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p-shoes-msg - 8/16/17


Period footwear. Period boots and shoes.


NOTE: See also the files: shoes-msg, shoemaking-msg, leather-msg, hose-msg, headgear-msg, hose-manu-MA-art, boots-msg, 2Shod-a-Shire-art, Caligae-Boots-art.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



From: mjl at rutabaga.Rational.COM (Matthew Larsen)

Date: 24 Jan 91 19:49:43 GMT


johnf at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu (john feldmeier) writes:

>    Being a mundane person who reads this newsgroup and has interest

>in the Middle Ages, I was wondering if one of you lovely people

>could tell me what English peasants of the 11th century wore on

>their feet. Did they wear common shoes, boots, loose rags or just

>walk around barefoot?

>                                         Yours in Ignorance

>                                             John Feldmeier


>John Feldmeier, University of Texas at Austin

>Internet johnf at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu

>Snail: 221 Simkins Hall, Austin Tx 78705

>Meaning of life:None, you create it or take 42


I would hazard a guess that they had shoes available to them, although I'm

sure that some people went barefoot, particularly during summer.  There is

a book entitled "Shoes and Pattens" which covers shoemaking and shoes from

England during the period of roughly 11th or 12th century to 14th century.

The data which it is based on is mostly shoes which were found in digs

around or in London, and were mostly worn by common people.  Now it is

possible that people in the country didn't have shoes, while people in

London did, but I think that's unlikely.  Also, the authors say that a

person would go through about 6 pairs of shoes per year, so I would expect

that they were not very expensive items (although many of the shoes show

evidence of repair, so they were valuable enough to be worth fixing).  I

don't have the book here with me at work, but if anyone is interested, I

can post more detailed information.


By the way, the book is an excellent source for anyone interested in making

shoes. It includes both information on period techniques and a great

number of patterns taken from the actual shoes.  Since I got the book I have

made a half dozen pairs of shoes, and while I think I still have a lot to

learn, one can do a reasonable job without too much in the way of tools and

skills. I would encourage anyone to get the book and give it a try.  Since

I don't have the book I can't give detailed bibliographic info, but if

anyone wants it, I will be happy to send it to you.


Matt Larsen

Geoffrey Mathias

mjl at rational.rational.com



From: rick at olivea.OLIVETTI.COM (Rick Meneely)

Date: 29 Jan 91 19:22:33 GMT

From article <43037 at ut-emx.uucp>, by johnf at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu (john


> My Lords Ladies and other Gentlefolk,

>     Being a mundane person who reads this newsgroup and has interest

> in the Middle Ages, I was wondering if one of you lovely people

> could tell me what English peasants of the 11th century wore on

> their feet. Did they wear common shoes, boots, loose rags or just

> walk around barefoot?

>                                          Yours in Ignorance

>                                              John Feldmeier


Most did indeed wear shoes or boots.  Shoes tended to be either very

low cut or ankle shoes (at or a little above the ankle).  Boots tended to

be at about mid-calf.


Fasteners: 1100 ~ 1250 drawstrings were the most common

          1250 ~ 1350 toggles were common

          1200 ~ ???? side-laced (laces on the inner side)

          1350 ~ ???? front-laced, latchets and buckles.


Most tended to have either small pointed toes or rounded ones, however

some examples of pointed toes (poulaines) reach 100 mm and were stuffed

with moss or hair.


If you wish to know more then e-mail me at the address below or better

yet if you can get ahold of it - the following book is BY FAR the best

source for information on english medieval shoes that I have found:


Shoes and Pattens

Medieval finds from excavations in London

Publisher: The Museum of London

Authors: Francis Grew and Margrethe de Neergaard

Copyright 1988


| Rick Meneely                       | Internet: rick at olivee.ATC.Olivetti.Com|

| Olivetti Advanced Technology Center|                                       |

| 20300 Stevens Creek Blvd.          | A shoe by any other name,             |

| Cupertino, Ca 95014                |   would smell the same. - Me          |

| Ph# (408) 366-3101                 |                                       |



Shoes (was Re: authenticity)

Date: 19 Jun 92

From: kuijt at umiacs.umd.edu (David Kuijt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: UMIACS, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


Dave Aronson and Nicholas van Leyden speak and ask about shoes:

> NvL> Making soled shoes is obviously much harder than making moccassins

> NvL> because the sole leather is much tougher than what's

> NvL> required for the uppers.

> NvL> (It had better be or what's the point?)  You're going

> NvL> to need heavy tools and work much harder to sew it.

> NvL> (Unless you use glue or nails, which pose their

> NvL> own complications.)

>What I had in mind for a design of mine was to sew the uppers to the top of a

>sole, then glue in an insole, and finally glue another layer of leather on the

>bottom. The pattern of the uppers winds up basically like a boot version of

>wallabees, but without the  gumsoles. (At least, externally.  I was also

>considering putting a pair of flipflops inside for comfort, under the insole so

>it doesn't make the foot sweat so much.)  Also I was considering having the

>bottom portion laceable separately from the top.

>Does anybody know if anything even close to that (with or without separate

>lacing) is at all period?  Is the concept of separate laceability period?  And

>does anybody have any similarly simple patterns for GOOD (comfortable, and will

>hold out for a few Pennsics worth of use) period shoes?


Statements I am about to make are based upon my experimentations with,

and reading of, the book _Shoes_and_Pattens:_excavations_from_medieval_

London_ (subtitle may not be exactly correct), published by the

London Museum, and highly (HIGHLY) recommended.  The finds examined

date from between 1250 and 1450, and are very complete (hundreds of

shoes are catalogued; tens are examined in great detail).


This book has been described (by me, and others) as being "The London

Museum Textbook for Shoe Laurels."  It is very readable, and very

useful in a practical way as well.


In the period examined, and the location examined, glue was never used.

Further, all the shoes examined are turn-shoes: they are sewn together

inside out on a last (foot-shaped wood block).  This makes turning the

shoe right-side-in very hard if you put a hard sole on it, even when you

do it with the leather soaking, sopping wet (as you should).


I have constructed several pairs of shoes using the techniques described

in the book, and one pair of thigh-high 15th century boots.  The boots

use turn-welt construction, where an extra strip of leather (the welt,

or rand) is sewn between the inner sole and the vamp (top part of the

shoe) so that it protrudes when the shoe is turned; the welt is then used

to attach an outer sole that can be heavier (as the shoe has now been

turned). This method of construction came in in the 15th century.

The boots I have constructed are both very comfortable (more so than

my modern boots) and durable.  Plus very fashionable.


       Dafydd ap Gwystl                        David Kuijt

       Barony of Storvik                       kuijt at umiacs.umd.edu

       Kingdom of Atlantia                     (MD,DC,VA,NC,SC)



Shoes (was Re: authenticity)

19 Jun 92

From: ewright at convex.com (Edward V. Wright)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Engineering, CONVEX Computer Corp., Richardson, Tx., USA


Dave.Aronson at f120.n109.z1.fidonet.org (Dave Aronson) writes:


>Is the concept of separate laceability period?  


I don't know what you mean by "the concept of separate laceability," so

I'm going to assume you mean shoe laces.  The answer, then, is yes, shoe

laces are period.  I don't know when shoe laces were invented, but I do

know they were in use by Elizabethan times.  Satin ribbons were used as

laces, although I suspect that leather was also used when a less fancy

but more reliable lace was desired.  Men who were smitten wore green shoe

laces (green being the color associated with lust or sexual desire.)  By

the early 1600's, laces were often disguised with satin roses; whether

these roses were worn prior to 1600 is uncertain.


