Step Back in Time Bata Shoe Museum’s 1980s Shoe Extravaganza

Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum is gearing up to launch an exciting new exhibition in November, centered around the footwear trends of the 1980s.

A Journey Back to the 1980s

The upcoming exhibition, titled Dressed to Impress: Footwear and Consumerism in the 1980s, will take visitors on a nostalgic trip through this iconic era. It’s set to open its doors on November 1, 2025, and will run until March 16, 2025.

Step into the 80s

Visitors to the exhibition can expect a blast from the past, as the museum plans to transform its gallery space into a 1980s inspired shopping mall. This immersive experience will transport you back in time to relive the essence of the decade.

Nishi Bassi Reflects on the 1980s at Bata Shoe Museum

The 1980s was a fascinating decade, where personal style was closely linked to the pursuit of success, says Nishi Bassi, curator and exhibitions manager at Bata Shoe Museum. This exhibition explores some of the biggest trends and brands of the decade, and how advertising encouraged consumption. Visitors are invited to come to the exhibition to experience joyful nostalgia, but also to think critically about how this decade continues to influence our consumer habits of today.

nishi bassi
Power Pump

Exploring the 80s Fashion

The exhibition will feature over 80 pairs of iconic ’80s shoes, showcasing footwear like the Nike Air Jordan 1 and the Reebok Freestyle Hi. Nike’s success story during the 1980s is tied to its shift towards basketball shoes and the signing of basketball superstar Michael Jordan in 1984.

Reebok also had its moment in the sun with the Freestyle Hi, a high top sneaker with Velcro straps and glove leather uppers designed for flexibility. This shoe became one of Reebok’s best sellers, making them a major player in the athletic footwear industry.

Nike Air Jordan

Nike’s 1980s Athletic Footwear Triumph

By the end of the 1980s, Nike was one of the most successful producers of athletic footwear, highlighting the exhibition.

Footwear That Left an Impression

In addition to these iconic sports shoes, the exhibition will showcase the Gucci horse bit loafers, favored by Wall Street executives at the time, as well as John Fluevog’s winklepickers, popular among Goth subculture enthusiasts. Susan Bennis and Warren Edwards’ showstopping Power pumps will also make an appearance.

Unforgettable Experiences and Engagements

 Bata Shoe

Throughout the exhibition’s duration, the Bata Shoe Museum plans to host various events tied to the ’80s theme. Starting in 2024, the museum will launch an ’80s classic film series, along with workshops, talks, and panel discussions inspired by this iconic decade.

Get ready to step into the past and explore the 1980s in a whole new way at the Bata Shoe Museum’s upcoming exhibition. It’s an opportunity to relive the fashion, culture, and consumerism of a truly remarkable era.

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