Shoes - 'Treads', Black, Brown & Cream, 1975-1978 Object Reg. No: HT 29101

Alternative Name(s): Treds

Pair of shoes with leather uppers and soles made of recycled car tyres, popularly known as treads. Worn in Melbourne (and probably Australia more broadly) in the mid-1970s by teenagers, both male and female. Treads were typically worn by surfers and people who spent time at the beach.

This pair was worn by either Andrew or his brother Brett McCabe around 1975-1978, who grew up in Dandenong, in Melbourne's outer south-east.
Suede leather uppers; soles made of recycled car tyres. Interwoven strips of black, brown and cream leather form sandal-like footwear. Larger pieces of brown leather on top and around the back of the heel, interspersed with beige and black leather. Cross-woven black and beige leather on both sides. Leather attached to sole with rivets (or similar). Leather strap over ankle with metallic buckle on outer ankle.
Statement Of Significance:
Clothing representing youth cultures and sub-cultures is still relatively rare in Australian museums. The three items in this collection - two pairs of treads and a pair of pop branded underpants - are of additional significance since they are provenanced to a particular family and location, in the outer south-east Melbourne suburb of Dandenong. They were used by two brothers born in the early 1960s, Andrew and Brett McCabe, the only children of English immigrant blacksmith Francis McCabe (in Australia working as a panel beater) and his wife Clare Mavis, who had been a professional housekeeper to the Malvern family of Colonel Joseph Rex Hall. The family lived in Boyd Street, Dandenong, throughout the boys' childhood. They attended Greenslopes Primary School and Lyndale High School. The boys' interests reflected contemporary popular culture, particularly in relation to music to clothing. Both became musicians in bands after completing trade apprenticeships. Photographs are available to complement the collection.

The treads, with their open weave, were typically worn by 'surfies' and youth who spent time at the beach. At least some treads were probably made locally. The underpants - branded with iconography the popular band Kiss - illustrate the marketing of international bands in the 1970s, and some of the merchandise that complemented vinyl albums and posters.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Dr Andrew McCabe, 2010
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 110 mm (Width)
Dimension Comment: Width varies from 70 to 110

More information

Tagged with: footwear, shoes, youth, rain boots
Themes this item is part of: Clothing & Textiles Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Youth
Tertiary Classification: clothing
Place & Date Used: Dandenong, Victoria, Australia, 1975-1978


Annette Posted on 14 Jan 2014 9:05 PM
Treads were such a big part of my youth in the 1970s. They were very expensive ( or so I thought at the time ) and I was never able to afford a pair. But I longed for a pair as they were the height of fashion amongst bayside teenagers during that period. I have never seen a pair since and often wondered where they all went. I grew up in Aspendale and went to school in Mentone finishing in 1976. They were definetly an icon amongst sufers and surfies ( those who didnt actual surf ) and popular ith both boys and girls
Elisabeth Posted on 19 Jan 2014 9:38 PM
I owned the coolest pair of black treats with 2 shades of blue (Royal & light blue)and I loved them. They were $25 dollars in Just Jeans and the only reason I could afford them was that I had 2 part time jobs, I worked for Dairy Queen and Target and saved to buy them. As a result I was always dressed very cool at school as we had a no uniform policy, whish was hard for most kids. In those days parents only bought us basics. I grew up in the north no where near the beach, so I never associated treads with surfers, they were just cool. I never forgave my mum for getting rid of them without asking me.
rod wallis Posted on 17 Jun 2014 12:53 PM
I actually worked for a couple and made treads back in the early 1970's. the couples names were Ken and Judy Hodge and they had a small factory in Huntingdale Victoria. I worked for them for around 12 months and they were thinking of making an ugg boot with the same type of sole, obviously it never made production.but they were a great hard working couple
Janine white Posted on 28 Jun 2014 7:29 PM
I still have my treds, and my little brothers. Mine are blue ladies size 5-6. My brothers are also blue, kids size 8-10. They are still in excellent condition. I love my treds. :)
Sharon Hill Posted on 26 Jul 2014 8:51 PM
I remember my mum bringing home the tops of these, along with bags full of the trips of leather, for threading. She worked for the company and with us four kids helping her of a night after dinner, she would fill her quota. Our hands would be covered in the ink from the leather. We had multiple pairs in different colors.
Anita Valenzisi (Norton) Posted on 26 Feb 2015 2:40 PM
I had a treasured pair of blue/black treads which were purchased directly from the tread factory in Oakleigh - highly envied. They accompanied my op shop army pants with embroidered side panels. 1976

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.


This item is part of the following themes:

Similar items

Yes No