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Are these shoes ok?

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:53 pm
by Breezy2000uk

I fancy these shoes, and they're a bit of a bargain, I was wondering if someone might tell me if they're a relevant style to my period (WOTR). ... uct_id=288

Also, I'd like to know if they're a suitable thing to be wearing under plate armour - I have full plate legs including greaves, and I'm really not sure what should be worn underneath!

Many thanks

Breezy :D


Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:15 pm
by jelayemprins
They're a start if you're on a budget.

But they are wrong, period, if you want to be authentic then you need to look at an authentic turn shoe/boot of the type made by Plantagenet Shoes.

Then read 'how a man schall be armyde at hys ease' and realise that authenticity is still unreachable. :)

As for under leg harness, good woollen hose , perhaps with lengths of wool strip around the knee is contemporary. There are unique German 'panzerhosen' - armoured hose for wearing under plate legs but I wouldnt go there...

A good foundation doublet/pourpoint/garment is the key to all armour wearing- esp the legs.


Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:28 pm
by X
I'm certainly not the world's expert on footwear, but they just don't look right to me. They look more like cowboy boots than anything else - I don't think I've ever seen mediaeval-style boots with this construction: sort of like a shoe with a leg-bit attached like a drainpipe (Which is probably not the way a footwear-expert would describe it, which is how you can tell I'm not one).

Not only do they look like cowboy-boot construction, but I've never seen toes that turn up that way. And they're almost certainly not of turnshoe construction. The soles are also coated with rubber, which was not in general use in the fifteenth-century. I don't know how obvious the rubber is, but you may want to avoid it.

I'm not saying that it's definitely wrong - some shoe-expert will probably come along who can say yea or nay - but I wouldn't buy these without getting someone who really knows what they're talking about to look at them.

Regarding what you'd wear under plate armour, again, I'm not the world's expert. But on the purely practical level, would you even have room for these boots under your armour?

I know Ana Deissler (Ana Period Shoes) does a range of cheap-but-decent machine-stitched shoes suitable for the Wars of the Roses period. I've never asked her about boots, if that's particularly what you want. But her machine-stitched range of shoes runs at about £40- £45 I think, and they are what my group recommends for beginners. You won't get anything better than Ana's stuff for the prices she charges, and (apart from machine-stitching, and if you want hand-stitching you'll have to pay the price for it, and she does that too) you won't have any complaints about authenticity and suitability. If you decided to have a chat with her, your best tack would be to tell her what you're trying to portray and ask for advice on which of her styles would be best.

Kevin Garlick's someone else who does decent, not-too-expensive footwear, although I think his order book may be a little backed up at the moment. I bought my first pair of proper boots from him (probably more than ten years ago now, to replace the jodhpur boots with plastic soles and elastic inserts I had been wearing up to that point) and they are still going strong.

Speaking as someone who started out in re-enactment without any guidance whatsoever from experienced re-enactors, and having spent my money on what subsequently proved to be embarrassingly bad stuff, it's always worth getting it right first time. Good for you for asking: you're doing the right thing. Just bear in mind that it's not cheap if you have to pay out again to replace it six months later because you can't stand all the sniggering... :D

Edited to add: Plantagenet Shoes? That's Morgan Hubbard, right? Nice shoes. I got married in a pair made by him. He and Ana's hand-stitched shoes are the two I'd put at the top of the range (that I know about).

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:03 pm
by Breezy2000uk
Oh okay :(

Ah well, back to saving up/the second hand search for me then...

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:12 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
Have you tried Tod or Phil Fraser? These boots are as the previous posters said wrong. If you bought them, even as a start up then it would be a false economy as you would need, and want, to change them.
Save up and get the best that you can, they'll last you for much longer than a lot of your other kit and the chances are that if you're in a group (and you'll need to be if you plan to attend events) someone will be able to loan you some armour, a sword or something. However I can't say, generous as I am, that I would be keen on letting someone else wear my shoes for a year while they get into the hobby.
Ian gave me that advice (along with many others) when I started medieval and I cannot fault his judgement there.

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:30 pm
by Breezy2000uk
I think I need advice on what style of shoes/boots would be appropriate with my armour/period - I have a lot of plate, do I need to reflect that "wealth" in my style of shoes?

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:08 pm
by wulfenganck
Breezy2000uk wrote:I think I need advice on what style of shoes/boots would be appropriate with my armour/period - I have a lot of plate, do I need to reflect that "wealth" in my style of shoes?
Far from being a shoe expert, but this ... delle.html seems to cover up the different styles nicely. Apart from that Stefan von der Heide is a skilled handcrafter, I can recommend his shoes and the do-it-yourself-sets he also sells. But I'm sure there are plenty of authentic shoemakers around in Britain.
You have to keep one thing in mind: shoes are quite expensive, but on the other hand exactly this is a sort of measurement of your kit's athenticity. Don't try to safe money with buying some "low-price" shoes - after a short time you'll deply regret it, because that bargain stuff has the tendency to fall apart ASAP and you have to get new ones. In the long run it's alyways cheaper to invest some serious money for quality kit.

