When the news broke in 1986 that Imelda Marcos (deposed former fist lady of the Philippines) had a over 1200 pairs of shoes, little did anyone know that her considerable assemblage of podiatry embellishments would become the benchmark by which all footwear collections were measured. So, for those that are interested in a bit of sole, we thought we’d head to market, have a little roast beef and once we’d got that out of the way cry wee-wee-wee all the way to the internet – and see at how the world’s best shoe collections look in 2014…
How many pairs of shoes do you have in your wardrobe? We’d guess for the guys it’s likely to be less than 10 (one pair for each function a shoe can have: sports, work, chill-axing + maybe a couple of pairs of smart shoes to go with different outfits). For the girls it will be more, but even if you’re a hard-core shoe buying fashionista, chances are it is less than 30. But some people manage to take shoes to a whole new level – and we don’t mean up two flights of the office staircase to the second floor.
The World Record for the largest collections of shoes and shoe related items is posthumously held by Darlene Flynn, an American Lady who hailed from Southern California. Before her shocking death in July 2013 (her ex-boyfriend was charged with her murder), she was verified by Guinness World Records to have amassed a staggering 14,684 pairs of shoes and shoe related items. What’s even more impressive is that she only started her collection in 2001. In just 5 years she had collected 7,765 (making Imelda’s 20 year shoe-accumulating-programme look like a metaphorical stroll in the park) and was verified by Guinness as the world record holder. Amongst the highlights in Ms Flynn’s collection were a pair of replica Wizard of Oz ruby slippers and her own Grandmothers wedding Boot.
But if generalist shoe collections are a bit too flat-footed for you, then maybe our next example is less run-of-the-mill and more running-up-the-hill. Yup, you got it. It’s the world’s largest training shoe collection – or as our American cousins call them, sneakers. Once again, it’s held by an american, a chap named Jordy Geller. Geller is a bonafide ‘Sneakerhead’ – yep, there’s even a word for someone who collects, trades or admires sports shoes! Jordy is in fact short for Jordan, a name he shares with his all-time sports hero – Michael Jordan of basketball fame. At the last Guinness World Records count Jordy’s collection extended to 2,388. He’s a massive Nike fan and hence his exhibits are almost exclusively the Nike brand.
To ensure his collection wasn’t hidden away, in 2011 Jordy opened his ShoeZeum in San Diego, California… and here’s a quick tour:
If ostentatious American collections aren’t quite your thing, and you are more interested in the history of shoes than how many you can it in a storage unit – then the Northampton Museum will be right up your street. The Museum holds a world renowned collection charting the history of shoes. From Roman footwear to Queen Victoria’s Wedding Slippers (pictured below) and her beloved husband Prince Albert’s Wellingtons – there’s plenty of footwear on display. And if you can’t visit in person – you can visit their website or they’ve even got a virtual museum app for the iPad – so you can learn all about footwear from all over the world.
We wonder if they sell shoe-shaped cheesy corn-puffs in the museum shop?
But what of Imelda Marco’s legendary stockpile of sole-fullness. What happened to her first-class stockpile of fabulous footgear? When the first lady and her husband were deposed, they were left in storage at the Presidential Palace and then moved to the National Museum of the Philippines. Sadly – at both – the storage they were in was poor, they were neglected and became damaged by termites, floods, humidity and mould.
Perhaps they should have looked for better, more safe and secure storage. Something more akin to a self storage unit at ABC Selfstore.