A unique and delightful romp through the history of shoes, the women
who wore them, and the profound impact they have had on our lives

One of the New York Times top Beach Reads for Summer 2012, now available in paperback!

Women From the Ankle Down-1

What is it about a pair of shoes that so enchants women of all ages, demographics, political affiliations, and style tribes? Part social history, part fashion record, part pop-culture celebration, Women from the Ankle Down seeks to answer that question as it unfolds the story of shoes in the twentieth century.

The tale begins in the rural village of Bonito, Italy, with a visionary young shoemaker named Salvatore Ferragamo, and ends in New York City, with a fictional socialite and trendsetter named Carrie Bradshaw. Along the way it stops in Hollywood, where Judy Garland first slipped on her ruby slippers; New Jersey, where Nancy Sinatra heard something special in a song about boots; and the streets of Manhattan, where a transit strike propelled women to step into new cutting-edge athletic shoes. Fashion aficionado Rachelle Bergstein shares the stories behind these historical moments, interweaving the design innovations and social changes that gave each one its lasting significance and appeal.

Bergstein shows how the story of shoes is the story of women, told from the ankle down. Beginning with the well-heeled Suffragettes in the 1910s, women have fought for greater freedom and mobility, a struggle that exploded in the 1960s with the Women’s Liberation Movement, and culminated in the new millennium with our devotion to personal choice. Featuring interviews with designers, historians, and cultural experts, and a cast of real life characters from Marilyn Monroe to Jane Fonda, Women from the Ankle Down is a lively, compelling look at the evolution of modern women and the fashion that reflects—and has shaped—their changing lives.

Order the book from AmazonBarnes and Noble or IndieBound.

Reviews for WFTAD:

Guelph Public Library’s Best Books of 2012

Long Island Pulse

The Historical Novel Society

NY Times
A High-Heeled Stroll Through History

Chicago Tribune
Clothes Conscious

USA Today

Pure Wow
The Taming of the Shoe

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Shelf Awareness

Why We Love Shoes

NY Journal of Books

Lucinda Literary
Book Jacket of the Week

NY Times
New Under the Sun: Books for Basking
One of Janet Maslin’s picks for beach reads 2012

Wall Street Journal
A Century of Magic Slippers

MORE Magazine
June issue

NY Post
Sole Survivors

“This author’s first book hits the mark for reader appeal. Her history of shoes, laced with celebrity sightings, is an engaging narrative.”
No online review

Library Journal
“Bergstein takes readers on an entertaining journey through the social history of shoes and the people who have worn them…recommended to all fashion followers as well as those who enjoy the ankle-down approach to studying our high-end material culture.”
No online review

Kirkus Reviews

Publisher’s Weekly


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