My friend Mel and I were looking for something fun to do. I read on washingtonpost.com under local events that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) located in Alexandria, Va., was holding a shoe exhibit. Shoe aficionados that we are, we couldn’t resist checking it out. “Shoes: Innovations at Your Feet” opened on July 13, 2006 and is FREE to the public. The exhibit showcased all kinds of footwear from 19th century models of patented inventions as well as recent accomplishments of today’s footwear industry. There were more than 40 glass cases filled with different types of shoes by various designers. Featured brand names included Manolo Blahnik (known as “one of the world’s most prominent women’s shoe designers”), Keds®, Timberland and Dr. Scholl’s®. Highlights from the exhibit were the origin of tap shoes, the actual size 23 work shoe of Shaquille O’Neal, select footwear of First Ladies’ and an interactive Shoe Designer’s Workshop containing a plain high heel and lots of magnetic accessories for you to customize your own shoe.
Not your typical touristy attraction, it was worth the trip. The exhibit runs until the third week of July 2007.