HistoryThe silver shoes (also called slippers) were originally worn by the Wicked Witch of the East, but she was killed by a flying farm house that fell out of the sky and landed right on top of her. Dorothy Gale and her pet dog Toto were stuck inside of the house as it crashed, and Dorothy became the new owner of the shoes when she first arrived in the Land of Oz via cyclone, from Kansas. The Munchkins and the Good Witch of the North gladly gave the shoes to her for good luck and also as a reward for forever setting the Munchkins free from the Wicked Witch's bondage. Later on, the Wicked Witch of the West tried to trick Dorothy and steal them when she captured the girl and turned her into a kitchen slave to work inside her castle. But in defense, Dorothy threw a bucket of water on her and destroyed her as well. Unaware of the charm the shoes had, Dorothy went to the beautiful Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, hoping to find a way home and back with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry again after the Wizard accidentally left without her in his hot air balloon. Glinda explained the charm to her, which was to knock the heels together three times and command them to take you wherever one wished to go. Dorothy used them for her and Toto to finally return home after her adventures in Oz. The shoes, however, fell off of her feet on the way back and were lost forever in the Deadly Desert. (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)
Ruby slippersScreenwriter Noel Langley was the man who is responsible for this idea. The Ruby Slippers that Judy Garland wore at the age of sixteen in the musical are the most popular and familiar version of the magic shoes that allowed Dorothy and Toto to return to Kansas. MGM famously agreed to turn L. Frank Baum's Silver Shoes with pointed toes to more modern, appealing and fashionable Ruby Slippers to take advantage of the new invention of technicolor. They strongly beleived that the red would look more striking and stand out better on screen compared to silver against the Yellow Brick Road for the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz
In Alexander Melentyevich Volkov's The Wizard of the Emerald City, the shoes are the source of Elly's (his version of Dorothy) protection instead of the Good Witch's kiss. She is therefore attacked by an ogre when removing them, and afterward wears them even when she sleeps. They aren't taken from the Witch's feet, but rather brought by Toto from her dwelling (a dark cave). This was possibly done to avert the problem of a person wearing them to be impossible to harm, since in that book the hurricane was created by the Witch to destroy mankind, and redirected upon her by the Good Witch of the North, who suffered no ill effects for harming her. It is said she only wore them on very special occasions. They are lost just like in Baum's book.
In Walt Disney's film Return to Oz Dorothy's slippers are kept Ruby.
In Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West'. In this version the shoes change colors depending on the lighting. They can appear to be silver, ruby or even blue. It is revealed that Frex created them out of glass beads and Glinda enchanted them.
In the Wiz, both Broadway stage production and the movie the Slippers are sliver.