Tuesday, 8 September 2015


You know about that thing about shoes that women are supposed to have? As in buy a lot of them? Happily this is not the only thing that defines gender, or I'd be very, very male indeed. (My shoes have to fit, and they have to be practical. And preferably last a long time so I don't have to go shoe shopping again soon.)

There's one shoe-ish exception to my usual "meh" stance, though - and these are medieval shoes. For reenactment or living history, shoes are one of the tricky bits. Modern shoes don't cut the mustard at all, as they are constructed absolutely differently, and the materials aren't right either. Going barefoot is of course an alternative (though we don't know how common walking barefoot for grownups would have been, and I've also read interpretations of shoe finds that hint towards shoes having been very, very common) but not a very viable one for every modern person in every weather.

Which means shoes are one of the checklist items when trying to gauge the overall quality of a Living History performer or group.

Years ago, in the course of trying out lots of different techniques, I actually made a pair of medieval turn-shoes myself. It took a fair amount of time and I did have fun doing it. The resulting shoes were useable, but far from good quality in regards to the fit (and also in regards to the materials, which were sort-of-suitable leathers I had lying around at that time). It did make me appreciate proper shoe-making work, however, and wish for shoes that fit properly.

Fortunately I have a friend who makes medieval shoes for a living. I've worn a pair of nice, low-cut shoes that Stefan made for a few years now, and am still deliciously happy with how they look. However, they are not very warm, and they do not fit over warm socks, so now I have a pair to change into when it gets colder:

They fit over warm socks, and this type of shoe is one that runs for a rather long time. They also have that lovely smell of new leather shoes, and the neat stitches that I love so much in Stefan's work.

Now I'm looking forward to cooler evenings on events!

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