The American Footwear Association (that's probably not the right name,

but it's close -- the shoe industry association) has a booklet called, I

believe, "Shoes Through the Ages."  You can buy a copy from the Amazon

Vinegar and Dry Goods Company in Davenport, Iowa (call Davenport information

for the number -- sorry, it's not toll-free) for a couple of bucks.



>And does anybody have any similarly simple patterns for GOOD (comfortable,

>and will hold out for a few Pennsics worth of use) period shoes?


There is a Laurel from one of the eastern kingdoms who sells patterns

for several styles of shoes (Tudor, Elizabethan, and, I think, an earlier

style also).  She sold the patterns at last year's Pennsic and had some

sample shoes on display.  As I recall, though, they were constructed of

a rather light leather and probably wouldn't take very much outdoor wear.


-- Nicholas van Leyden



Shoes (was Re: authenticity)

20 Jun 92

Nicholas van Leyden (ewright at convex.com (Edward V. Wright)) writes:


NvL> Dave.Aronson at f120.n109.z1.fidonet.org [...] writes:


DA> Is the concept of separate laceability period?


NvL> I don't know what you mean by "the concept of separate laceability,"


The idea of using one shoelace for the foot-part and ANOTHER one for the shin-part of a boot, so that for instance one may tie the foot snugly and the shin loosely.



From: huff at bronze.lcs.mit.EDU (Robert Huff)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Shoes, right and left (was: Hats and Dry History)

Date: 13 Jul 1993 23:34:27 -0400

Organization: The Internet




        "T. Archer" <PA142548 at utkvm1.utk.edu> says:

>    Well, I think the footgear has the added deterrant that the difference

>    between the left foot and the right foot was not detected until just

>    before the American Civil War.


        Respectfully, not so.  Find:


        _Shoes and Pattens_

               (Medieval finds from excavations in London #2)

        Francis Grew and Margrethe de Neergard

        ISBN = 0-11-290443-2


        Look at pages 60-74.

        According to the professional re-enactors at Old Sturbridge

Village (early 19th century) undifferentiated shoes came in about the

time of the American Revolution.  (I _think_ that's what was said.

Permission to quote is _not_ granted.)


>                                    Or so I'm told.  I "learned" that in a

>    "class" at an SCA event, and the "instructor" wasn't a Degreed

>    Historian, so her contributions Have No Value, and of course,


        In this case, they are diminished by the (subjective) value of

the inacuraccy.

        (Depends on when the course was taught, there may have been no

published material readily available. _S and P_ was published in 1988.

I have yet to find comparable documentation before then.)




                                                            Diego Mundoz




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: houghtom at hfsi.hfsi.com (Mike Houghton)

Subject: Re: Hats and Dry History

Organization: HFSI

Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1993 16:45:57 GMT


PA142548 at utkvm1.utk.edu (T. Archer) writes:

>Well, I think the footgear has the added deterrant that the difference

>between the left foot and the right foot was not detected until just before

>the American Civil War.  Or so I'm told.  I "learned" that in a "class" at

>an SCA event, and the "instructor" wasn't a Degreed Historian, so her

>contributions Have No Value, and of course, I'm


There are numerous examples of footwear from period with left and right shoes.

I believe that the Museum of London book on Shoes and Pattens will make this

clear. Perhaps others can give a more precise citation.





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hats and Dry History

From: vnend at nudity.UUCP (David W. James)

Date: Thu, 15 Jul 93 07:53:48 -0500


T. Archer writes:

> Well, I think the footgear has the added deterrant that the difference

> between the left foot and the right foot was not detected until just before

> the American Civil War.  Or so I'm told.  I "learned" that in a "class" at

> an SCA event, and the "instructor" wasn't a Degreed Historian, so her

> contributions Have No Value, and of course, I'm

> Annoyingly Clueless


Well then, rather, I'd say that *that part* of the persons contribution

has *negative* value, rather than no value.  A quick check of "Shoes and

Pattens: Medieval Finds from Excavations in London" finds, on page 10:


"All the shoes in the present collection, unlike those from 12th-century

Mittelburg described in Groenman-van Waateringe (1974, 113-4), can be

easily identified as either left or right; similarly, a right-food boot

and a left-foot last are reported from Anglo-Scandinavian York

(MacGregor 1982, 138 & Fig. 72 No. 627;144-5 & Fig.74)."


In a footnote.  Since I don't recall a reference to an Amer. Civil War

in the early 10th century, I believe she was just wrong (either due to

lack of research or reliance on old, out of date research.  Just between

you and me, I find the date she gave to be rediculously modern...)



Occational maker of shoes...



From: kuijt at umiacs.umd.edu (David Kuijt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Shoe myths

Date: 20 Jul 93 17:14:36 GMT

Organization: UMIACS, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742


Master Dafydd ap Gwystl greets the rialto after travelling for some

time without contact with its denizens.


Several people have written about shoes in the time I have been absent

from the rialto; here is my tuppence.


Undifferentiated shoes (shoes without a left/right foot) appear in the

seventeenth century, or _possibly_ in the late sixteenth.  The probable

reason for the introduction of undifferentiated shoes is the new fashion

for heels, and their side-effects upon shoe construction.  The reasoning

goes like this:


Throughout the medieval and rennaissance shoes were made on wooden lasts

(forms) shaped like a foot of the appropriate size.  Raised heels did

not exist (exceptions noted for patens, which are really clogs or

overshoes, and not fully formed to the foot.  Patens also did not have

a raised "heel" so much as a raised "foot").  A shoemaker would need

to have a pair of lasts for every size of shoe; perhaps a dozen or less

sizes (this is my guess, not scholarship).


Beginning in the late sixteenth century fashionable shoes began to have

heels. This caused major problems for shoe manufacturers, as they would

need a different last for every different height of heel (the shape of

the inside of the shoe changes significantly as the heel is raised and

the front of the foot stays on the ground) _in_each_size_.  This would

vastly increase the number of lasts needed for a shoemaker.  Instead

of needing, say, 12 sizes (all with no heels), he or she would need

12 sizes with perhaps 4, 6, or 8 heights of heel (number of different

heel heights are purely my guesswork).  This would be 4-8 times as

many lasts as before.


Fashions in shoes changed significantly starting in the 16th century,

going from a more-or-less pointy-toed style to a very rounded toe,

and (in the middle of the 16th C.) even a deliberately blunt-toed

style. Pointy toes had been the rule from the 12th century or a little

earlier until the late 15th C.


During the late 15th C. shoe construction changed also.  Up to that

point (from Viking times or earlier--I'm not sure about the starting

date) all shoes were made in the turn-shoe method.  The introduction

of turn-welt construction allowed the introduction of heavier soles

in the late 15th century and the 16th century.  This information

is well covered in _Shoes_and_Patens_ (van Niergaard).


So we have a bunch of changes happening in the early 16th century:


- rounded-toe shoe styles reappear in fashion

- turn-welt construction replaces turnshoes, allowing heavier soles


in the very late 16th century more changes occur


- raised heels start to appear in both shoes and boots

- turn-welt construction is replaced by true welted shoes

        (modern mens black leather business shoes are welted shoes)


The last two changes must have necessitated extensive changes in

the construction of lasts for shoes.  My belief is that the introduction

of undifferentiated shoes and boots in the early 17th century (this

date is not exact--perhaps +/-25 years) was driven by the shoemaking

industry trying to reduce the number and complexity of the lasts that

were needed.  Needless to say, other reasonable theories exist.  By

the middle 17th century, however, both shoes and boots were produced

without right and left feet, from undifferentiated lasts.


