Rare, unusual and interesting antique costumes and textiles; for museums and collectors looking for that extra special piece, for new and established collectors and for those with a modest budget who want to adorn their person or home.


North African
c 1900

I have been calling these shoes the BFGs shoes  - the Big Friendly Giant from Roald Dahl's enchanting children's book.

I had no idea where these intriguing shoes came from and asked Jonathan Walford, Curatorial Director of the Fashion Hisotry Museum, Cambridge, Canada, who kindly gave me the following information. Saharan North Africa region, probably Berber although there are some similarities with Hausa footwear, but the Berbers and Hausa traded with each other... That type of unevenly coloured medium-dark vegetable-tanned leather is typical, as is the linear detailing, the peaked tab for pulling the shoes on, and the crude stitching using thick thread are all typical of that area. The ersatz spurs were probably inspired by contact with Europeans wearing riding boots. They are unusual because the Hausa tend to wear either tall boots or sandals, The Moroccons go for slip-on shoes, but Morroccan construction is more typically European due to their regular Spanish contact. The Berbers are in between the two, and those shoes look like they are in between the two cultures... The one thing that is really unusual is the seaming of the sole, which appears to be on the underside? However, if these are for riding, as I suspect they are because of the spur-like decorations.


11 in; 28 cm long

sole 2 3/4; 7 cm wide


As you can see


The Seductive Shoe Jonathan Walford