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Kansans have sported all kinds of foot coverings from leather and beaded moccasins to fancy cowboy boots. There are shoes to match different lifestyles. Though they began as function, shoes have often become character defining.

Some of the earlier shoes were handmade of leather or wood, the pairs unique. During the industrial era shoes were produced by manufacturers, which led to consistency. Newer technology available in the 20th century offered an explosion of colors, materials, and styles.

The Kansas Museum of History collections include a wide range of shoes for many uses in many materials: wood, leather, plastic, and rubber.

Beaded moccasins
Beaded moccasins, 23.39.2 Brewer's clogs, 1920.47.163 George Armstrong Custer's boots, 1924.34.1
Slippers worn to a ball for Marquis de Lafayette
Slippers worn to a ball for the Marquis de Lafayette in 1784, 1947.25.0 Woman's burgundy beaded slippers, 1961.109.34 White kid leather woman's boots with a nine button front and lined with white cotton, 1964.41.1
Governor Fred Hall's cowboy boots
Olympic track shoe, 1966.67.1 Woman's black satin high-heeled evening sandals decorated with gold and silver metallic trim, 1971.101.43 Governor Fred Hall's cowboy boots decorated with Kansas symbols, featuring large state seal on front in both appliquéd and embroidered handiwork, 1972.134.1
Women's pumps
P. F. Flyer tennis shoes, 1976.76.41 Man's blue canvas tennis shoes with front lacing, closed tab, round toe, metal eyelets, and white cotton laces, 1976.76.42 Women's pumps, 1976.117.37
Leather moccasins, used by western artist Lawrence Coffel, with thong laces, beaded uppers, blue with small red and yellow designs, hand sewn with sinew, 1977.206.22 Men's black leather shoes, 1983.35.25 Women's green shoes, 1988.15.9
Child's red rubber galoshes
Hyer boots with the University of Kansas Jayhawk, 1999.16.1 Uniform boots worn during the Korean War, 2006.1.1 Child's red rubber galoshes made of soft molded rubber/plastic with pebble tread and slight heel, 2006.41.21.3

Entry: Shoes

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: January 2016

Date Modified: February 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.