Some observations on undifferentiated shoes:

-- you need only 1/2 as many lasts to produce them (no L/R lasts, just one)

-- they are much less comfortable than the shoes produced with a left and

        a right, at least until they have been worn in (a lot!)


It is tempting to think that undifferentiated shoes may have been

connected to the introduction of heels on shoes--introducing heels

more than doubles the number of lasts necessary to be a shoemaker;

having only one last per size/heel rather than a L/R version would

cut the number of lasts by 1/2.  I like this theory, but I don't have

enough evidence to confirm it yet.


I apologize for being unable to produce citations to support the

statements I make here--much of the information I produce is from

van Niergaard.  I am working in the Outlands for a month, and I

do not have my library with me.


        Dafydd ap Gwystl                   David Kuijt

        Barony of Storvik                 kuijt at umiacs.umd.edu

        Kingdom of Atlantia                       (MD,DC,VA,NC,SC)



From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period traction

Date: 19 Sep 1993 14:36:57 -0400

Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto


tbarnes at silver.ucs.indiana.edu (thomas wrentmore barnes) writes:

>... but the closures they use don't seem to be as tightly

>fitting as, say, modern lace up athletic shoes/boots/whatever and this

>means that they slide around a bit when you are doing fast lateral

>motion - like dancing or fighting. I know. I have had problems wearing

>medieval shoes and doing dancing and it wasn't because shoes were badly



Perhaps the shoes were improperly lasted.  While lacing is a notably

secure method of closing modern shoes, I suggest that lachet, toggle,

buckle or button closures can be made sufficiently secure on a properly

lasted, fitted, made shoe.  Lacing is also not unknown among mediaeval

shoes. Take shoe 108 from _Shoes and Pattens_.  It is a side-laced

boot that, made out of work-boot leather, would provide a lot of

support. Shoe 106 buckles at the ankle with two buckles which

resemble the two velcro straps on some basketball shoes.  Shoes 100

and 101 are front-laced and provide lots of ankle support.  The late

13th century boot numbered 93 has a series of buckles right up the

front. The 12th century boot numbered 87 laces up the front with

additional laces up the side for extra support.


>I also know, from looking at SHOES AND PATTENS, that there

>haven't been any 14th or 15th c. shoes that have been found so far that

>have hobnails.


Right. Ever wear hobnails on cobblestones or flagstones?  Lousy

traction. Once, while walking in my hobnailed hiking boots on a

terazzo floor in Toronto, my friends grabbed my arms and took me

skating at high speed through the ManuLife Centre.  I wouldn't expect

to find hobnails in London.  Hobnails are great on dirt, but they

provide poor tratction and wear out quickly on harder surfaces.


>      The reason I brought up the question is because I was slipping

>and sliding around on GRASS at fighter practice (did they have grass in

>period? :) in a pair of modern military (well... ex-military: DDR army

>going out of business sale:) boots.


And if modern boots slide, how much more will mediaeval boots slide?

I don't buy it.  Yes, plain leather soles will slide on grass.

However, plain leather soles are also more responsive to your feet

than are military rubber soles (which I have always said are made of

neutronium, the densest substance theoretically possible).


>I suspect that medieval people either

>a) didn't have this problem because their fighting style was more static

>than SCA fighting and anybody who mattered fought mounted, or b)never

>found a good solution for it.


Or they were used to dealing with slippery surfaces without lugged

Vibram soles.  Mediaeval fighting was certainly not more static than

SCA fighting, and kings and knights fought dismounted throughout the

Middle Ages; routinely after 1333 in Britain and France.


>      There's no need to be sarcastic.


I'm not sarcastic because I need to be.  I use sarcasm because it is a

useful and effective rhetorical device.  Dean Swift, par ensample,

built his career on sarcasm and irony.


>I was merely asking if there

>was a good medieval substitute for the footwear that fighters wear.


Piles of them.  Ankle boots, for one.


And who says they didn't have arch support?  They had all sorts of

modifications for all sorts of foot problems.  Considering that shoe

toes were stuffed with moss, it is possible that they supported their

arches likewise.


Aryk Nusbacher



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: is30101 at otago.ac.nz

Subject: Re: Period traction

Organization: University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1993 04:15:04 GMT



        With regard to the good gentles discussion on footware for fighting

       I personally have found a simple pair of ankle boots to be fine

        smooth soled and have had less problem in them than in modern shoes


        A first I must admit they were a problem but after a couple of

        weeks of wear they were fine.


        (of course I do wear my kit for longer periods than most people

        tend to but if you give period shoes a chance they work fine)


        As to specifics from the articles.

        (ie Skip the rest unless really interested...)



In other articles   (thomas wrentmore barnes) and (Aryk Nusbacher) have

written (sorry my editor has mixed them up a little):


>>And I thought those latchet-closure ankle boots

>>that have turned up in the Fleet River digs were so comfortable and



        Generally I have found that they are very good on the

        comfort factor (If you use Decent leather) but

        as to support... well it depends alot on your feet, though more

        complaints are for modern roading surfaces causing problems

        than fallen arches.



>. I realize that for everyday wear

> medieval shoes are wonderful soft and comfy (though admittedly lacking

> in arch support), but the closures they use don't seem to be as tightly

> fitting as, say, modern lace up athletic shoes/boots/whatever and this

> means that they slide around a bit when you are doing fast lateral


        I think therefore the examples you have seen are/ worn

        are not that good a fit.

        I have found when making a pair of shoes for people they

        seem surprised that I cut the leather to cover the foot exactly

        [if not too small] as leather (as well as being costly while I'm cheap)

        esp in shoes streachs heaps and so quite quickly your foot and

        shoe are exact matchs so no slide inside shoe problems

        (NB it helps not to wear socks Foot wraps ok but tend to distort

        the shoe somewhat so whatever you use always use it )


>      The reason I brought up the question is because I was slipping

> and sliding around on GRASS at fighter practice (did they have grass in

> period? :) in a pair of modern military (well... ex-military: DDR army

> going out of business sale:) boots. I suspect that medieval people either

> a) didn't have this problem because their fighting style was more static

> than SCA fighting and anybody who mattered fought mounted, or b)never

> found a good solution for it.


        As for SCA fighting being more or less static than period

        styles I can only comment on what I've seen here in the

        Southern Reaches and Locharc (briefly) and video.

        The seems to be a reasonable amount of movement in the fights

        esp in the Melee and battles but most seems to be in straight

        lines as opposed to fancy footwork implied here.


        Your comment with regard to the grass is relevant though.

        Yes of course the had grass in period, but the types of grass

        I suspect would tend to be coarser than those found on modern

        lawns (being grown for looks rather than function), and a large

        amount of the land would be under cultivation where armies

        would conflict. Tournies would be a different matter of course

        but I suspect would also be using waste ground rather than

        valuable pasture...

        But this talk on grass is conjecture as opposed to fact...

       As for reenactment fighting in kit shoes I've personally had

        no hassels in the last four years I've been doing so,

        {Still the same pair of shoes although restiched a few times}

        and defending against a sword (metal ie nonSCA) without armour

        needs a lot of dodging and little risk of slipping.


        For Shoe patterns as well as the London Museum "Shoes and

        Patterns" for early period I recommend Margerethe Hald's

        Primitve Shoes - (Based mainly on Scandanavian Bog finds)

        [I'm sure I've spelt her name wrong but unfortunally some

        one in Reannag Fhara has my copy...]


