The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that the MAAS website contains a range of Indigenous Cultural Material. This includes artworks, artifacts, images and recordings of people who may have passed away, and other objects which may be culturally sensitive.

No image is publicly available for this object

Due to the age of the Museum's collection, some objects have not been digitised yet. Images may also not be available due to copyright, cultural or privacy reasons.

‘Gusset brogue boots’ by Claire Best

Made in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2014.

Claire Best (b. 1983) is an emerging bespoke shoemaker based in Melbourne, Australia who specialises in making leather footwear by hand. Unique for her approach to hand painting and dyeing leather in unusual colours and patterns, Claire is also interested in playing on classic footwear forms, as demonstrated with this pair of ‘Gusset brogue boots’. ‘The inspiration for this particular commission began with a pair of iconic R M Williams elastic sided boots alongside the classic brogue’, says Clai...


Object No.


Object Statement

Boots (pair), 'Gusset brogue boots', womens, leather / dye / elastic / cork, designed and made by Claire Best, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2014

Physical Description

Pair of women's boots comprising vegetable tanned leather uppers hand-dyed with a pink, purple and black patterned design. The pattern partly resembles a punched design on a brogue shoe, in addition to some loosely arranged black floral motifs. The boots have a cork base and are elastic sided with pull tags at the front and back. The heel is medium height and stacked with a clear wax finish. The sole and inner sole are tanned leather. The uppers are machine stitched.


'Best / Shoes' on sole and 'BEST / hand / made / shoes' on insole.



The boots were designed and made by Claire Best, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2014.

The boots are made from vegetable tanned leather uppers hand painted and dyed, leather sole and insole, elastic sides, cork base and stacked leather heel. The heels took at least one hour each to shape. Claire says, 'I began with leather heel blocks as a starting point and then shaped the 'pitch' to match the contour of the base of the heel and set the correct heel height. Then I sanded the heel blocks into an approximate shape and more manageable size before attaching them to the soles. This was followed by more sculpting - basically shaping each heel to the correct angle and lines, and to match one another, by eye. It's a time consuming and intense process because if you take too much off you can't get it back! Also, the heel shape can really affect the overall impression of the shoe.'

A unique feature of these boots is the hand dyed and painted leather. This process involves drawing the patterns onto the leather before and after lasting the shoe, dyeing the whole surface and the individual patterned pieces on top. After this, Claire applies a wax finish and either buffs the toe and/or burnishes the leather for added effect.



Claire Best (b. 1983) is an emerging Melbourne-based shoemaker who designs and makes leather footwear by hand. After studying an Honours degree in Fine Arts (Drawing and Animation), a Certificate IV in Custom Footwear Production at RMIT and undertaking various other short shoemaking courses in both Australia and overseas, Claire established her own workshop and business in Brunswick, Victoria in 2010.

Claire makes and repairs shoes for a local client base. She has also worked on a number of shoes for theatre productions following a mentorship with Jodie Morrison of Steppin' Out in Sydney, in addition to teaching short courses in shoemaking and leather work at the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) in Victoria and Third Drawer Down.

This pair of boots was commissioned by the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in 2014. Claire's work is also represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.


Credit Line

Purchased 2014

Acquisition Date

14 January 2015

Cite this Object


'Gusset brogue boots' by Claire Best 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 18 October 2019, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Gusset brogue boots' by Claire Best |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=18 October 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

Know more about this object?


Have a question about this object?