19 Show-Stopping Designs for the Boots of Kinky Boots

Photo Features   19 Show-Stopping Designs for the Boots of Kinky Boots
 
Inside the full foot wardrobe of Gregg Barnes’ custom shoe designs worn by Broadway’s Lola and three of her Angels.
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Billy Porter and Stark Sands Matthew Murphy

The boots of Broadway's Kinky Boots tend to steal the show—but that’s by design. In a story about a humble British shoe factory that reinvigorates itself by figuring out a way to manufacture boots fabulous—and sturdy—enough for a drag queen, footwear is often meant to take center stage.

Playbill zoomed in on the artistry at the boots of Kinky Boots, which were conceptualized by costume designer Gregg Barnes and are custom-made from molds of each individual performers’ feet by Broadway shoemaker extraordinaire T.O. Dey.

Read: HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE STARS OF KINKY BOOTS?

It can take workers a full week to complete a single pair of these custom boots from start to finish, which require incorporating a steel shank capable of handling a man’s weight into a woman’s shoe—just as Charlie Price learns in “Sex Is In the Heel.” The story of Kinky Boots is inspired by a true one, and the development of the steel shank is just one of many real-life details that ultimately found its way into the show.

The boots are made to last—several pairs made for the original Broadway company are still in use more than five years later—but that requires a significant amount of maintenance. The wardrobe department checks all shoes and boots daily for broken zippers and laces, loose heels, and for rubber that needs replacing.

Read: SPEND A SHOW BACKSTAGE WITH THE DRESSERS OF KINKY BOOTS AND MORE ON BROADWAY

Scroll through the full footwear tracks for the characters of Lola, Angel 1, Angel 5, and Angel 6 in these photos by Marc J. Franklin; and be sure to check out the kinky boots live onstage at the Hirschfeld Theatre on Broadway:

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