        Thank you for listening to the ramblings of a lapsed member

       who passes the Raltio with interest...


        Wes Du Heal


                                   ! Not only do I speak for myself

TIMBO                               !  But I also speak for my Dept.

                                       !  and University, Not to Mention

(TMALBERTSON at SATURN.otago.ac.nz)   !  Academics in General.

Internet = {IS30101 at Otago.ac.nz}        !  But most of all I speak for YOU!



From: nusbache at epas.utoronto.ca (Aryk Nusbacher)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period traction

Date: 26 Sep 1993 12:36:29 -0400

Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto


Tim at f4229.n124.z1.fidonet.org (Tim) writes:

> I am given to understand that cordwainers didn't even differentiate

> between right and left feet until well out of Period. Survey says: guess

> not.


At some times and in some places, the same last would be used for both

right and left shoes.  Soles, however, were commonly different for

both feet (at least according to the evidence of the London digs).

Mediaeval shoes are commonly different in position of closures as

well, with closures and laces tending to be positioned at the outside

of the shoe rather than the centre.  I believe the custom of making

identical left and right shoes dates to the seventeenth century.


There was differentiation between right and left shoes.  The extent of

the differentiation depended on time, place, and purpose of the shoes.





From: lecuyer at wam.umd.edu (CLIS library)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: period traction

Date: 29 Sep 1993 13:25:45 GMT

Organization: University of Maryland, College Park


I was talking to a couple of the renactors of Markland

last night. When I mentioned this thread both of them

said the most important thing was to practice wearing

period shoes, to get use to them. I think someone

mentioned this before. (Jennifer, Vanaheim Vikings?)

Aelfric also said that in period soldiers sometimes

removed their shoes. He has read description from the

15th cent. especially and there are paintings or

engraving (I forget which) of Welsh archers with one

shoe off and one shoe on. They also pointed out that

slipping is a very period thing to do. ;-) I know

that doesn't help if you are trying to win Crown...

One guy also observed that he slips in motorcycle boots

when he fights frat. so...





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: mjc+ at cs.cmu.edu (Monica Cellio)

Subject: Re: Period Footwear

Organization: School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon

Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1993 15:17:50 GMT


ptbast at ivy.WPI.EDU (Peter F Bastien) writes:

>      One question, are hobnails period?


Something similar is.  Some of the folks buried at Birka in the 10th

century were wearing their ice cleats -- pieces of leather with spikes

driven through that were then tied around the outside of the shoe.  These

were, presumably, on the feet of the folks who knew they weren't going to

Valhalla. :-)





From: fnklshtn at axp1.acf.nyu.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Foot/Combat Wear

Date: 8 Nov 1993 06:50:18 GMT

Organization: New York University, NY, NY


kreyling at lds.loral.com (Ed Kreyling 6966) writes:

> djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:

>> mutant <fraggle at hydra.unm.edu> wrote:


>>>I try to be as period as possible in all things.... This has led to a

>>footwear problem.

>>Is it any comfort to tell you that you problem is 100% period?


>>Shoes in period were just not very good for the foot.

>>lay illness and serious injury.  I would take that pair of well-engineered

>>engineer boots and make a sort of leather spat that would fit over the

>>boot, secured by a strap under the instep, and make it LOOK like an

>>early period shoe.


In the sagas of Russian heroes the relevant part of the clothing is described

as follows:

(this is my own translation from a Russian memory so I apologize for


"An egg could be rolled on the top of the foot and the sun would be seen rising

at dawn inside the heel."

Okay, I think I've made it uncomprehendible - basically the description is of a

high heel (like a cowboy boot) and curving toe (like the cartoon eastern shoe)

I don't know if this description actually goes back to the tenth century since

it is from peasant stories written after the revolution (1917).

If the description is period (it is probable that it is at least accurate from

the 15th century)

then those flatheeled among us can wear period boots comfortably.


Nahum (just trying to help)



From: mcs at unlinfo.unl.edu (M Straatmann)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Foot/Combat Wear

Date: 9 Nov 1993 17:27:53 GMT

Organization: University of Nebraska--Lincoln     


fnklshtn at axp1.acf.nyu.edu writes:


> kreyling at lds.loral.com (Ed Kreyling 6966) writes:


>In the sagas of Russian heroes the relevant part of the clothing is described

>as follows:

>(this is my own translation from a Russian memory so I apologize for


>"An egg could be rolled on the top of the foot and the sun would be seen rising

>at dawn inside the heel."

>Okay, I think I've made it uncomprehendible - basically the description is of a

>high heel (like a cowboy boot) and curving toe (like the cartoon eastern shoe)

>I don't know if this description actually goes back to the tenth century since

>it is from peasant stories written after the revolution (1917).

>If the description is period (it is probable that it is at least accurate from

>the 15th century)

>then those flatheeled among us can wear period boots comfortably.


>Nahum (just trying to help)


Don't know much about that quote :-) but the type of boots that you

describe do indeed date at least for the late 15=16.

The CA on Russian costume has an example of a similar boot.  Also

check out the book published on the finds at Novgorod.  (Citation

later for any who wish)  They show some neat finds, only a page or so

on shoes though ;-(  

The Elizabethan travelers to Muscovy describe the same style (see

_Rude and Barbarous Kingdoms_ and _Description of Muscovy (by


Hope this helps.




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: CRAFTS: Leather Boots

From: vnend at nudity.UUCP (David W. James)

Date: Tue, 18 Oct 94 23:56:13 -0500


6175190 at LMSC5.IS.LMSC.LOCKHEED.COM (Diane Kimball) writes:

>Just curious but... My father, grandfather, and many, other relatives were

>Master Shoemakers, though I never learned the trade. However, I remember

>hearing that shoes/boots were made exactly the same until recently. That is,

>there was no left or right distinction. Has anyone heard of this?


>Diane (a lurking mundane with dreams of participating, some day ;-) )


        Not supported by archeological evidence.  "Shoes and Pattens, Shoes from

London sites, 1100-1450" (HMSO Books, ISBN 0-11-290443-2) notes on page 10, in the footnote, that:


"All the shoes in the present collection, unlike those from 12th-century Middelburg described by Groenman-van Waateringe (1974, 113-4), can be easily identified as either left or right; similarly, a right-foot boot and a left-foot last are reported from Anglo-Scandinavian York (MacGregor 1982, 138 & Fig. 72 No. 627; 144-5 & Fig. 74)."





From: huff at bronze.lcs.mit.EDU (Robert Huff)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: CRAFTS: Leather Boots

Date: 24 Oct 1994 21:49:37 -0400


About 18 months ago I did a fair amount of casual research on

period footwear, and feel marginally qualified to address two issues.


       1) Left+right-vs-both alike.

       According to all the sources I've seen, Lothar's point is correct.

(One of my sources is the shoemaker(s) at Old Sturbridge Village, where

they do for a living what we do for fun, only for the 1820-30's.)

       As I remember it, there were a number of reasons, a major one

economic. Before about 1625, there were very few styles of shoes made

for general consumption.  After the development of the stiff sole and

the high attached heel, the number of styles increased rapidly.

       Now, one of the major expenses for a shoemaker is the lasts - they

would trash a shoe rather than damage a usable last.  It became

unprofitable to have two lasts in every size for every style.  This

perpetuated itself into American Colonial era, where New England shoes

were a _major_ export item (probably like third-world countries today).


