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Pair of moon shoes

Pair of moon shoes

  • Place of origin:

    England (probably, manufactured)

  • Date:

    1950s-1960s (manufactured)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pressed metal; leather

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Alan Craft

  • Museum number:

    B.3-2016

  • Gallery location:

    Museum of Childhood, Costume, Play and Learn Gallery, case 1 []

The first pair of ‘jumping shoes’ available might have been the ‘Kangru-Springshu’, claimed by several sources to have been sold in the 1920s. The US vs. USSR Space Race (1957-1969) provided a lease of life for this fun and dangerous type of toy, as bouncing along on the metal springs was said to emulate the feeling of walking on the moon, hence the generic name: ‘Moon Shoes’. Some astronauts and cosmonauts became international celebrities, role models, and these shoes would have enabled children to experience (allegedly, and to a degree) some of the same new sensations felt by these pioneering men and women in space.

Physical description

Pair of 'Moon Shoes', each is a flat platform rising slightly in two points behind the heel, threaded with two red leather straps. These straps fasten with buckles. The shoes' lengths can be adjusted by twin bolts on their undersides. Fastened to the base of each shoe are two large, tapering springs, one at front, one at the back

Place of Origin

England (probably, manufactured)

Date

1950s-1960s (manufactured)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Pressed metal; leather

Marks and inscriptions

'PAT. APPLIED FOR'

Dimensions

Length: 24 cm maximum, Width: 6.5 cm heel, Height: 7.3 cm to bottom of wearer's foot

Object history note

The donor purchased this object at a sale on the Isle of Wight in 2014-15. He gave the shoes to the V&A in 2016 [2016/580].

Descriptive line

Pair of 'Moon Shoes'; metal, mounted on a pair of large springs, with red straps; probably British, probably 1950s-1960s

Labels and date

Jumping shoes became popular in the1950s around the time of the Space Race. The springs on the bottoms were supposed to make the wearer feel as though they were walking on the moon. [2016]

Production Note

These shoes appear to be fairly generic in design, although lacking a baseplate under the twin springs which seems to have been common to many ‘Moon Shoes’. Presumably, the baseplate would have provided extra stability when bouncing, although these shoes do not appear to ever have had one.

These shoes may be a pair of 'Spring-Heel Jacks', manufactured by Ridgetown Ltd of Hamilton Road, West Norwood.

Materials

Metal; Leather

Techniques

Pressing

Categories

Footwear; Toys & Games

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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