about the bsm


To say that Sonja Bata is partial to shoes would be an understatement. For decades, Mrs. Bata has scoured the world for shoes of every description, from the most ordinary to the most extraordinary. Her involvement in the global shoe industry and frequent business travels has enabled her to build one of the world’s finest collections which is housed in the Bata Shoe Museum – the world’s largest museum dedicated to footwear. In it lies a wealth of fashion lore and historical information.  Since it’s opening in 1995, the BSM’s collection has grown to over 13,000 artefacts and the museum continuously creates and displays world-class exhibitions that examine the role of footwear in society and culture.

On the surface, shoes are an indication of personal taste and style, but a closer examination yields a different picture. Viewed chronologically, shoes trace a path through technological development and mark even the subtlest shifts in a society’s attitudes and values. Footwear illustrates entire ways of life, indicating as it does the climate, religions, professions and attitudes to gender and social status of different cultures through the ages. Whether they are objects of beauty or instruments of torture, shoes are surely signs of the times.

Located in Toronto, Canada, the BSM has over a thousand shoes and related artefacts (from a collection numbering over 13,000) on exhibit in architect Raymond Moriyama’s award-winning five floor structure. The BSM celebrates the style and function of footwear in four impressive galleries. Footwear on display ranges from Chinese bound foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glamourous platforms. Over 4,500 years of history and a collection of 20th-century celebrity shoes are reflected in the semi-permanent exhibition, All About Shoes. Three other galleries feature changing exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.