If The Shoe Fits -Fun With Barbie Shoes

Pink Barbie ShoesDo you ever get impatient with fashion doll packaging? You know what I mean. You have just received a brand new doll in the post or maybe you’ve just got her home from the shops. If you are a de-boxer like me you can’t wait to get her out, photograph her, change her outfit, maybe her hair and so on. First though you have to contend with the packaging. Many of today’s dolls are so tightly attached to their boxes that it’s a battle to get them out without damaging them. They have those little plastic ties around their limbs, sometimes a wire round the waist  and worst of all that plastic strip that their hair is stitched to before it’s attached to the box.  I can now de-box a Barbie fairly quickly by snipping the ties and liberate the poor girl without taking out chunks of hair but I wonder how the mother’s of young children manage to do this with the child waiting impatiently for their new doll.

Basics Barbie in box
Basics Barbie in box

I often wonder when I’m having a Barbie re-dressing session if other people have as much trouble with all the little bits and pieces as I do. Take shoes; Barbie shoes are the bane of my life. It used to be a simple matter. Find a pair of shoes that match Barbie’s outfit, put them on her and hope they don’t fall off. I don’t know about yours but my dolls shoes seem to prefer the floor to Barbie’s feet. I’ve learned to be very careful at my sister’s house carrying a doll from one room to another because in the doorway of the room where she keeps her toy collection there is a crack between the floorboards that seems to have a magnetic attraction for Barbie shoes. I have lost at least one shoe to it.  If I’m so unlucky as to drop a shoe elsewhere it never falls straight down. I am sure they bounce. I have to be quick to find them too because her little dog learned early in his life that finding and running off with a Barbie shoe is a great way to get attention. He holds them to ransom for dog treats.

It’s not so easy to find the right shoe now either. In the 60’s Barbie’s shoe wardrobe was a separate accessory and I always thought it would be nice to have all those different coloured shoes and sandals. I do like the variety of styles that modern fashion doll shoes come in now, so much nicer than the plain pumps that were around when I was a child but they are not “one size fits all” any more. Model Muse dolls can’t wear a lot of the Fashion Avenue and Fashion Fever shoes, their shoes even have left and right feet. Recently I bought two Poppy Parker dolls and discovered that they could not wear some Barbie shoes either. Nor could my Rosie O’Donnell doll. Amongst the vintage girls  original Sindy and Tammy can share shoes although the later Sindy’s have smaller feet than the early ones. My Palitoy Tressy can’t wear Barbie shoes either. I’m still trying to find some shoes that fit the Tressy’s. I did discover that the Poppy’s could wear some Barbie sandals and that Rosie could wear the Poppy’s shoes so that problem is solved. I want to make Rosie a new outfit as she doesn’t fit standard clothing and I was worrying that I’d have to try to make shoes too but I won’t thank goodness.

Fashion Dolls in a variety of shoe styles.
Fashion Dolls in a variety of shoe styles.

The other problem I have with shoes is actually doing them up, those sandals that have the ankle band and the little knob to do them up. I have the worst time with those. I was putting some on a doll the other day and I had her upside down while I twisted, stretched and pushed the wretched straps into place. I have to admit that some days I just pick a different pair of shoes.

I have trouble tying up tiny bows too. I’m just clumsy I guess. I find it very hard to tie a nice miniature bow. That’s why I’m so in awe of people who make dolls clothing in 1:12 scale. I don’t think I would be able to dress a doll in that clothing let alone make it.

I suppose that is one reason that Barbies for young children now often come with moulded on shoes. It does save a lot of bother I admit but it just doesn’t look right. You can’t make the shoes match her outfit and you would never be able to play “Cinderella” with her.

A final word on shoes. If you leave them on a doll for too long the colour may bleed into the vinyl. It’s better to take them off if the doll will be stored, especially dark coloured ones. I’ve had this happen with dresses a couple of times too.  I remember a Barbie I bought that had a very nice satiny red dress. I actually liked the dress more than the doll but every Barbie that wore it for more than a few days ended up with pink stains on her thighs. She was a cheap playline doll so possibly collectible dolls with more expensive outfits wouldn’t do that. I’ve only had it happen with a couple of outfits over many years and I have stored dolls dressed.

Candi doll's feet coated in Remove Zit.
Candi doll’s feet coated in Remove Zit.

I used Remove Zit to get the blue colouring out of my dolls feet and it has worked but her feet are a little paler now. Prevention is better than cure.


Pink Barbie shoes image by Beth Coll Anderson.This image is free for you to use, commercially or otherwise. All I ask is that you attribute the image to myself and include a link from your blog or website to my site:Beth Coll Anderson bethcoll.com








    • I save them too, in the old days you might be lucky enough to find another the same. I currently have one on top of my fridge which I must remember to take to my sister’s house because I’m sure I saw its mate there. No idea how they got to be 140km apart though.


  1. Unfortunately, collectible dolls with more expensive outfits do stain from time to time. Tonner put out a Sydney with boots that stained her legs; I had one but was able to remove the stains. I’ve also read about a Sybarite doll where the outfit did have some staining issues, and those dolls cost at least several hundred dollars. Probably will never own a Sybarite myself. I’ve never had an issue with Barbie shoes, though.


    • That’s interesting to know. I guess the rule here is to constantly check if you normally store dolls dressed..The Candi dolls have rather “rubbery” vinyl legs so maybe they are more porous.


  2. I like the challenge of finding shoes that fit different dolls, and I always save unusual shoes that come in job lots! I recently bought a Patch clone (she’s lovely – I’ll post about her some time) and she turned up shoe-less – I found that Evie shoes (Evie is the toddler from the Steffie Loves range) fit her perfectly, like they were made for her. Triumph!!

    I think of all the dolls, Model Muse are the most difficult to get shod and stay shod. Their legs and feet are just so hard and smooth, its impossible to keep shoes on them. Like you, I’ve lost plenty just moving them around – I found one behind the fridge not long ago, and I hadn’t even realised I’d missed it.


    • Tressy shoes are hard because she can’t wear vintage Barbie shoes. I was on a Facebook page the other day where this was being discussed so I’ll go back and look because it’s something I need to know myself with one pair of shoes amongst several Tressy’s.


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