Virtual Shoe Museum: Liza Snook Interview

Porcelain Nike Shoes

Anyone with an innate passion for gorgeous shoes will take an instant liking to the Virtual Shoe Museum. It's the brainchild of Liza Snook, who founded the site in 2006. The site is a fascinating virtual library of shoe images, videos and more, and there is no limit to the number of fascinating styles on display. We had the opportunity to speak with Liza and learn more about her site, her love of shoes and what the future holds.

About the Virtual Shoe Museum

LoveToKnow: Liza, your site is fantastic and such a testament to the beauty of shoes! For those who are not familiar, what is the concept of the Virtual Shoe Museum?

Liza Snook: For 25 years, I showed my collection of shoes, shoe images, advertisements and photos at home to whoever was interested, telling the same stories over and over again. Of course, I always visited shoe museums when abroad. Most of the time, however, this proved to be a rather disappointing experience. There was never enough exhibition space to present a substantial part of the collection (roughly five percent).

Even then, not much context is created and conditions - like lighting and spacing - could be better. These experiences inspired me to create a virtual shoe museum - the range of possibilities a digital environment might open up. We could include shoes in all sorts of sections, without having to compromise or duplicate. We could create multiple perspectives on any shoe, varying from 'designer,' 'focus' and 'material' to 'style,' 'type' and even 'color,' all without duplicating, and every time creating a new environment in which the shoe would be presented.

LTK: Do you have any plans to open a retail section of the museum for footwear?

LS: We recently started our own shop, with shoe books and gadgets, hosted at Amazon.com. Depending on our experiences, we'll explore the possibility of extending the shop to include shoes. For me, however, I still fall in love with shoes when I'm in a real store...

A Passion for Shoes

Lolapagola Shoes

LTK: You have to be quite a shoe devotee (much like me!) create and maintain such a thorough database of shoes. How long have you been intrigued by shoes, and why?

LS: I was born with a passion for shoes, and I have been collecting shoes now for more than 25 years. My collection exists of a library of shoe books, "shoevenirs," shoes from different cultures and hundreds of Barbie shoes.

LTK: What is your most interesting footwear-related memory?

LS: In 1993, the blue Super Elevated Ghillies platform shoes, designed by Vivienne Westwood nd part of the V&A museum in London, really knocked me out of my sneakers. They are the ones worn by supermodel Naomi Campbell when she fell from the catwalk. To me, these "mock croc" shoes are the most desired ones. They are the perfect match of the upper shoe and platform sole, with beautifully shaped high heels and long laces. I would happily swap my whole wearable shoe collection for this pair!

LTK: The gorgeous images on your site are proof that there's a strong connection between art, drama and fashion. That begs the question - is your own shoe collection as adventurous?

LS: My own collection is as diverse as the collection of the Virtual Shoe Museum, divided into shoes that I wear daily, like All Star sneakers, plus all sorts of ankle boots and boots with special prints, like tattoos. I am also expanding my collection with shoes by young designers. The other part of my own collection contains crazy platforms and shoes where wearing doesn't necessarily mean walking!

The Future

LTK: Finally, what does the future hold for the Virtual Shoe Museum?

LS: We have lots of plans for the future! Soon visitors can select their own favorites from the complete collection and create their own virtual space within the museum. We will expand the video reports, with interviews with designers and shoe collectors. We want to create a traveling exhibition of virtual shoes, made by artists and designers on invitation. And, of course, as shoe book collectors, we would like to make the ultimate shoe book!

Virtual Shoe Museum: Liza Snook Interview