       2) Boots

       Above-the-ankle boots seem to have been fairly rare.  _Shoes and

Pattens_ mentions only a few examples over several centuries.

       However - I have (somewhere ... <goes upstairs, roots around,

GOTCHA!> four references to boots at or over the knee.

       The first is an illustration from the _Livre Tournois du Roi Rene_,

showing a "King of Arms" making a presentation to the Duke of Bourbon.

The herald is wearing soft mid-thigh boots, with a substantial cuff.

The Duke and courtiers wear shoes; all have moderately elongated toes.

The illustration is dated approx. 1460.

       The second is a painting - _The King of France with St. Giles and

the hind_ (1495-1500).  One of the men in the background (might be a

noble, might be a liveried servant) wears over-the-knee boots with

rounded toes.

       The last is a description from _Quinze Joyes de Mariage_ (1464)

describing an impoverished young noble "with his long riding boots

shortened by innumerable resolings, so that the hollow worn by his knee

now appears halfway down the leg" (quotation from secondary source).

       I also remember a painting of an Elizabethan courtier (Sir

Christopher Hatton comes to mind, but I can't find the xerox) wearing

boots that seem to be basically long leather stockings that button up

the side.  He's also wearing pantofles, which implies that style wasn't

much meant for serious work.


                       Diego Mundoz




From: fnklshtn at ACFcluster.nyu.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Heels not period? Pft!

Date: 8 Dec 1994 22:32:16 GMT

Organization: New York University, New York, NY


>boots with heels are not period.


I'm sorry I can't attribute, but my computer ate the message.

Anyway, I was going to differ.

begin in use in the 15th or 16th century) but in the East they certainly were

period. Illustrations in Persian and Turkish books from at least the 14th

the boots do indeed have heels - and not just little ones but big-mucking-

cowboy-boot heels.


Russian Hero-Tales from also at least the same time describe as a sign of

style boots that have big heels and a nice arch (this is as standard a des-

cription as the bristly hair in Irish myths - or long flowing blond locks

on the damsels in the romances).






From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Heels not Period? Pft!

Date: 9 Dec 1994 13:50:07 -0600

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway


<From: fnklshtn at ACFcluster.nyu.edu> Nahum

>boots with heels are not period.

>I'm sorry I caN't attribute, but my computer ate the message.


It were me, M'Lord.


>Anyway, I was going to differ.

>begin in use in the 15th or 16th century) but in the EAst they certainly were



c.1600 is about right.  I'm under the impression that they first appear in

paintings in 1605.


>Illustrations in Persian and Turkish books from at leasdt the 14th

>the boots to indeed have heels - and not just little ones but big-mucking-

>cowboy-boot heels.


I have not seen these, but assuming that you are correct, I should have said

that they weren't Period for those people that have persons of a Western

European persuasion (although as I recall the context, this would have made

the sentence a shade *too* pedantic. :)


>Russian Hero-Tales from also at least the same time describe as a sign of

>style boots that have big heels and a nice arch (this is as standard a des-

>cription as the bristly hair in Irish myths - or long flowing blond locks

>on the daMsels in the romances).


Well we could *Always* suggest that "I picked these up while on Crusade",

or "I bought them off an eastern Merchant" as an exceptable cover, but it

gets so OLD after a while... :)


Ipse mera Eruditissimus,


        Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

        University of Northkeep

        Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

        (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)



From: WOOLYFISH at Delphi.com (The Whites)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Date: 20 Dec 1994 05:15:01 GMT

Organization: Delphi Internet Services Corporation


Grania writes,


>Do you have any reference titles on Lapp clothing and/or customs? I'm

>trying to research a Lapp outfit, and have found it slow going....I'd

>appreciate any titles you could throw my way.


   For the shoes try as a start Primitive Shoes by Margrethe Hald,

   published by the National Museum of Denmark , ISBN:87 480 7282 6.

   It has some drawings and descriptions of Lapp shoes as well as

   other shoes from cold weather climates.  They look easy to make

   simply by modifying a -moccasin boot- pattern.


   On the title of this thread,


      Heels not Period?


   Where and when is this statement trying to pertain to.  I missed the

   start of the thread.  Although most shoes I've seen (pattens and

   other additions aside) have no heels, later period shoes or some

   non-European cultures may have used heels.  I use may because I have no

   in-house documentation with me.  One use of a heel is to help keep

   your feet in a sturrup (spelling).





Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 23:46:08 EDT

From: <MHoll at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject:   Re: Wood shoes


>I have a pair of woven birch bark over shoes from Russia that are

>probably a design that is centuries old, but have not yet done the

>research to see how far back they may go.


They go back very far, they may very well be the oldest form of footwear in

Russia, at least (although, if I am not mistaken, the Alpine Ice Man also wore

vegetable-fiber shoes).


But <lapti> (sg. <lapot'>) were the shoes worn by peasants. There are hardly

any finds of bast shoes in urban excavations. It would seem that city people

wore leather wraps if they could not afford proper shoes, but not bast shoes.





Date: Tue, 08 Sep 1998 23:16:55 -0500

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Wood shoes


Re: possible wooden Russian shoes:

>>I remember reading somewhere that they were

>>a sort of overshoe worn to keep the indoor 'house shoes' dry and clean

>>when working on damp muddy ground.


Predslava said:

>No, they're just regular shoes. Considering they're woven out of strips of

>bast, I don't think they would protect from dampness and mud very much.


I have to add that even today in boggy areas in Scandinavia people wear

shoes of bast, wicker, basketry, straw-work etc in the summer over bare

feet. They are not intended to keep the feet clean, warm or dry, but

rather to let the muddy bog water run out of the shoe after you step in the

soggy place - often water will come up over the top of any normal type of

shoe, which would fill your nice leather shoe with mud and water.


I'd suspect that when you see a loose-woven shoe of these types of material

that they may be developed specifically for this type of purpose.  I've

gotten similar shoes from Pier One imported from the Orient that are

apparently used for working in rice paddies and similar boggy areas.


Gunnora Hallakarva




Subject: A new Viking Shoe page

Date: Mon, 11 Jan 99 17:34:54 MST

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: Merryrose <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>





Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 00:19:58 MST

From: Fopdejour1 at aol.com

Subject: Re: ANST - Thigh High Boots (a bit detailed)

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


   I can unequivocally say that YES high boots (also called long boots and

jack boots) are period...there is written records, pictures, and

illuminations going back to the late 1400s, but those early "long boots" were

not quite as well formed as the cavalier style I am sure you are thinking of.

They almost, to me, resemble soled loose leather leggings...if you can

picture that.  


   As the 16th century progressed boots began evolving towards the thigh high

boots that we commonly see being worn in the SCA. There are records and pics

of HVIII having "long boots," and Francis I as well.  There is a written

description of Francis I at Field of the Cloth of Gold wearing white boots.  

These boots were almost exclusively worn for out of doors activities. The toe

followed the mode of the time rounded or squared...and often these boots were



   These high formed jack boots (Perhaps called thusly because the leather

had to be "jacked" or stretched)  or "botte a' genouillere" appeared in

France during the latter part of the 1550's....Because men wore delicate silk

hosen that would be ruined from the rough interior of the boot, there were

devised linen boot stockings as protection.


   By the middle of the reign of Glorianna, long boots were very commonly

worn, though more-so if a gentleman planned to go out of doors then stay

inside. These boots had straps that went from the top of the boot up inside

his slops, canions, galligaskins, breeches etc. and tied into his waistband.  

