Having directed several films in tandem with her husband Phillips Smalley, Lois Weber went solo with the 1916 production Shoes. The film was based on a Collier's Magazine story by Stella Wynne Herron, which in turn was inspired by a quote from a book by 19th-century humanitarian Jane Addams. The heroine, working-girl Eve Meyer (Mary McLaren), is unable to afford a new pair of shoes on her meager wages. After several frustrating weeks of trying to scrimp and save, Eve is reduced to selling herself sexually for the sake of the shoes. She comes to regret this decision, bitterly ruminating over "what might have been" during the film's somber closing scenes.