The countdown to Christmas is on. If you’re still searching for last-minute gift ideas and have a shoe lover in your life, the book world is filled with fun footwear-themed titles — from designer monographs and sneaker collectors’ guides to artsy photo books perfect for the coffee table. Here are 10 of our favorites and where to find them:
Penned by Rodrigo Corral (the designer behind Jay-Z’s “Decoded” book), Esquire contributing editor Alex French and Wall Street Journal contributing editor Howie Kahn, this 320-page tome takes readers inside some of the sneaker industry’s most legendary stories. Featured throughout are photos and interviews with the people at the center of the action, including basketball great Kobe Bryant, tennis icon Serena Williams, Kith founder Ronnie Fieg, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and advertising titan Jim Riswold.
2. “It’s All About Shoes”
British street-style photographer Suzanne Middlemass has assembled a collection of her most striking shots of fanciful footwear from around the world in a not-to-miss coffee table book. Middlemass showcases more than 300 showstopping styles spotted on the streets of major fashion capitals including New York, Paris, London, Milan, Berlin and Copenhagen.
3. “Christian Louboutin”
Created by the French shoe legend himself, this artfully presented monograph highlights the extraordinary range of Louboutin’s craft, from his iconic red-sole heels to his fetishistic pieces created in collaboration with David Lynch. The book also features Louboutin’s biography, photos of the interiors of his homes in Paris and Egypt, and behind-the-scenes shots of his studios and workshops.
4. “Shoe Dog”
In his surprisingly unfiltered and revealing memoir, Nike founder Phil Knight — known for rarely speaking to the public — pulls back the curtain on the company’s early beginnings as a scrappy startup and its inspiring transformation into one of the world’s most iconic and profitable brands. For over 400 pages, the mogul shares colorful stories, musings and pearls of wisdom on life, business and entrepreneurship.
5. “Vogue: The Shoe”
Award-winning journalist and style writer Harriet Quick has curated more than 300 shoe-focused images from a century of British Vogue shoots, grouped into themes like Town & Country Classics, Cult Style Inspiration and Extreme Heels. The images include work from acclaimed photographers such as Hoyningen-Huene, Irving Penn, Corinne Day, Norman Parkinson, Mario Testino and Nick Knight.
6. “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture”
Shoe historian Elizabeth Semmelhack’s book presents a fascinating visual history of sneakers, from the 1800s to today. Drawn from the collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, as well as significant private collections, museums and the archives of brands including Adidas, Converse, Reebok and Nike, “Out of the Box” serves up interviews and essays by designers, collectors and cultural historians to chronicle the technical innovation, trends, social history and marketing campaigns that have shaped the sneaker world.
7. “Manolo Blahnik and the Tale of the Elves and the Shoemaker”
Celebrated shoe designer Manolo Blahnik reimagines the classic fairytale “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” blending in elements of his own life story to deliver a new twist on an enduring favorite. Written by best-selling author Camilla Morton, the book is brought to life with original color illustrations created by Blahnik himself.
8. “1000 Sneakers”
A must-have for sneakerheads, this encyclopedic book from Mathieu Le Maux provides a visual history of the world’s most iconic and coveted kicks — from old favorites like the Nike Air Force 1 to more avant-garde styles like the Rick Owens x Adidas split-sole runner. The book also shares interesting stories and anecdotes such as the birth of the Converse Chuck Taylor and runner Jesse Owens’ controversial Adidas shoes from the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
9. “Shoe Obsession”
Co-written by Valerie Steele and Colleen Hill, “Shoe Obsession” explores Western culture’s fascination with extravagant shoes. The photo-illustrated book showcases more than 150 pairs of the most extreme and fashion-forward styles of the past 12 years, including designs by Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Pierre Hardy, Bruno Frisoni, Azzedine Alaïa, Balenciaga and others.
10. “Shoes: An Illustrated History”
Packed with historical and social detail, Rebecca Shawcross’ book presents a colorful array of shoes from around the world, ranging from prehistory to the present. Utilizing historical documents, paintings, photographs, advertisements and quotations, she examines how shoes are not just a utilitarian object but reveal the culture of the times in which they were worn.