footwear across the globe. 

The gleam of gold has always seduced humanity. Treasured for its incorruptibility and remarkable shine, gold has been used ornamentally since time immemorial and as currency since at least the Bronze Age.  Gold has ornamented the powerful and adorned the divine for thousands of years. But gold for shoes? It seems improbable. Yet golden footwear has been central to expressions of status and style in numerous cultures. From royal shoes to fashionable sneakers, the gleam of golden footwear has been used to proclaim privilege and flaunt status worldwide. 

Curated by the BSM’s Senior Curator Elizabeth Semmelhack, and comprised solely of artefacts from the BSM collection, The Gold Standard examines objects as diverse as Ancient Egyptian golden funerary sandals to rare 16th century Italian chopines to contemporary gleaming gold sneakers. Together, the objects tell the story of the ongoing popularity of golden footwear and the complex history behind its allure.