Shoes in Movies and TV

Most people have favorite movies or TV shows. Many times the viewers of the most popular shows like to emulate the things shown onscreen – including language, fashions, and hairstyles. There have been many incidences in the video world where very noticeable and even iconic shoes became part of a raging fad.

The iconic shoes on films and television could range from loafers to dress shoes to sneakers. In the 1980s, a large portion of the shoes seen in movies were either Nike or Adidas, though these were not the only brands represented. Shoe fashion has been sometimes been dictated by what we see on the movies and television. Let’s take a look below to see just how much influence there’s been through the ages:

The Ruby Red Slipper and a Pair of Black Loafers

Among the earliest iconic shoes would be the ones on Dorothy’s feet in The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland). These now-famous ruby-red slippers carried the beloved character home when she clicked the heels together three times and said, “There’s no place like home.”

Few people fail to recognize the original movie reference when they see ruby slippers. Interestingly, the book this movie was based on referred to the slippers as being silver. The director of the movie chose to change the color for several reasons. One of these was probably that ruby slippers gave off a more magical effect on the screen.

Another set of well-recognized shoes is the pair worn by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. These were a pair of black loafers. On the men’s side of the aisle, for a similar time frame, would be Get Smart’s shoe phone – arguably the first “cell phone” seen in movies and on television. It’s also one that many people would have loved to have worn themselves – if it had worked.

Blue Canvas Sneakers and Intergalactic Boots

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood showed us many blue canvas sneakers into which Mr. Rogers changed on his way to the neighborhood each episode. They looked comfortable and made us feel at home. According to many interpretations, these sneakers represented a sort of transition from one kind of life to the next. They’re quite popular as a part of nerd culture even today. There’s an animated spin-off of the Mr. Rogers show, where the cartoon tiger wears the same sneakers and sweatshirt combination.

The attraction of these blue canvas sneakers was not just in the comforting items themselves, but also in the act of sitting down to put them on. Everything about that act was predictable and familiar since every child would probably have done the same thing at some point. Hence, the sneakers make their way even into modern entertainment.

As for the intergalactic boots, these were present in none other than the Star Wars series in the late 1970s to the early 1980s. This show featured Luke Skywalker with his “Dune Piercer 2” boots, which wrapped up to his knees in white cloth. As with just about every other prop on the show, these boots are also a coveted piece of merchandise for passionate fans.

Shoes as Part of Stories

The appearance of several iconic shoes in movies and TV shows might be random at times, but they mostly symbolize many aspects of the story. In fact, sometimes the shoes are instrumental in taking the plot forward. Dorothy’s ruby slippers are a prime example, but so is the single sandal in the classic Jason and the Argonauts. Here, King Pelias is warned against a man who wears just one sandal.

Shoes also become part of a smaller sub-plot in the popular 1995 movie Jumanji, starring Robin Williams. Young Alan Parrish ruins a prototype shoe early on in the movie. Many fans might have forgotten this little detail, but it was actually this act that led to the series of events in the whole plot. This is actually what Robin Williams’ character has to reverse in order to put things right.

Other Kinds of Famous Footwear on the Big Screen

Not surprisingly, the 1980s brought a variety of brand name footwear to the big screen. These included Jeff Spicoli’s black and white checkered Vans Slip-Ons in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Kyle Reese’s Nike Vandals in The Terminator, Pee-Wee Herman’s white tassel loafers, Teen Wolf’s Adidas Tourneys, Brian Johnson’s Nike Internationalists in The Breakfast Club, Ripley’s Reebok Alien Stompers in Aliens, Nike Air Force IIs in Big, and Marty McFly’s self-fastening Nike Air Mags (which still have not actually been produced) in Back to the Future.

Aeon Flux, in the 1990s, introduced a very handy wedge shoe that doubled as a container for any number of useful items. Like Maxwell Smart’s shoe, this is an option that many people would love to have in their everyday footwear.

Forrest Gump’s Nike Cortez sneakers in the 1994 movie of the same name were displayed as the ultimate running shoe. This uses a major part of the story as a sort of advertisement campaign, as the main character ran a lot throughout the movie.

Captain Jack Sparrow, in The Pirates of the Caribbean, sported shiny black pirate boots with wide flared cuffs. Pirate costumes hardly seem proper without boots like Captain Jack’s.

Doctor Who’s Tenth Doctor, played by David Tennant, brought us Converse shoes paired with a tailored suit. His cream trainers with red stripes just above the sole are seen by fans as a symbol of the show. He also wore red high-top Converse shoes in other episodes. Needless to say, these are also very popular among fans.

Katniss Everdeen, in The Hunger Games, wore dark brown lace-up boots. If fans are still looking for these boots, they are made by the Frye Company under the style name “Melissa Tall Lace.”

Last, but not least, nearly every variation of Cinderella includes a pair of dainty glass slippers, from 1950 right up to the present. While glass shoes are not practical, they are shoes every girl recognizes.


Looking at the myriad of examples above, one may conclude that shoes definitely play a huge role in many movies and shows. They’ve become symbols of fandom, represented popular characters, and even provided pivotal points for story plots. With shoes being such an important part of our everyday appearance and screens retaining their influence, we can look forward to similar trends in the future as well.