Tiptoe through the ages with the story of footwear
Housed on the sixth floor of the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, the Shoe Museum blends the serious and the whimsical to examine why people wear what they do on their feet. The shoes tell a story that is more cultural than medical, with tales that tread through many ages and lands.
You can follow platform shoes from China in the last millennium to Europe in the last century to Hollywood and teen fashion in the last two decades. Then you can hop over to the First Ladies display to evaluate their White House fashion sense. After looking at Egyptian burial sandals, a circus giant’s size 18 shoes and Eskimo boots, you may never again put on just any old pair of shoes.
The museum was founded in 1976 as an attraction for the national Bicentennial celebration. Since then, it has added shoes of historic significance and those from famous folks in politics, the arts and sports. It also features the footwear collection of Dr. H. Augustus Wilson, a 19th-century Philadelphia orthopedist, on loan from the Mutter Museum.
By Appointment Only
The collection of tiny “lily shoes,” used in the Chinese custom of binding a girl’s foot for alleged beauty, is heart-rending.
Some Kids’ Stuff
Compare your feet to those of famous athletes like Joe Frazier and Julius Erving, whose shoes are enshrined here.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
Broad and Spruce Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19102
- The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia
- Henry J. Cadbury Library
- Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
- The Barnes Foundation
- Emergence of a Modern Metropolis Walking Tour
- Philadelphia Open Studio Tours
- Mütter Museum
- Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
- View more attractions
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