This prevented them from falling, and a coordinated garter was tied around

them to prevent slouching to finish off the look.   Phillip II of Spain is

pictured in these sort of boots in portraits.


   These boots did not have high heels like we think of when we see cowboy

boots. The exaggerated heels are much later...I think, perhaps post 1650s?


   Long boots could vary in length from right above the knee to all the way

to the upper thigh of the wearer.


   Wanna know something bizarre...Elizabeth herself owned a form of long

boots, called buskins, which she wore when she rode.  I have pictures of a

pair that she owned...and records of her hosiers making boot stockings for

her to wear under her boots.  These buskins went to right above her

knee....rather spiffy looking creations actually.


Books and sources:  I cite several here of differing levels of detail because

I don't know to what extreme, if any, you are interested in going to.


Elizabethan Costuming for the Years 1550-1580  by Carolyn winters and Janet

Savoy ISBN 0-9630220-0-8 (This is an excelent book for the person who would

like to recreate the later period look but hasn't a clue how to start.)


Tudor Costume and Fashion by Herbert Norris ISBN 0-486-29845-0 (his line

drawing reproductions are lousy in the sense of accuracy, but his research

and text is sound)


The Public and Private Worlds of Elizabeth by Susan Watkins 0-500-01869-3

(Invaluable book to anyone wishing to understand Elizabethan society.)


Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd by Janet Arnold ISBN 0-901286-20-6  (The

prize of all my costuming books)



3.jpg ( portrait online of Phillip II in thigh high boots with the straps



HL Charles de Bourbon

mka Charles F. Burke



Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 23:04:47 -0500

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: shaneb at icubed.net, sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu,

       Merryrose <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>

Subject: Neat Stuff



Shoenberg Collection of Medieval Manuscripts.



Bjarni's Boots and Leather Articles from the Royal Armouries at Leeds.



Date: Fri, 7 May 1999 09:33:44 -0400

From: "Gregory Stapleton" <gregsta at perigee.net>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: RE: shoemaking vs. cobbling?


Marc Carlson just passed along some info to me I didn't know, he said:

> Cobblers could and did also make shoes from used leather.  Only

> Cordwainers could make shoes from New leather.  Hence Cobbler is a subset

> of shoemaker.


Gawain Kilgore



Subject: Re: [Stellararts] Norse Shoes

Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1999 16:04:04 -0400 (EDT)

From: nixe at lycosmail.com

To: Stellararts <stellararts at onelist.com>


Frida --


   Why didn't you mention it was the shoes from Oseberg you were

interested in?  The pair of 'booties' associated with the older

female attendant are in Wilson (1970, 1980, rprt, pbk)

_The Vikings & their origins._, about p.26.  It's just one photo,

NOT a great photo-reproduction, but it shows one of the soles.


There's another B&W photo of one in Roesdahl's

_From Viking to Crusader_ on p. 268, cat no. 155, but only a brief

"unenlightening" description.  References are given at the end of

the entry.


You have access to Hald's _Primative Shoes_?


I don't have any good, specific information on this pair of shoes.

Are you going for a reconstruction or something you can actually

wear (an adaptation) with minimal concern for the shoes.  Remember

this is the SCA - creativity and function can be elements of the

design. If doing the reconstruction remember what I wrote you

privately about insoles...they are really good to include, whether

rushes, felt, or Dr. Scholl's.



freeholding at the border of the Midrealm



Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 08:10:36 MST

From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates at realtime.net>

Subject: Re: ANST - Thigh High Boots

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


On 19 Nov 99, at 6:20, Chris and Elisabeth Zakes wrote:

>The correct answer is "yes, but..."


>They're fairly late-period and tended to be worn *only* when riding, not as a

>day-to-day fashion accessory. There's a scene in "Romeo and Juliet", for

>example, where Balthasar enters "cloaked and booted". Nothing specific is said,

>but it would be obvious to a Renaissance audience that he had just gotten off

>a horse. (For a modern analogy, think of a motorcycle helmet.)


>They didn't become a fashion accessory until the 1620s or later.


if memory serves, i remember reading somewhere about norse "sea boots" that

were often mid thigh .... think it was on one of the footware sites i collected

during a hunt for above-the-knee boots for my riding (motorcycle) kit ...

wanted some more thigh insulation and knee protection from road hazards

(insects, birds, road debrie ... not to mention abrasion armour)





Date: Sat, 20 Nov 1999 17:42:06 MST

From: "Joe Parris" <sirwolfdude at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: Re: ANST - Thigh High Boots

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


>Are thigh High boots proper attire for the time period which the society

>covers ?


Yes actually, they are. I have found in some of my researching on garb and

clothing in general, that knee to thigh length boots were common for

travellers, as they helpedprotect from the dangers found at road side. Not

only do they make a fashion statement, but they just plain fit in with

Spanish, French and Italian persona's, as well as the well traveled English,

Scot and Irishman persona's as well.


Alan McGuire, Master of Games for TRF 2000



Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 09:18:16 MST

From: Marc Carlson <marc-carlson at utulsa.edu>

Subject: ANST - Footwear of the Middle Ages

To: medieval-leather at egroups.com

CC: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


For those who are interested, the website Footwear of the Middle Ages has

moved to



Marc Carlson



Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 23:06:14 MST

From: Alexis <drwise at swbell.net>

Subject: Re: ANST - A question about footwear

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Greetings Sir Gunther and everyone else:

> Can modern

> English riding boots or the non-period thigh highs be worn?

> I think this issue should be clarified for those who wish to compete

> in the list ahead of time so that proper research can be done and

> if needed, a proper cobbler hired so a person can fight.


Just to clear up a misconception, according to a couple of nice

illuminations in King Rene's books, thigh high boots are perfectly

period (c. 1457).  In Le Cueur d'Amours Espris (The Book of the Heart

Possessed by Love) c. 1457, there are two distinct pictures showing the

classical thigh high boot, albeit with the pointier toes appropriate to

the era.  These are also found in Rene's Livre des Tournois

(1460-1465). The principle difference is that these would have been

made as a turn-shoe without a stacked heel, rather that with a welt as

in a modern shoe.  The illustrations are in Medieval Pageant, Holme,

Bryon (1987), pgs 86-88, ISBN 0-500-01421-3 (neat book with lots of cool

illustrations). See also Shoes and Pattens, Medieval Finds From

Excavations in London, Museum of London (1988) ISBN 0-11-290443-2 (the

shoe bible).


Sir Alexis LaBouche

occasional cordwainer (=shoe maker), not cobbler (=shoe repairer)



Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 17:10:16 MST

From: Alexis <drwise at swbell.net>

Subject: Re: ANST - A question about footwear

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Greetings all, Count Gunther raised a few questions:

> As well as other examples. But I do have a question about this. I do

> know that thigh-high boots were used in period and, in fact, some

> examples can be very early period. But I had also heard that such

> boots or leg coverings were only used while riding to preserve the fine

> hose of a noble. Once back in polite company the leg coverings would

> be removed and proper garb donned. Being someone who loves my

> high boots I was dismayed to hear this, but being an uncivilized border

> lord, I didn't care and wore them in polite company anyway. Thus I show

> my lack of proper breeding once again.


> Such boots worn around a tournament or even a faire would be appropriate

> but I wouldn't think they would be worn at Court or fighting a prize before

> the Queen.


> Were these illustrations of Court or of things like a hunt or travelling? I

> would think for proper company no more than an ankle high boot would be

> worn.


