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Spring-heel Jacks thumbnail 2
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Spring-heel Jacks

Pair of Moon Shoes
1960s (manufactured)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Moon Shoe
  • Moon Shoe
Materials and techniques
Pressed metal; leather
Brief description
Pair of Spring-heel Jacks 'Moon Shoes'; metal, mounted on a pair of large springs, with red straps; Ridgetown Ltd, West Norwood, 1960s
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
Dimensions
  • Height: 160mm
  • Heel width: 6.5cm (Note: same for both)
  • Height: 7.3cm (to bottom of wearer's foot)
  • Width: 150mm
  • Depth: 250mm
Approximate dimensions of each moon boot with the straps lifted in position as if mounted.
Production typeMass produced
Marks and inscriptions
'PAT. APPLIED FOR'
Gallery label
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)
Credit line
Given by Alan Craft
Object history
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].

Production
Most models of Moon Shoes seem to have had a baseplate under the twin springs. Presumably, this would have provided extra stability when bouncing.

Summary
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.
Collection
Accession number
B.3-2016

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Record createdJuly 28, 2016
Record URL
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