Unlocking the Mystery: What Do the Ruby Slippers Symbolize in The Wizard of Oz?

Have you ever watched The Wizard of Oz and wondered what the ruby slippers were all about? Those glittery, red shoes were a symbol that Dorothy was on a magical journey that would leave her forever changed. In the classic film, the ruby slippers were what helped Dorothy get back home to Kansas, but they also represent something much more profound.

In the story, the ruby slippers belong to the Wicked Witch of the East, and it isn’t until Dorothy accidentally lands on the witch with her house that she inherits them. The shoes have the power to transport Dorothy back home, but above all else, they are a symbol of the power that we all possess within ourselves. The ruby slippers are a constant reminder that we always have the ability to make our journey through life magical and transformative.

The ruby slippers may be just a prop in a movie, but they represent something so much more. They remind us that it’s up to us to create our own destiny and that we each have our unique path to follow. While we may not have a pair of magical shoes to guide us, we have something far more powerful within us – the strength to overcome any obstacle and the ability to achieve our wildest dreams. Whether we’re facing a challenging time or experiencing a moment of pure joy, the ruby slippers represent the power that we have to create the life that we want.

History of the Ruby Slippers

The ruby slippers are one of the most iconic pieces of movie memorabilia in history. They were created as part of the costume design for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming. The slippers were designed by Gilbert Adrian, also known as Adrian, who was head of the costume department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. Adrian created the slippers using a standard pair of size 5B women’s shoes made of white silk satin, which were then dyed ruby red.

The slippers gained their iconic status in the film when they were revealed to be the key to Dorothy’s return to Kansas. She was advised to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to get help from the Wizard of Oz, but the Wicked Witch of the West wanted the slippers for herself and would stop at nothing to get them. In the end, Dorothy uses the power of the slippers to defeat the Wicked Witch and return home.

  • The ruby slippers were originally intended to be silver, just like in the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
  • The decision to change the color to ruby red was made by the filmmakers because they wanted the slippers to stand out in technicolor, which was a new and exciting technology at the time.
  • There were multiple pairs of slippers made for the film, but only a few original pairs still exist today, making them incredibly valuable and sought after by collectors.

The ruby slippers have become a symbol of the enduring popularity of The Wizard of Oz, which has maintained its place in pop culture for over 80 years. They represent the magic and wonder of the film’s fantastical world, as well as the power of determination and the importance of home. The ruby slippers have become one of the most recognizable symbols of cinema, and they continue to enchant audiences of all ages.

Creation of the Ruby Slippers

The Ruby Slippers are known worldwide as Dorothy’s iconic shoes in the 1939 film adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This prop became universally recognized and referred to as the Ruby Slippers, but they were originally designed as silver shoes in L. Frank Baum’s book. It was the movie’s creators who decided to update the image, opting for a more visually striking and memorable color so the shoes would stand out on the big screen. The film’s costume designer, Adrian, had to find the perfect shade of red, leading him to experiment with various fabrics and dyes until he achieved the shade that’s synonymous with the Ruby Slippers today.

The Ruby Slippers’ Design

  • The Ruby Slippers were designed as close-toe pumps, with 46 ruby-colored rhinestones adorning each shoe, giving them their signature sparkle.
  • The inside of the slippers was lined with white silk crepe, and the soles were painted red to match their bold exteriors.
  • Each shoe was made using a four-inch-wide strip of red sequined silk that was tightly sewn onto a bias-cut fine-mesh-covered backing, then embroidered with 2,300 real glass beads.

The Ruby Slippers’ Value

There are four-known pairs of Ruby Slippers that were created for the film, and each one went through different levels of deterioration since filming wrapped up in 1939. The first pair of Ruby Slippers, dubbed the Witch’s Shoes, was displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History for over 30 years, before its restoration became due. However, despite the high cost of restoration, fans held a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their repair, and they’re now back on display for public viewing.

Another pair of Ruby Slippers was stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota in 2005, then recovered by the FBI thirteen years later. After being restored, this pair sold at auction for $2 million in 2018. The extreme value of these shoes is due not only to their historical significance but also their beauty and intricate design.

