Peasant’s shoe, Sweden

This is a woman’s shoe from the Dalarna (‘Valleys’) province in central Sweden. It is of a type often worn by brides.

The heel section is made from thick leather, stamped with diamond patterns, but the toe upper is reindeer skin, with some hair still visible. The sole is made of layers of birch bark and the heel is positioned under the arch, a common practice until around 1820. It forced the wearer to step toe-first, resulting in a distinctive gait.

Donated by Henry Balfour, first Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum, in 1900.

Accession number: 1900.27.30