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:20 pm
by X
My personal opinion is that if you have lots of plate, you should try to reflect that status in the rest of your kit. After all, is it really believable to have someone coming off the field, taking off their beautiful shiny (expensive) plate and putting on (or revealing) low-status civilian kit? It's like someone dressed in rags driving a Ferrari. It just looks a bit suspicious...

However, it is a free country. The re-enactment police will not come around and kick your door down if your civvy status doesn't match your apparent military status. Other re-enactors might laugh or sneer, but it's still your decision. And there are people around whose military and civvy status doesn't match, so you wouldn't be the only one. It all depends on what your group (and you) wants to do.

Here is Ana's webpage with the style of shoes/boots she makes for the late fifteenth century:

Other shoemakers will also have pictures on their websites; I know Kevin Garlick does. Haven't looked for Morgan Hubbard, but if he does I'm sure you could find it.

Ana's machine-stitched shoes are mostly the sort of unisex ankle-strap look, and she keeps them in stock. (I do not get a commission.)

It's worth considering prices in the light of other expenses. For instance, a pair of Ana's machine-stitched shoes will set you back say £45. Hand-stitched is £120+

How much does a night out cost you? Night-club entry, taxis, drinks etc...? If you smoke, how many packs is that?

How long will a pair of decent shoes last you?

It might be worth staying home an evening or two, calculating how much money you didn't spend, and putting it towards kit.

(This is something that always amazes me... you see people spending £50 or more on drinks at every event, and then they complain they can't get better kit because they can't afford it. I guess it's a priorities thing.)

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:12 pm
by Breezy2000uk
Erm...I'm sure this won't help much...but...I don't smoke...or drink...
(*ducks and runs for cover from the outraged re-enactors*)
I just don't have a high alcohol tolerance I guess. I save as much as I can already: I don't remember a night out costing me more than a fiver.
all the sniggering...
Other re-enactors might laugh or sneer
I think I'm getting a bit nervous about starting in the re-enacting world....*sniff* I'm trying to get it right, but I know I won't be able to do it without asking what most people will think are stupid or obvious questions and feeling like a bit of an idiot! :oops:

Either way, it's cheap or no shoes for me. Has anyone heard of

EDIT: "X", I like the look of Ana's shoes, thanks for the link. The front lace boots look good, but does anyone know what groups of people these shoes were suitable for? Will they do for merchants/knights?

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 7:17 pm
by Sophia
I have mediaeval shoes by Ana and Tudor shoes by Morgan and can recommend both of them highly.

Morgan can be found [url=http:/]here[/url].

If you want to be extra authentic Karl Robinson can dye your shoe uppers using period leather dyes. Cost depends on the shoes - my Tudor latchets cost £25 for the dyeing.

Sophia :D

*P.S. I will definitely glare at you if you have shiny plate and taty clothes because I am just a bit of a clothing nerd and hate the inconsistency :wink: *

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:08 pm
by X
Breezy2000uk wrote:Erm...I'm sure this won't help much...but...I don't smoke...or drink...
Neither do I. :D
Breezy2000uk wrote:
all the sniggering...
Other re-enactors might laugh or sneer
I think I'm getting a bit nervous about starting in the re-enacting world....*sniff* I'm trying to get it right, but I know I won't be able to do it without asking what most people will think are stupid or obvious questions and feeling like a bit of an idiot! :oops:
The laughing and sneering generally happens when someone has done something like mixing expensive armour with cruddy civvy kit, or done something else that a little thought and - shock horror - asking someone more experienced would have prevented.

Most re-enactors, if you are honestly doing your best, will not laugh or sneer (at least, not where you can see; they will be nice enough to go back to their tent first). You are doing the right thing by asking others for advice; no question is stupid or obvious if you don't know the answer. It's far better to ask (and you will be respected for asking) than to just go full steam ahead and then expect to be respected when you haven't made the slightest effort to 'get it right'.

Everybody screws up. Even after re-enacting for years. The trick is to do your best to avoid it first, and when it happens anyway, take honest and well-meant criticism in good part, then fix the problem as soon as you can.

Earning respect in the re-enactment community is not about spending loads of money; it's about doing the best you can with the resources available to you. Anyone who expects more than that is an idiot.

One rule of thumb regarding 'does this go with that' is to think "can I see someone, as part of their daily life in the fifteenth century, walking down the street in this?" If the answer is no, then forget it. Have a search on the internet for pictures of the right period, and get a feel for 'the look'.