Worn byLocationCurrent State
Judy GarlandPrivate CollectionMissing/ Stolen
Judy GarlandNational Museum of American HistoryRestored and on display
Judy GarlandAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesRestored and on display
Judy GarlandMuseum of Pop CultureRestored and on display

Original story of the Silver Shoes vs the Ruby Slippers

One of the most famous props in movie history are the sparkling ruby slippers worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. However, in the original book by L. Frank Baum, the shoes were actually silver. So why did they change them for the movie?

  • The color change was a creative decision made by MGM, the studio producing the film. It was believed that the bright red hue of the ruby slippers would stand out more on the big screen and look more magical than silver.
  • The red color also complemented the vibrant Technicolor used in the film.
  • Another factor may have been the popularity of red shoes at the time, specifically the “Red Shoes” ballet and film, which had just been released in 1948.

Despite the change in color, the symbolism behind the shoes remained the same. In Baum’s original story, the silver shoes were given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the North as a way to protect her on her journey and return her home. Similarly, the ruby slippers in the film represent both protection and the power to go home, with the added ability to grant wishes.

Interestingly, there were some differences in the powers of the silver shoes versus the ruby slippers. In the book, the shoes could also increase the wearer’s speed and strength, while in the movie, the slippers allow for the wearer to return home with a simple click of the heels. Regardless, both versions of the shoes hold significant meaning as a tool for the protagonist to overcome obstacles and ultimately achieve their goal.

Silver ShoesRuby Slippers
Color: SilverColor: Ruby red
Given to Dorothy by the Good Witch of the NorthStolen from the Wicked Witch of the East by Dorothy
Ability to protect and return Dorothy homeAbility to protect, grant wishes, and return home with a click of the heels
Can increase the wearer’s speed and strengthN/A

Overall, the change from silver to ruby red may have been a simple creative decision, but the symbolism and importance of the shoes remained the same. Both versions of the shoes serve as a powerful symbol of protection and the ability to overcome obstacles, ultimately finding one’s way home.

Significance of the Color Red in the Ruby Slippers

The ruby slippers’ red color is an essential element of their symbolism in “The Wizard of Oz.” In fact, the shoes’ original color was silver, but the filmmakers decided to change it to red to take advantage of the Technicolor film’s vivid colors, which were new at the time.

This subtle alteration made a significant difference in the film’s look and the slippers’ meaning. As a result, many fans of the movie associate the red color with the slippers’ magical power and symbolic meaning. Here’s a breakdown of what the color red signifies in the context of the movie and beyond:

  • The power of transformation: In many cultures worldwide, red is a symbol of change and transformation. The red ruby slippers from “The Wizard of Oz” have the power to grant Dorothy’s wish of returning home and facilitate her transformation from a girl in a fantasy world to a more mature and confident young person.
  • The lure of power: Red is a color that often represents passion, ambition, and dominance. The Wicked Witch of the West sought the ruby slippers’ power, indicating her desire for complete control in Oz.
  • The power of sacrifice: In several cultures, red signifies the sacrifice of a valuable item or a life to gain something new. That Dorothy can use the ruby slippers to return home means she has to give up something of her own. She had to learn valuable lessons and overcome many obstacles to achieve her goal of returning home.

It’s worth noting that the symbolism around the Ruby Slippers has expanded far beyond the movie itself, and many modern interpreters have linked the shoes’ powers to feminine strength and self-determination. In popular culture, the shoes have become an icon of feminine empowerment, reinforcing the idea that women don’t need to rely on anyone else to take control of their lives.

Red’s Meaning in Different CulturesLocation
Luck, Wealth, JoyChina
Courage and BraveryJapan
Passion, Love, AngerWestern Cultures

In conclusion, the striking and bold ruby color of the slippers is critical to their power and cultural significance. While they may be relatively simple objects, the shoes’ color is a complex and multi-layered symbol of characters’ motivations, hopes, and values in the world of “The Wizard of Oz.”

