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.

Physical Description

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.


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.

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