Regarding I would be inclined to stay away from them. They're better than the link you had earlier (the cowboy boots) but still not something I would be particularly happy to have a member of my group wearing. For an item like shoes, which can last for years, you're better off paying the extra and then keeping your purchase for ten years.
Breezy2000uk wrote: EDIT: "X", I like the look of Ana's shoes, thanks for the link. The front lace boots look good, but does anyone know what groups of people these shoes were suitable for? Will they do for merchants/knights?
I'm not a footwear expert, but my gut feeling is that these are not a 'fashion' item - they are more for someone whose primary concern is having dry feet. A country knight or merchant with no desire to be cutting-edge might wear them; fifteenth-century people were still people and they had their own personal opinions regarding clothing. They would probably not be good for wearing under armour; as has been said, you probably want shoes for that or your greaves won't fit.

If cash (or lack of) is a problem, get one set of footwear that will do everything - so a pair of shoes. When you save up some more, then get a pair of boots as well if you want.

You're lucky: you have a whole board full of re-enactors to ask for advice and, hey, we don't even know who you are so we can't laugh at you even if we want to. When I first started I had to make my own mistakes - some of them quite expensive, especially for the student I was at the time. Still, it was a learning experience... :)

Good luck - going away for the weekend now! :D

Edited to add: if you do decide to go for Ana's stuff, tell her what sort of character you are portraying and what kit you already have etc, and ask her advice. She is a very nice lady and will point you in the direction of what is most suitable. X.


Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:54 pm
by jelayemprins
A good post Breezy

If you consider that £150 is expensive, then compare it to the cost of a good replica armour from the worlds finest armourers.

You would realistically pay £20,000 for a harness from Per Jensen, amongst others [I haven't used an English armourer as a comparison, but there are a few who charge this sort of money.] And are busy...

So ALWAYS go for best possible costume and shoes before any metal work!


Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:35 am
by Breezy2000uk
ALWAYS go for best possible costume and shoes before any metal work!
Errrm...oops. I'm afraid I've already failed on that front! But, in my defence, it's not very often a full 2nd hand suit of late 15th cent armour made for a 5"2 woman (mostly by Lancs armourie!) comes along. I couldn't say no for £450!!! :)

I spose, it's now deciding where I should go from there. There are two options I could think of - I can either post pics of my armour so someone might suggest a suitable rank/title/class...


Should I pick a historical character to portray? I was thinking about someone WOTR from my family tree - I've got a Yorkist Earl an a Lancs esquire...?!

(p.s. sorry if this topic has blindly stumbled into a ravine...)

Posted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:49 am
by Marcus Woodhouse
Not unless you know al lot about them and have a lot of readies to splash out-an Earl is a major magnate.
What group are you with? Where are you? If I can help I will but I'd need to know more about what you have and what you want to do as fighting is only a teenyweeny part of a re-enactment event, and often not the most interesting part of one it has to be said.
Unless you plan to walk around in harness (and gothic was not that popular or common a style) all day you will need to work on your soft kit.
PM me if you feel you'd like.

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:38 am
by aidanwallis
i argree morgans at plantagent shoes are fab i have a pair from him and pattens from anna. i just dunno ive tryed a pair of anna's a i just felt like the stitching was gunna break but morgans are the ones you want 8)

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:56 am
by Hraefn
In no particular order
Morgan & Andrea Hubbard
Sarah Juniper
Kevin Garlick
Andy Burke
Todd Booth or

Not tried all of them
Sarah very good but not cheap, but then you gets what you pays for,
made my late 17thC mules which have become my 21stC house slippers
they are that comfy.
My 18thC shoes are Morgans as are my 15th, 16th, 17thC and again dead
comfy and well made which is important when you spend lots of time
wearing them
Mem sahib swears by Kevin Garlick shoes and has many pairs, he did my
Nap half boots too.

Not sure but you may pick up a reasonable 2nd hand pair at Dodgy Giles's kit 'n' carbootle

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:20 pm
by Jenn
I assume from your your post that you're a woman? Is that right? In which case you may wish (and indeed at many events would be expected to do so) to have female kit as well as male kit - so you would probably need two pairs of shoes.
For many years when I was a student etc I got round the shoe and other bit of more expensive kit that were more of a struggle by asking for money towards them as birthday/Christmas presents

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:24 pm
by Breezy2000uk
you may wish (and indeed at many events would be expected to do so) to have female kit as well as male kit this true? Would I be expected to wear female kit?

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:42 pm
by Sophia
Unless you are extremely boyish and can really pass, i.e. short hair, absolutely no front and no hips or marked waist either, you will not be able to participate as a man at certain events except during the battle. Generally you are expected to duck into a tent and change discreetly.