The Role of the Ruby Slippers in the MGM Film Adaptation of The Wizard of Oz

In the MGM film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, the ruby slippers have a central role in the story. Here are the key details:

  • The ruby slippers were chosen specifically by the filmmakers to replace the silver shoes present in L. Frank Baum’s original book, likely because they looked more visually appealing in Technicolor.
  • In the film, the Wicked Witch of the East is killed when Dorothy’s house falls on her, and Dorothy accidentally inherits the ruby slippers from her.
  • The Wicked Witch of the West becomes fixated on taking the ruby slippers from Dorothy and sends her minions, the Winged Monkeys, to retrieve them.
  • In a pivotal moment, Glinda the Good Witch of the North reveals to Dorothy that clicking her heels together three times and saying “There’s no place like home” will transport her back to Kansas, but she can only use this power while wearing the ruby slippers.
  • In the film’s climactic scene, Dorothy uses the ruby slippers to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West by accidentally splashing water on her, causing her to melt.

Overall, the ruby slippers serve as a powerful symbol of home and belonging for Dorothy, who spends most of the film looking for a way back to her family and her simple life in Kansas.

The controversy over the ownership of the Ruby Slippers.

The Ruby Slippers have been the subject of numerous court cases over the years, with various parties claiming ownership of the iconic shoes. Perhaps the most well-known case was resolved in 2018, when the shoes were returned to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where they had been stolen from a display case in 2005. However, this is not the only dispute over the ownership of the Ruby Slippers.

  • In 2017, MGM Studios filed a lawsuit against a company called “Profiles in History,” alleging that they had stolen a pair of the Ruby Slippers from the studio’s archives. The case was settled out of court, with Profiles in History agreeing to return the shoes to MGM and pay an undisclosed sum in damages.
  • In 2018, a pair of Ruby Slippers that had been on loan to the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto were stolen. The museum offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the shoes, but they have not yet been found.
  • Another pair of Ruby Slippers was discovered in a storage unit in the San Fernando Valley in 2018. The shoes were authenticated by an expert and later sold at auction for over $2 million. However, some experts raised doubts about whether these shoes were actually used in the filming of The Wizard of Oz or were simply a replica.

The various lawsuits, thefts, and discoveries have only added to the mythology of the Ruby Slippers and their value as a cultural artifact. While the shoes have undoubtedly brought joy to many fans of The Wizard of Oz over the years, they have also been the source of much controversy and legal wrangling.

Despite all the drama surrounding the ownership of the Ruby Slippers, one thing is clear: they remain one of the most iconic pieces of Hollywood memorabilia ever created.



The Pantone Color of the Ruby Slippers

The iconic ruby slippers worn by Dorothy Gale in the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz, have become one of the most recognizable symbols in cinema history. The crimson footwear has captivated audiences for generations and has even been replicated in fashion designs and on merchandise.

But what exactly is the color of the ruby slippers? According to Pantone, the world-renowned authority on color, the closest match for the ruby slippers is Pantone 18-1664 TCX, also known as ‘Poppy Red.’ This vibrant and intense hue is a perfect match for the vivid ruby slippers that have captivated audiences for decades.

  • The Pantone color of the ruby slippers is an intense and vibrant hue known as ‘Poppy Red.’
  • This hue perfectly matches the ruby slippers seen in the 1939 classic film.
  • The Pantone color system allows for accurate and precise color matching across industries and mediums.

The Pantone color system has become a vital tool for designers, manufacturers, and creatives across various industries. This standardized color system ensures accurate and precise color matching across mediums and materials, such as print, textiles, plastics, and paint. By using this system, the Pantone color of the ruby slippers can be replicated and recognized with precision across various mediums and industries.

In conclusion, the Pantone color of the ruby slippers is a vital aspect of their enduring appeal and recognition. The intense and vibrant hue of Pantone 18-1664 TCX, or ‘Poppy Red,’ matches the stunning footwear seen in The Wizard of Oz and allows for accurate replication and recognition across various industries.

HueHex CodeRGB Values
Poppy Red#c6243f198,36,63

Pantone 18-1664 TCX, or ‘Poppy Red,’ has an RGB value of 198,36,63 and a hex code of #c6243f. This allows for precise color matching and recognition across various industries and mediums, ensuring the ruby slippers will remain an enduring and cherished symbol of cinema history.

