ˈwiNGkəl ˌpikər


  • A shoe with a long pointed toe, popular in the 1950s.

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Example Sentences

“My grandmother’s old photo albums show her and her sisters all wearing winkle-pickers as teenagers.”

“That vintage store downtown has a few original winkle-pickers in perfect condition.” 

“The stylist paired 1960s blazers with winkle-pickers for the band to wear for the album cover.”

Word Origin

British English, 1950s

Why this word?

A periwinkle (or “winkle”) is a teeny-tiny snail whose edible flesh is obtained by using a pin or other sharp, skinny instrument. Therefore, a winkle-picker is … a type of shoe. Specifically, it’s a shoe with an exaggeratedly long, pointed toe, and it was a rebellious style popular in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. By the time Beatlemania hit, the latest styles had blunted the tip into a flat end, but as fashion trends came and went, the winkle-picker made comebacks in the 1980s and the 2000s. Is it time for a winkle-picker revival?

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