Part of the idea of a Living History display is to give an idea of the roles of men and women of the period. This means that if you are female you are limited to female roles in public.

As an example of this at Kentwell Hall where I do Tudor Living History I am not the Tailor but the Tailor's wife. When the chap who plays my husband is not there I have to explain his absence (generally visiting another client, at the silk merchants, the drapers, visiting family, etc.). This also limits what I can do to making up garments. I do not make patterns, fit clients, etc., though I might discuss proposed outfits with clients with a view to my husband visiting them.

My best advice is to check what your group's policy with regard to this issue.

Sophia :D

Posted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:46 pm
by Breezy2000uk
Wow...that's...really disappointing. I don't think I could pass as a boy.

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:48 am
by gregory23b
"Wow...that's...really disappointing."

What your group does it its own affair, but as Sophia said, noticeable cross dressing in non-military is often not allowed for the main reason not all the reenactment women can pass as boys/men.

All groups are islands with their own laws, it is when they form nations that the rules change ;-)

Apart from that, as a person of rank you would be expected to have a change of clothes, from the foundation garments for your harness to 'daywear'. By being a fully plated person, hey a new abbreviation an FPP, you are committing to a wealth (pun intended) of options to spend your cash on ;)

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:36 am
by Jim Smith
Breezy2000uk wrote:Wow...that's...really disappointing. I don't think I could pass as a boy.
Provided you make the effort, you may not always have to.

Some groups, for reasons best known to themselves, refuse to allow any form of cross dressing. Fortunately, there aren't many such around.

Most groups (as G23B says) have their own ethos and idea about why they are doing what they do. Most are trying to portray a convincing picture of life in the past and the fact is that for the most part, women did not dress as men. For my own period, a woman wearing late C15 mens clothing in public can be seen as - well - wrong.

However, there should be no problem with military kit being worn - though you will probably be expected to change back into womens clothing once the fighting is over.

So, there it is - groups that prohibit women from wearing male civilian kit are arguing from a position of authenticity - a justifiable one. Those that won't allow women to fight might also play the authenticity card - though their reasoning may be based on factors other than authenticity.

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:53 am
by Eve
I would advise you to find a group you would like to join. Talk to them lots to make sure this is the right group for you. Then join them BEFORE you spend any money buying kit of any sort. Most groups will be able to loan you kit for a start and give you advice about their kit standards, guide you to traders who they trust and generally help you to achieve a look that is 'right' for them.
This will avoid any costly mistakes (and all mistakes are costly, even if you spent a couple of quid, if you never wear the clothes).

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:06 am
by gregory23b
Breezy, IIRC is in here own group at York University, so it depends on that group's system.

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:23 pm
by Tod
Back on the shoes. Until recently I steered away from pre 1500 shoes and concentrated on welted construction. But after several years of being asked to make them I’ve finally given in. On my shoe web site there are a number of different styles of shoes and boots, most of them are copied from Stepping Through Time, the bible for early shoes. I would add these are at the cheaper end of the market but the quality is very good. (Sales pitch over).

I’ve looked at both the sites ref. to above. The first show boots for which I have never seen any reference and they are made incorrectly, there is some one over here making shoes like that as well. The other site is an education, the prices are dirt cheap but what are boots meant to be and the leather looks like it is plastic coated, but that is just what I can see so it is best to ask the maker.

Ana and Plantagenet make good shoes, they are best I’ve seen walking around the traders fayres. I can make you some to order and you could even choose your own style. At the moment I’m knee deep in orders but have spent the last few weeks researching pre 1500 shoes and boots (bedtime reading). Look for the new thread in the costumes area.

Dressing as a man...

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:32 pm
by jelayemprins
The most famous was of course St Joan d'Arc...

"The last straw in the trial was when the prosecution showed she was defying God's law by dressing in men's clothing. She was found guilty and burned alive in Rouen.."

nuff said.

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:53 pm
by Breezy2000uk
Right, I guess that gives me quite a lot to think about. I guess I'm at a major disadvantage, since I don't actually want to portray a woman at all. My interests are mostly military, metalworking, fletching etc.

It's a shame that I'll be so limited that I'll only be able to participate in battles, unless I find a society that's ok with it, (but, even then, I get the impression that there are those who look down on those societies as wildly inauthentic).

Seeing as how this thread has gone way off topic, I've asked my next question in a new thread - ... 748#238748

fighting women in the Middle Ages

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:03 pm
by jelayemprins

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 2:54 pm
by Hraefn
Both illustrating the same (biblical)story

Posted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:44 pm
by The Methley Archer
Its hard enough getting mine to mind the house, never mind make weapons as well :D