Tuesday, June 26, 2018


1958 | Beth & Herbert Levine | No Shoe | detail
Photograph: Milton H. Greene
Source: LIFE magazine | February 17, 1958

1957 started with a bang for Beth & Herbert Levine with LIFE magazine featuring a full page to the merit of their Cyrano last and a year later the same weekly showcased their NO SHOE calling it “topless shoe”:

TOPLESS SHOES designed by Herbert Levine are attached to soles by two adhesive tapes which are sold with the shoes. The shoes are made in several different heel heights, including flats. This pair in red satin costs $30. 
… of the stocking and shoe fashions that have come on the heels of the skirt news, the most revolutionary is a shoe that is only a sole and why a lady can stay in it defies the eye. 
Actually the shoe is held on by tapes, sticky on both sides, which keep it firmly in place until peeled off. 
LIFE magazine
February 17, 1958

1958 | Attention On Legs
Beth & Herbert Levine - No Shoe (left) | David Evins 
Photograph: Milton H. Greene
Source: LIFE magazine | February 17, 1958

As a matter of fact, the shoes were sold with a small bottle of liquid adhesive to be brushed over the surgical pads in order to keep on the No Shoe: probably too experimental to win over the average customer, but the final effect was stunning and nothing short of a miracle.
According to Helene Verin - author of “Beth Levine Shoes” - the only known surviving bottle of adhesive is part of Waalwijck’s Dutch Leather & Shoe Museum collection.

1958 | Beth & Herbert Levine
Adhesive bottle and No Shoe at the Dutch Leather & Shoe Museum
Source: Bellevue Arts

1958 | Beth & Herbert Levine
No Shoe, surgical pads and insole labels
Source: Dutch Leather & Shoe Museum

Less than glamorous is the only “No Shoe” advertisements we could find: the focus is on the splendid “Anemone” - here called “Pink-a-dink-a-do” - and the “No Shoe”, while called “revolutionary” for good reasons, is kept on the side with a dull drawing that doesn’t really explain, like they were forced to include it, but didn’t want to.

1958 | The most revolutionary shoe of the season
Beth & Herbert Levine | "Anemone" (left) and No Shoe (far right)
Source: Corpus Christi Caller Times | March 2, 1958


The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a prototype of the No Shoe which was a gift of Beth Levine to the Brooklyn Museum: it is dated 1955-1960, while the book “Beth Levine Shoes” dated it 1957.


1957 | Beth & Herbert Levine
No Shoe prototype | Gift of Beth Levine
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art (dated 1955-60)

It's empty, isn't it?
1958 | No Shoe Adhesive
Source: Dutch Leather & Shoe Museum