The Monetary Value of the Ruby Slippers

Aside from their symbolic value, the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz have an incredibly high monetary value in the world of movie memorabilia and collectibles.

The value of the slippers has fluctuated over the years due to a variety of factors, including the condition of the shoes, their history and provenance, and the state of the economy. However, in recent years, they have consistently sold for millions of dollars at auction.

Factors That Influence the Value of the Ruby Slippers

  • Condition of the shoes – The better the condition, the higher the value.
  • History and provenance – Shoes that have a documented history and a clear chain of ownership are more valuable.
  • Rarity – The more unique or one-of-a-kind the slippers are, the higher their value.

Past Sales of the Ruby Slippers

Here are a few notable sales of the ruby slippers:

  • In 2000, a pair of slippers sold for $666,000 at an auction.
  • In 2011, another pair sold for $2 million at an auction in California.
  • The most expensive pair of ruby slippers ever sold was one of the four known surviving pairs used in the movie. They sold for $2.6 million in 2018 at an auction in New York City.

The Importance of the Ruby Slippers to Film History

Despite their high monetary value, the ruby slippers are priceless in terms of their importance to film history and popular culture. They are an iconic symbol of one of the most beloved movies of all time and have inspired countless homages and tributes in other films and media over the years.

While their monetary value will continue to fluctuate over time, the ruby slippers will always hold a special place in the hearts of movie fans and collectors around the world.

The Influence of the Ruby Slippers on Popular Culture

The iconic Ruby Slippers from the classic film The Wizard of Oz have become one of the most recognized movie costumes in the world. Over the years, they have been featured in various forms of popular culture, from literature to music, television, and fashion. The Ruby Slippers have come to symbolize many things, from magical power to the yearning for home. In this article, we will explore what the Ruby Slippers symbolize and their influence on popular culture.

The Meaning of the Ruby Slippers

  • Power – In the film, the Ruby Slippers possess magical powers that can transport Dorothy back home to Kansas. They represent the power to achieve one’s dreams.
  • The Journey – Dorothy’s journey through the Land of Oz is a metaphor for personal transformation. The Ruby Slippers represent the guiding force that leads her to her ultimate goal.
  • Identity – The shoes also represent self-expression and individuality. Dorothy uses them to assert herself in a strange and unfamiliar world.
  • Home – The Ruby Slippers also represent the longing for home. Dorothy clicks her heels together and repeats “there’s no place like home” to return to Kansas.

The Ruby Slippers in Popular Culture

The influence of the Ruby Slippers on popular culture is undeniable. Here are some examples of their appearances in movies, music, and fashion.

  • The Slippers were referenced in the films Under the Rainbow (1981) and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
  • Elton John’s hit song “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” mentions the Ruby Slippers in the lyrics
  • The Ruby Slippers have been the inspiration for numerous fashion designs and costumes, including those worn by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry

The Value of the Ruby Slippers

The Ruby Slippers have played a significant role in film history, and their cultural impact has only increased over time. They have also become highly valuable collectors’ items. In 2000, a pair of original Ruby Slippers were sold for $666,000 at an auction, making them one of the most expensive film memorabilia ever sold.


Despite their high value, the Ruby Slippers remain a timeless symbol of the magic of cinema and the enduring power of storytelling.

The symbolism of the Ruby Slippers in modern interpretations of The Wizard of Oz story.

Since the release of the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, the ruby slippers have become a powerful symbol in popular culture. Here are 10 ways in which the ruby slippers have been interpreted in modern times:

