Shoes from the Ottoman era, some of which have been found in the foundation of old houses and put on display in the Shoes Museum, have become a source of inspiration for shoe designers today.
The Shoes Museum, established by the Shoe-dealers Chamber in the Aegean province of İzmir’s Işıkkent, is home to interesting examples of shoes that show the improvement of shoemaking over the years.
The most popular pieces in the museum are the ones which were fashionable in the past. The ones from the Ottoman era particularly amaze today’s shoemakers for their design and durability.
Speaking about the museum, İzmir Shoe-dealers Chamber President Yalçın Ata said the museum displayed 17 pieces including Ottoman-era shoes, hooded-boots, sandals, flat-heeled shoes and slippers as well as tools used in shoemaking.
Ata said it was the only shoe museum in Turkey and they had made a protocol with the Bornova District Governorship to promote the museum.
He said people did not know much about the shoe industry and the visitors to the museum would have chance to intimately understand the sector.
Ata said that even 500-year-old shoes were on display at the museum. “In this way people can compare the shoes of this era and the ancient era. In the old times, durability was important but today the aesthetic of the shoe is important. Customers demand fashionable shoes rather than considering their durability,” he said.
Among the shoes in the museum, the models found in the foundations of houses which had been ruined as part of the rural transformation in the Kadifekale neighborhood drew attention, said Ata, adding their durability for nearly half a century amazed people.
“These are the most valuable shoes in the museum. For example, even a seamless shoes still survives. These shoes were produced extremely durable with the technology of that time. It is unbelievable,” Ata said.
He said shoes worn by brides in the Ottoman era were also on display at the museum, adding that the hand-made embroidery on the shoes was still fashionable today but the same embroidery could only be made by machines.
“Rawhide sandals reflecting the Ottoman era are also on display at the museum. Especially young girls used to wear rawhide sandals in the Ottoman era. But it is not possible to produce these models. Shoe designers are inspired by these sandals and create similar ones,” Ata said.