While several of the illustrations show the boots on a mounted figure,

or on one immediately next to a horse (the two I first mentioned),

further investigation has turned up an illustration of a 15c Froissart's

chronicles showing the French King Charles V receiving three English

envoys at his court (while their horses are present, fashion didn't

require them to change before being received); another illumination

shows Richard II receiving at court the Earl of Gloucester (c.1389)

wearing his high boots.  Next, we have a late 15c illumination by Jean

Fouquet, Trial of Duc de'Alencon, showing King Charles VII presiding

over the trial of the Duc d'Alencon.  Included in the picture is a

courtier wearing his thigh high boots, at an indoor, formal event, no

horses to be found. Finally, a minature from King Rene of Anjou's Livre

des Tournois (1460-65) shows the Duc de Bourbon in a court setting being

given his sword by his men who are wearing thigh high boots.

All this I would take to suggest that it was perfectly acceptable to

wear your high boots in polite company.   I have always understood the

preference for low shoes was to allow more of the leg to show, since it

was the height of fashion 'to turn a nice calf'.  Now, if you don't have

nice legs, that's another problem.

Hope this answer's your questions,


Sir Alexis LaBouche

occasional cordwainer, and fashion consultant

(If you need more info on the cite's let me know)



Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 23:53:43 EDT

From: <HRAFNASDOT at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Help, Footwear AGAIN


In "Fashion in History, Western Dress, Prehistoric to Present" by Marybelle

S. Bigelow, she mentions crackows and poulaines a half dozen times, but no

patterns. She does, however, give another name to the same style shoe-

"pistachios" - and the supposed historical reference -


Asa Hrafnasdottir

Loch Ruadh, Ansteorra



Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 07:55:46 +0100

From: "Melanie Wilson" <MelanieWilson at bigfoot.com>

To: <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: Help, Footwear AGAIN


<<< I was wondering if the bottom sole itself would have been of thicker

leather for insulation against the stone floors.   BRRRRRR. >>>


I don't think it is correct (sorry)


<<< I checked on my "fleece" musing and so far as I can tell that isn't an

option. No mention of it anywhere. >>>


Stuffing shoes is an option I think, I'm pretty sure I read it somewhere as

I tried it last winter at Donnington le Heath (which is a 13th C manor

house), with fleece, it definatly made sense & kept my feet warm, although,

with rushes etc on the floors, it wouldn't be need that much, especially if

they were allowed to rot down a bit and provide under foot heating (no

rushes etc at Donnington these days though !)





Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 12:01:12 -0400

From: "Saint Phlip" <phlip at 99main.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Fwd: Books on Bowls,   Purses and Shoes from the

        Middle Ages, on offer from DBBC

To: medieval-leather at yahoogroups.com,    "Arts and Sciences in the SCA"

        <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>,      "Cooks within the SCA"

        <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>,   SCA-AuthenticCooks at yahoogroups.com


I know we were discussing bowls on one of my Lists. Looks like a nice

selection of books coming out.


---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: ian.stevens at dbbcdist.com <ian.stevens at dbbcdist.com>

Date: Sep 10, 2007 11:44 AM

Subject: Books on Bowls, Purses and Shoes from the Middle Ages, on

offer from DBBC

To: phlip at 99main.com


Dear Philippa Alderton,


One new and two forthcoming items that will interest medieval

archaeologists and re-enactors:


Firstly, we have received some copies of Robin Wood's very

attractively produced history of that humblest of objects: the wooden

bowl. <snip>


Our second book, which will be available at the very end of the year

is Olaf Goubitz's "Purses in Pieces". <snip>


And finally, also from Olaf Goubitz, we are delighted to announce that

his "Stepping Through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric

Times until 1800" will be released in paperback later this year. The

book became increasingly hard to find in hardback and finally went out

of print, so the appearance of a paper edition (which, while not

cheap, is still considerably cheaper than the old hardback) shoudl be

very welcome.


The bowls book is available now, but the other two will not be here

until the end of the year. Still, you can secure your copy by ordering

now.... I hope you will.


With regards,


Ian Stevens

The David Brown Book Company

Tel: 1-800-791-9354


'Stepping Through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times

until 1800' - by Olaf Goubitz, Carol van Driel-Murray and Willy

Groenman-van Waateringe

List Price: US$ 75.00 * Our Price: US$ 65.00 *

Link: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/bookinfo.cfm?ID=32567&;MID=11474



Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 14:03:46 -0400

From: "Meisterin Katarina Helene" <meisterin.katarina at comcast.net>

Subject: [SCA-AS] DBBC Offerings

To: <artssciences at lists.gallowglass.org>


The Stepping Through Time book is an absolute must for anyone into making

shoes, by the way... it is chock full of great information, not only about

the shoe histories, but also on the cut and construction of them.  I'm also

told the one on bowls is an absolute must for serious wood turners <grin>.

And it sounds like the one on purses is also a great find.


I personally own the one on shoes, and another archeological one on

bookbinding, so the other two sound like they might need to be added to my

personal library <sheepish grin>.


Meisterin Katarina Helene von Sch?nborn, OL

Shire of Narrental (Peru, Indiana)  http://narrental.home.comcast.net

Middle Kingdom




Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 15:41:51 +1000

From: Braddon Giles <braddongiles at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] shoes was Looking for suggestions ...

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


Yes, the difficult part in recreating Scots clothing is that it

doesn't meet our modern view of what it should be. Damn that real

history - why doesn't it doesn't match with the way we do our

recreation ;-)


In 1542 or 1543 a John Elder (Highlander) wrote to Henry VIII, and in

his letter stated "Moreover, wherfor they call us in Scotland

Reddshanckes, and in your Graces dominion of England roghefootide

Scottis, pleas it your Maiestie to understande, that we of all people

can tolleratt, suffir, and away best with colde, for boithe somer and

wyntir, (excepte whene the froest is mooste vehement,) goynge alwaies

bair leggide and bair footide, our delite and pleasure is not onely in

huntynge of redd deir, wolfes, foxes, and graies, wherof we abounde,

and have greate plentie, but also in rynninge, leapinge, swymynge,

shootynge, and thrawinge of dartis: therfor, in so moche as we use and

delite so to go alwaies, the tendir delicatt gentillmen of Scotland

call us Reddshanckes"


So Highland Scots go bare legged and bare footed, except when the

"froest is mooste vehement", which in Scotland is saying something!

There probably isn't anything like that vehemence in Lochac, apart

from Ynys Fawr and Southron Gaard. However we have modern health and

safety issues, and in Queensland big juicy leeches, so we have to work

something out.


I sometimes wear a great kilt, and as we cannot date the kilt to

earlier than the 1590's I also wear late Elizabethan style "Mary

Janes", with with either hose or long socks. So I have to be a "tendir

delicatt gentillman of Scotland" and wear shoes.


The academic authority on Gaelic clothing (McClintock) states that to

make shoes the Scots would cut leather raw off the deer in an oval,

pierce the edges and then bind up with thonging, probably also raw off

the deer. The only problem was water, and not in the way that you

would first think. With all the running through the country and

jumping in rivers there was going to be water getting in. To enable

the water to excape the side of the shoes would be *slashed*, so they

weren't water proof; they were non water retaining. Mad, mad Scots.


So what happened when the raw leather started to stink too badly? You

turf them into the heather, shoot another deer, and made another pair

of shoes. Perfect, really.


