Some love them, some don’t hate them, but we all need them. Whether you are a fan of high heels or prefer comfy slippers, shoes are something we all use in our daily lives.
They protect our feet when we need to get from A to B, and they can help us make a (fashion) statement. However, shoes can also get you maimed, married or make you miserable! Just throw in a dash of magic and anything is suddenly possible with a pair of shoes.
Below, I’ve compiled a little list with five of the best (in my opinion – feel free to disagree) fairy tales about shoes. Some are fun little tales with happy endings, others not so much, so there should be something for every kind of fairy tale loving bookworm!
1. The red shoes by Hans Christian Andersen
When your shoe obsession becomes your downfall! This little story about a girl and her red shoes is a true horror story for all shoe lovers. It features a pair of magical shoes that turns out to be pretty bad for little Karen’s health. If you’re not necessarily looking for a typical happily-ever-after ending, this moral story may just be your thing.
2. The shoes that were danced to pieces by Brothers Grimm
This fairy tale is actually one of my (many) personal favourites. Without giving too much away, the story features an invisibility cloak, an underground castle and 12 callous princesses with holes in their shoes. If you’re looking to escape into a magical world where a poor soldier becomes the hero, I would recommend this story.
3. The goloshes of fortune by Hans Christian Andersen
A magical pair of goloshes is given to mankind by a fairy. The shoes are meant to fulfil every wish of the owner at the moment the wish is expressed “so that for once mankind have a chance of being happy” – famous last words. The story takes us on one journey after another as the shoes change owner, and it becomes clear that we humans don’t always know what we want from life. This is no five-minute fairy tale, so make sure you’ve got a bit of extra time to read this one.
4. Cinderella by Brothers Grimm
Yes, it’s probably no surprise that Cinderella made it onto this list. She undoubtedly has the most famous pair of shoes ever mentioned in a fairy tale. However, if you’ve never read the Grimm version, I can highly recommend it. It’s very different from the Disney version(s), which incorporates elements from Charles Perrault’s Cinderella story. In Grimm’s version her father doesn’t really care about her (!), there’s no fairy godmother (!) and her shoes are made of gold, not glass! It still has a happily-ever-after ending, though, so if you’re looking for some feel good vibes, this story is a good place to start.
5. The boots of buffalo leather by Brothers Grimm
This fun fairy tale features a former soldier with some practical boots. Though his footwear is discussed in the beginning of the story, they are actually not the focus of this little tale. The soldier’s unique toasting abilities and his mysterious travelling companion, Bright-boots, are far more interesting than his buffalo leather boots! If you’re looking for a short but fun story filled with deadly robbers, spells and a travel companion who is more than he seems, this could be a fairy tale for you!
As always, I’ve hyperlinked each fairy tale title to a website where you can read the stories for free. However, if you’ve got a Kindle, I would recommend that you download ‘Household Tales by Brothers Grimm’ translated by Margaret Hunt. It’s free, and the translation from German is one of the best out there (if you ask me).
There are also free Kindle editions of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, but I’m not sure which English version is best – I tend to read his fairy tales in Danish. If you know of a great English translation of Andersen’s stories, please share it in the comments below!