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Shoes: Pleasure and Pain

  • Museums

Time Out says

Toe-curling footwear fashions from the past and present for those who like their feet to look fancy.

The V&A gets serious about shoes – and we aren’t talking ballet flats, cosy boots or erm… Crocs. 'Shoes: Pleasure and Pain' focuses on the transformative power of extreme footwear, exploring the agony and ecstasy that footwear might inspire. Over 200 pairs of shoes past and present have been gathered from all around the world, from ancient Egyptian sandals decorated in pure gold leaf to hi-tech shoes created using a 3D printer. Pairs worn by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Queen Victoria, Sarah Jessica Parker and Daphne Guinness will be on display, alongside iconic shoes from popular culture. Across two floors, you’ll find everything from the covetable to the truly toe-curling. The ground floor gallery explores ‘Transformation,’ discovering how the concept of empowerment has been tied in with footwear through folklore, ‘Status,’ showing how impractical shoes represent privileged and leisurely lifestyles, and ‘Seduction,’ which investigates shoes as objects of fetishism. Upstairs, the first floor gallery dissects the processes of designing and creating a shoe.

See the curator's pick of five iconic styles from the exhibition


Event website:
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-5.45pm (Fri until 10pm)
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