This pair of women’s shoes was designed for gymnasium use and sported a new method for attaching the upper to the sole. In an effort to reduce the cost of the material and production of rubber soles, George L. Pierce, who worked for Spalding Brothers, patented a seaming technique in 1915 that allowed for a canvas upper to be joined to a leather sole in a way that rivalled the durability of more expensive rubber-soled footwear. The resulting shoe was sold for almost a third less than similar models with rubber soles, suggesting that rubber prices remained high. This model was also marketed as a bathing shoe.
A. G. Spalding Brothers / FL Gymnasium and Acrobatic Shoes, 1915 / Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, S15.0022.AB