The Bally archive in Shonenwerd, Switzerland, is home to approximately 35,000 pairs of shoes.
In addition to Bally designs, the collection includes historical pieces that were purchased by the company or collected by its founder, Carl Franz Bally, during his travels.
One of the oldest dates back to 1850. To ensure that such pieces are maintained in good condition, they’re stored in glass cases or boxes containing acid-free paper.
“The archive is only accessed by the label’s marketing and design teams for inspiration,” said a company representative. “However, we have a museum in the area that is open to the public.”
The museum, which is located in the house that Carl Franz Bally was born and raised in, explores the evolution of the label and the history of footwear from 3000 B.C. until today. Guests can visit on the last Friday and Saturday of every month.
“Visitors are most often drawn to women’s shoes from the 1920s and ’30s because they have some of the most intricate detailing,” said the rep.
Over the years, the Bally label has seen many footwear milestones, including the creation of the Zurich pump in 1890 and Charlie Chaplin’s appearance in a 1930s advertising film.
But let’s not forget its most legendary moment: Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay ascending Mount Everest in Bally Reindeer-Himalaya boots.