Have a look at this etching from Durer. It shows Irish Gallowglasses

from 1521, and they were wearing the same thing that highland Scots

were wearing at the same time. First of all you can see that they

aren't wearing kilts, because kilts wouldn't be invented for another

70 years. Instead, they are wearing leines and brats. You can also see

that they were wearing no hose, some shoes, and some sandals, and some

no shoes. The guy second from left looks like he is wearing reef








Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 22:36:22 +1300

From: Alasdair Muckart <silver at where.else.net.nz>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Finding accurate shoes on the Internet

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


On 23/11/2009, at 10:11 PM, Columb mac Diarmata wrote:

<<< Another question (too many more I suppose I should take this off-list

:)) - how common would it have been to wear an ankle boot indoors or

to a dance? Would it be the equivalent of showing up to a wedding in

hiking boots? Or were they just as acceptable an indoor shoe as

smaller, lighter turnshoes? >>>


That's an interesting question. As far as I can tell the height of a shoe in medieval Europe didn't relate directly to it's weight or the heaviness of it's build. Ankle shoes are a matter of fashion as much as practicality and don't necessarily indicate work boots the way we might think from looking at the style with modern eyes. Think of them more like hi-top converse all-stars.


As for indoor shoes, I haven't specifically gone looking but I haven't seen evidence for specific indoor shoes in the general literature before the mid 16th century. In earlier centuries you do see indoor pattens with leather rather than wooden soles whose purpose seems to be to provide a layer of insulation from draughty floors.


There is a picture I can't lay my hands on right now of a 15th century cathedral scene where there are a lot of people going about their business inside in wooden pattens. I can only imagine what that must have sounded like on a hard tiled floor.


Alasdair Muckart | William de Wyke | http://wherearetheelves.blogspot.com



Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2009 05:25:14 +0800

From: Rebecca Lucas <quokkaqueen at hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] Looking for suggestions ...

To: <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


Hi Alasdair,

I could have sworn I posted links and references, but if we're going to include *all* the shoes I can think of later than the 10th century...


One for the 'possibly weird' are the hemp overshoes of Stephan Praun:

http://www.bildindex.de/bilder/MI07903g11a.jpg (lower left corner)

It's discussed in more detail by Anja Grebe "Pilgrims and Fashion: The Functions of Pilgrims' Garments" in _Art and Architecture of Pilgrimage in Northern Europe and the British Isles_ (Brill: 2005). pp.3-28

It's a two volume series, the first has the text and the second has photos, although sadly not much larger or detailed than those already on Bildindex.de.

They are overshoes, but I think they're extremely cool overshoes.


I admit, the Estonian finds are children's shoes (although they did find some adult ones) and seem to have been 'usually' made with two rectangles instead of just one. And re-reading, it seems they are 14-15th centuries not 16th, thiugh. Sorry for misremembering.  


p.161-2 discusses the 'peasant' shoe style.


I've already mentioned the Kilcummin shoe. Another 14-15th century dating, but isn't really a carbatine since the seam runs along the sole.


Earlier, there are the 12th century Imperial carbatines, which are jewel-encrusted and probably one of those special situations.


The rest of what I've found is all up-to-interpretation artwork.


You have to share now -- what carbatine/one-piece shoes of leather or fabric have you dug up?





From: Coblaith Muimnech <Coblaith at sbcglobal.net>

Date: October 21, 2010 5:19:26 AM CDT

To: Barony of Bryn Gwlad <bryn-gwlad at lists.ansteorra.org>

Subject: Re: [Bryn-gwlad] shoe making


Anita wrote:

<<< Part of the project is doing research into period shoe wear and finding supplies. He’s not having much luck in the supply area. He’s finding lots of leather sources, but not the shoe last (the form to put the shoe on while stitching). Any help or suggestions on tools needed would be appreciated. >>>


I recommend he visit the "Footwear of the Middle Ages" site, if he hasn't already <http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe/SHOEHOME.HTM>;. There's some really good information there, on period shoes and shoemaking techniques and on tools and supplies available for modern re-creationists. Among the articles is one on making your own lasts that also explains why you don't want to purchase modern lasts to make period-style shoes.


There are online some good articles on medieval shoes that can be made without lasts. Peter Beaton's webbed notes on reconstructing a 10th-century child's shoe found at Parliament Street in York, for instance <http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/shoe/construction.html>;. It doesn't have a lot of background information with it, but you can get a start on that through the first site I mentioned.


The Medieval Shoemaking Yahoo! Group <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalshoemaking/>; has some very knowledgeable members who are happy to share information and resources with anyone who asks.  It would be a good place to go with any specific questions that arose during the project or for general practical advice.


Coblaith Muimnech



Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2011 09:12:29 +1200

From: Alasdair Muckart <silver at where.else.net.nz>

Subject: [Lochac] 6th-7th Century Sheoes

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


Via the medieval shoemaking list:





Oddly there's no contextual information in the article itself, but the website (http://www.pcma.uw.edu.pl/index.php?id=132&;L=0) contains this information:


"In 2006, excavations on Cemetery C were located just to the west of the modern enclosure wall of the monastery, at what was likely the eastern extremity of the burial ground. The cemetery was identified (and one tomb explored) during a topographical survey of the site carried out by the mission in 1987. Excavations in the Nekloni monastery in past years have uncovered a few fragmentarily preserved funerary stelae with Greek inscriptions originating presumably from this cemetery; two completely preserved Greek stelae likely connected with this cemetery have also been identified. The stelae suggest that cemetery C, tentatively dated to the 6th and 7th century, was used also by the local Fayum community."


Alasdair Muckart | William de Wyke | http://wherearetheelves.net



To: gleannabhann at yahoogroups.com

Subject: fencing footwear

Posted by: "Catherine Koehler" hccartck at yahoo.com hccartck

Date: Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:16 pm ((PST))


I follow another medieval group called ARMA and this was a post on their site.  Thought it was interesting and wanted to pass it along.







Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 05:21:42 +1000

From: Zebee Johnstone <zebeej at gmail.com>

Subject: [Lochac] A shoe

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


The Museum of London hath a blog...


Today's entry is a posh high medieval shoe with a very nice photo



Alas unlike the pilgrim badges mentioned they don't say they'll be

putting their massive collection online but we can hope.


The shoe in question is unworn it seems so no wear marks to see how it

fitted, what I find interesting is that it doesn't cover much of the

foot.  I wonder why, really fancy stockings?





Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 16:24:50 +1200 (NZST)

From: Alasdair Muckart <silver at where.else.net.nz>

Subject: Re: [Lochac] A shoe

To: "The Shambles: the SCA Lochac mailing list"

        <lochac at lochac.sca.org>


On Fri, 24 Aug 2012, Zebee Johnstone wrote:

<<< Today's entry is a posh high medieval shoe with a very nice photo

http://www.mymuseumoflondon.org.uk/blogs/blog/a-history-of-london-in-10-archaeological-objects-object-6/ >>>


<<< The shoe in question is unworn it seems so no wear marks to see how it

fitted, what I find interesting is that it doesn't cover much of the

foot.  I wonder why, really fancy stockings? >>>


If you're near Sydney and know Hugh de Calais, he has made a very very

nice reproduction of these shoes. Unfortunately I don't know where there

are any photos of them online.


Fancy stockings may be part of it, but what I've seen of the art of the

period doesn't tend to show decorated hose worn with shoes like this but

it's a good way to show off expensive fabric and the skill of your tailor

in fitting footed hose.


I suspect that it's at least somewhat an arbitrary fashion thing. Very low

cut shoes appear again in the 16th century, again for no readily apparent

reason I've seen.


Alasdair Muckart | William de Wyke | http://wherearetheelves.net


<the end>

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