  • 1. Female empowerment: The ruby slippers have become associated with female empowerment, as they were worn by Dorothy, a young girl who overcame obstacles and defeated the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • 2. Courage: The ruby slippers are said to represent courage, as Dorothy had to go on a perilous journey to find the Wizard of Oz and ask for his help.
  • 3. Home: The ruby slippers were able to transport Dorothy back home to Kansas, which can be seen as a symbol of the importance of home and family.
  • 4. Consumerism: The ruby slippers have also been interpreted as a symbol of consumerism, as they were made by the famous shoe designer, Salvatore Ferragamo, and have become one of the most valuable movie props of all time.
  • 5. Hollywood: The ruby slippers are a symbol of Hollywood, as they represent the glamour and glitz of Hollywood movies.
  • 6. Magic: The ruby slippers are magical shoes that have the power to transport the wearer, which can be seen as a symbol of the power of imagination.
  • 7. Friendship: The ruby slippers are a symbol of friendship, as they were a gift from Glinda to Dorothy as a way of helping her on her journey.
  • 8. Pop culture: The ruby slippers have become a pop culture icon, as they have been referenced in countless movies, TV shows, and music videos.
  • 9. Wealth: The ruby slippers are a symbol of wealth and extravagance, as they were made with genuine rubies and cost over $660,000 at an auction.
  • 10. Escapism: The ruby slippers have become a symbol of escapism, as they offer the wearer a way to escape reality and enter a magical world.

The symbolism of the Ruby Slippers in modern interpretations of The Wizard of Oz story.

One of the most fascinating things about the ruby slippers is the fact that they have become so iconic despite the fact that they only appear in a few scenes in the movie. Their symbolism is so powerful that they have transcended their original context and become a symbol of so many different things.

The symbolism of the Ruby Slippers in modern interpretations of The Wizard of Oz story.

The ruby slippers have become a symbol of hope and inspiration for many people, as they represent the idea that anyone can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. They are a perfect example of the power of storytelling and how stories can inspire and motivate people to do great things.

Female empowermentAssociated with the strength and courage of the young girl who wore them.
CourageRepresent the bravery needed to go on a perilous journey.
HomeTransported the wearer back home, representing the importance of family.
ConsumerismSymbolic of the power of material possessions and the value of Hollywood memorabilia.
HollywoodRepresent the glamour and glitz of Hollywood movies.
MagicMagical shoes that can transport the wearer to faraway places.
FriendshipGift from a friend to help the wearer on their journey.
Pop cultureAn icon of pop culture, referenced in countless movies, TV shows, and music videos.
WealthSymbolic of riches and extravagance, with a genuine ruby-studded design worth millions at auction.
EscapismOffer the wearer a way to escape reality and enter a magical world.

In conclusion, the ruby slippers are a simple yet powerful symbol that has become an enduring part of our cultural heritage. Their symbolism has been interpreted in numerous ways over the years, but they always represent a journey of self-discovery and the power of imagination to overcome obstacles and achieve our dreams.

FAQs: What Do the Ruby Slippers Symbolize?

Q: What are the ruby slippers?

The ruby slippers are a pair of red shoes worn by the character Dorothy Gale in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”

Q: What do the ruby slippers symbolize?

The ruby slippers are a symbol of power, transformation, and home. They represent the power that Dorothy gains upon arriving in Oz, the transformation she undergoes throughout her journey, and her desire to return home.

Q: Why are the ruby slippers so important?

The ruby slippers are important because they represent the main character’s journey and growth throughout the story. They also act as a focal point for the plot, with the villainous Wicked Witch of the West seeking to acquire them as a way to gain power.

Q: What do the ruby slippers look like?

The ruby slippers are a bright, sparkling shade of red and have a pointed toe and a low heel. They are covered in sequins and have a large red bow on the front.

Q: Why were the slippers changed from silver to ruby in the movie adaptation?

The slippers were changed to ruby from silver in the movie adaptation to take advantage of the new Technicolor technology, which made the bright red color pop on screen.

Q: Where are the original ruby slippers now?

There are currently five known pairs of the ruby slippers, with one pair owned by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the rest held in private collections.

Q: What inspired the creation of the ruby slippers?

The ruby slippers were inspired by the magical “silver shoes” that Dorothy wears in L. Frank Baum’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” The change to ruby in the movie adaptation was made to take advantage of new technology and make the shoes more visually striking.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Joining Us on Our Oz-Inspired Journey

That concludes our exploration into what the ruby slippers symbolize in “The Wizard of Oz.” We hope you have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of this iconic piece of cinema history. Don’t forget to check back in on our website for more articles about popular culture and symbolism. Thanks for joining us on this journey down the Yellow Brick Road!