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Childrens shoes survey, sort of.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:18 am
by Tod
I'm constantly being asked about making children's shoes for the 17th and 18th century's.
At the moment I'm working on my first proto types. Obviously like adults modern children aren't used to wearing shoes that feel so differently from modern footwear. Hence the proto types.
*By the way I've heard all the rubbish about they should wear them, and frankly it isn't even worth discussing, peoples feet have changed over the last few hundred years. Most modern shoes are far lighter and more flexible - and poor quality, and more of synthetic fabric, and damage young peoples feet etc etc.

What I'm interested in is:
At what age would you consider putting your children into authentic shoes?
What size were the first authentic shoes your children had (any period)?
Would you prefer a buy back scheme where you buy the shoes and have the opportunity to sell them back once your kids have grown out of them (depends on condition!)?
Would you buy second hand shoes?
Would you prefer leather soles, hobnails, or stick on rubber soles, for children's shoes?

Any other thoughts other than on * above would be appreciated.

Note I make hand made (no machines!), bespoke shoes.
Tod
Foxblade Trading
www.foxblade.co.uk

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:42 am
by Alice the Huswyf
Although we do C15th , the information might be of use to you.

Started at age 5 and 7 and went into authentic shoes as soon as we found out about Morgan's hire scheme.

I would (and do) put my children into secondhand shoes - as long as we have been advised about correct fit from someone who knows, the odd weekend is not going to put the children's feet in jeopardy. Constant tumble dried socks and the operation of Davis Law is more of a concern, frankly.

Now the children are into small adult sizes I would buy and resell shoes happily if there were such a scheme. Would have done so before too.


.... And having had a pair of your shoes secondhand, would recommend them!


Later addition:
However we did make leather turn shoes to start with - - not brilliant ones, but adequate with enough dubbin and with sheepskin insoles and no hose or socks. The children never went barefoot or in modern shoes. If I was putting money into authentic shoes, then I would not want rubber soles. I would want authentic shoes, not hybrids. Especially as the way you move in clothing which constricts you in differently to modern clothing actually does make a difference to how you work and explains certain differences between 'then' and 'now' That really interests people.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:25 pm
by m300572
We put our brat (now 12) into mocasin type daps when he was a toddler. Also got some good Roman shoes in Germany a few years ago- there is a company who make every size carbinatae based on finds from Xanten, sold in commercial shops (we couldn't get the shopkeeper to divulge the name of the makers). Wears brogues, which I make, for Civil War and Jacobite events.

He wore kids desert boots for a while, when such things were still acceptable on non-LH events.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:52 pm
by Tuppence
not that I personally have kids, but based on members of our group....

1. if they're on site and in kit, and not bare foot, they're in authetic shoes. age is irrelevant (except for babies, obv).

don't know on sizes, but suspect that the whole buy back thing would be popular if ppl knew about it (as sally points out, the number of ppl who still don't know about morgan's scheme always astonishes me!). ditto for second hand - quite common.

all ours wear leather soles (bearing in mind we're talking norman, so flat soles. rubber ones would be banned, even on kids.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:45 pm
by Cat
One was 5, the other 9 when they started re-enacting. Until this year they had thinnish leather home made shoes, either turnshoes or brogues. Number one stepson now has feet as big as mine so wears my old brogues (this year) and will inherit my long brown boots which are bigger (next year, with secret socks inside). They are tatty enough to look 'handed down', to explain why a 12 year old is wearing mens' riding boots.

Second hand? Definitely.
Buyback/rental scheme? Possibly not as they only do 2 events a year.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:55 pm
by Peanutsmum
Hi Tod,

We've discussed kids shoes before but in answer to the questions:

1) For our period about 2 or 3. I'd want them to be really steady on their feet first. Authentic shoes could be too rigid and heavy for small toddlers.
2) They were the brogues that you made for the first Scotland event we did, about a size 12. Obviously if we'd started when Finn was smaller they'd have been smaller! I would have got him other shoes too had they been available.
3) A buy back scheme would be good. I think expense is one of the most prohibitive things about kids shoes.
4) Second hand is fine as long as the condition is reasonable for the price. In fact, a lived in appearance probably adds to the authenticity.
5) I'd say rubber soles would be safer until children are past all the running round and tree climbing. That said, Finn copes with slippery surfaces in brogues. That one depends on the child and the events they will do possibly.

If you need a child to try any shoes out on, Finn will volunteer! He says laces are better than buckles for some reason.
Also we would be happy with a shoe that is not necessarily 1745. If it was close enough it would be OK (and certainly better than modern), especially if it would widen the market for a buyback scheme. I think most parents would compromise a certain amount on style and colour to facilitate such a scheme, it is a really good idea.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:57 pm
by Peanutsmum
Hi Tod,

We've discussed kids shoes before but in answer to the questions:

1) For our period about 2 or 3. I'd want them to be really steady on their feet first. Authentic shoes could be too rigid and heavy for small toddlers.
2) They were the brogues that you made for the first Scotland event we did, about a size 12. Obviously if we'd started when Finn was smaller they'd have been smaller! I would have got him other shoes too had they been available.
3) A buy back scheme would be good. I think expense is one of the most prohibitive things about kids shoes.
4) Second hand is fine as long as the condition is reasonable for the price. In fact, a lived in appearance probably adds to the authenticity.
5) I'd say rubber soles would be safer until children are past all the running round and tree climbing. That said, Finn copes with slippery surfaces in brogues. That one depends on the child and the events they will do possibly.

If you need a child to try any shoes out on, Finn will volunteer! He says laces are better than buckles for some reason.
Also we would be happy with a shoe that is not necessarily 1745. If it was close enough it would be OK (and certainly better than modern), especially if it would widen the market for a buyback scheme. I think most parents would compromise a certain amount on style and colour to facilitate such a scheme, it is a really good idea.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:14 pm
by gregory23b
Similar to Alys and strangely timely survey.

My eldest is four and I will be making her a pair of turnshoes, but otherwise she will go barefoot, we do quite a bit at home.

Second hand shoes, yes, no problems as long as they were sprayed a la bowling shoe.

Hire or leasing, yes if it was a medium term proposition, and certainly for the more complex later shoes.

In terms of thenticity, as full on as can be done and the feet are fine, why not?

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:29 pm
by Theotherone
One thing I'd mention, tho I'm not positive it's relevant - plantar faciitis. I'm suffering a fair degree of pain tonight due to this. It was my first season this year and running around with the kiddies in the flat shoes/bare feet has left me with days when I can hardly bear to stand for the early part of the morning.

Just checked, under 25s don't tend to get PF. Their version is Sever's disease.

Posted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:06 pm
by Jenn
When my daughter was tiny e.g a baby she wore mocasins/baby turn shoes now she is 2 she wears leather soled latchet shoes/medieval ones depending on the period.
Sorry so her her first authetic shoes wer a 5. i would say this is about as small as you would want to go
I did investigate the buy back thing but I thought it was quite expensive I don't pay as much for her admittely machine stiched shoes. I would pay more if I could be convinced it was worth it.
I am looking for well made authentic shoes that I can either re-sell to the maker or could sell on to other parents. Don't think second hand is really a problem if I fit the shoes properly.
Wouldn't want rubber soles.

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:46 am
by Tod
From info on here and from a couple of other sites my reply so far:

"Thanks for all the responses. Please try and keep this thread to the questions asked, feel free to start another did they didn't they thread - no offence meant.

Clearly hobs are out and it seems leather soles are the way to go. Rubber stick on soles can of course always be added later.
What I've made so far are closed latchets. Natural and then dyed uppers. From thinner leather than I would make adult shoes from. Going from the response above it would be beneficial to use the same construction method as adult shoes. Welted construction etc. The smallest size seems to be a 5 which is fine as I can most children's sizes (lasts). The response is much more positive than I'd thought it would be.

Cost is the next issue. They will be cheaper than adult shoes as I base my prices on materials and labour, not what the market will stand.

Please keep posting replies, I am very grateful.
In answer to a question that I was asked by e-mail. Yes I am a qualified shoemaker (City and Guilds), I would not consider making children's shoes unless that were the case."

In addition. I can already make brogues, these are the same as the adult ones I sell. Referred to by Peanutsmum (I'll give Steve and you a call I need to talk about some other stuff as well) above. Style wise, closed latchets would be the best. The style starts around the early part of the 17th century and doesn't disappear until several hundred years later

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:14 am
by Tuppence
just a thought on machine stitching - although we'd ban rubber soles, we'd allow machine stitching for kids shoes (I expect - not that anybody's ever checked afaik)

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:15 pm
by Tod
I never machine stitch unless asked to, which is never. IMHO it's really obvious more than on clothing.

Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:02 pm
by ViscontesseD'Asbeau
We do 15thC and did 17thC for many years. I have a lot of kids and the cost of shoes, if I couldn't make them myself, would keep us out of re-enacting.
At what age would you consider putting your children into authentic shoes?
As soon as they go. That said, mine will kick them off at the first opportunity and prefer being barefoot!

What size were the first authentic shoes your children had (any period)?
I've made 15thC boots and shoes for kids around 1 year old.
Would you prefer a buy back scheme where you buy the shoes and have the opportunity to sell them back once your kids have grown out of them (depends on condition!)?
I would. As a group, we're starting to make/buy a 'pool' of kids' shoes, and lending them out, then returning them. Which is even cheaper. We're aiming at charging a minimal fee, as money is an issue for lots of folk with young kids. The more groups figure it out and do what we're doing, the less business there'd be in that, for you. We've used buy back type schemes in the past before I could make shoes. It seems preferable doing it as a group, keeping the shoes centrally. We have a couple of competent shoe makers amongst us, who will be able to do repairs, also. In other groups, where no-one has tried shoe-making, it might be harder.
Would you buy second hand shoes?
I would. But I just make them. I can think of folk I know who'd never put their kids in 2nd hand shoes, even for a weekend.
Would you prefer leather soles, hobnails, or stick on rubber soles, for children's shoes?
Not relevant for our period as turnshoes. But wouldn't dream of rubber soles, for any period.

The shoes I make which will end up in our group's 'pool' are entirely handstitched. Bought ones not.

Posted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:51 pm
by Annie the Pedlar
This is Tudor - and Kentwell - so probably not relevant but any kid's shoes I buy up fly off my stall before I can blink. There are never enough secondhand.
New Kentwellie mums blanch at the cost of new shoes. It doesn't mean they don't buy them in the end but the kids wear them for a week then they've out grown them by the next year.

Sizes so far - child 12 to adult 10 with 3s, 4s and 5s being most popular.

All?/most of? Kentwell kids wear leather soles and I'm not aware of them slipping over much. We do have gravel paths that quickly score the soles. A lot of kids take their shoes off and run around barefoot, epecially when it rains - due to the joys of jumping in puddles and sliding in mud.
The people who have slipped on their leather soles are adult gentry on polished wooden steps and my cobbler got so fed up with resoling my shoes (I walk an awful lot, all year) I have got look like leather rubber soles artfully disguised by being splattered by mud.