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New Turnshoes for Mikhail

posted Jul 29, 2018, 6:11 AM by Mikhail H-   [ updated Jul 29, 2018, 7:36 AM by Freydis Egilsdottir ]

My almost-finished turn shoes just got swiped by the boy so I had to to power through Version 2. Oh well...didn't like the fit anyways.

Here is the results:

Went with toggles on inside of foot. Waaaay easier to do up, and historically correct too.
Final coat of coconut wax applied to upper.
It's what I had available and it keeps leather products water-resistant and soft.
Not needed on sole for reasons listed below.

Split leather top with thicker (x2) sole attached via flesh stitch. +1 on period use of differing thicknesses.

Thicker sole after hardening saturated with thinned rubber glue product has resulted in non-slip and water-proof surface.
Period practice was to use many different types of liquids to do this such as tree sap.

All seams saturated with same thinned rubber product to seal and strengthen. The addition of the fourth strap nicely covers the seam and the little oval left exposed by pattern.
Addition of elements such as straps documented easily as initial shoe design AND during repair of shoes based on remnants recovered. See research links below.

This seam pulls open the most so I happily continued filling this spot with sealant...think I got easily over 10 coats in. Leather seemed very happy to soak it up and then grab onto additional coats.

Same split leather used for toggles and loops.

Inside of straps.

This is how I attached the toggles. The thin leather straps are pulled into a series of TIGHT  punched holes.
I thought I would then be able to adjust as I needed. Turns out to be true, in fact shoe adjusts nicely without my needing to do anything.

This pattern was built around my foot shape WHILE wearing these excellent hard insoles.

I now get full arch support (important when all armoured up) and the hardened sole and the hard modern insole protect my feet from rocks and such while keeping me comfortable.

Here is a video of me talking about some key tips. See other videos below for  basic process.

YouTube Video

Helpful Turnshoe Videos:

My research has come across a great little stop-motion 4 minute video for a Scandinavian Turn Shoe.

Process shown is the same as we show people with a couple important differences.

Points to add, when taping to foot to create form, place plastic bag over sock to allow pattern to relax fully.

Note the use of glue to 'place' the location of the upper to the sole.

YouTube Video

These are great for giving a more details of the process.

YouTube Video


- Here is a very good source for Medieval leatherwork:

Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York Published for York Archaeological Trust by the 2003 Council for British Archaeology By Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron

Check page 106 for good general shoe summary.

- Here is an interesting excerpt source for Medieval shoes found at Netherland finds. Some of them are 'interesting' as they contrast the first source findings...

Eight Exceptional Shoes from the Netherlands by o. Goubitz, 1996

... and is mentioned in the top reference here:

Boots of this basic design fastening with toggles passing  through  triple  flaps,  termed  ‘lobes’  by Goubitz in his discussion of the type (ibid., 426–32), have been found in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland in contexts dating to the 9th and 10th centu ries (ibid., 428). They occur at Hedeby dating between the 8th and 10th century where they are described as Carolingian shoe Type 8 by Groenman-van Waater-inge  (1984). 

They  also  occur  in  rather  fragmentary form  at  Deventer  dated  to  the  9th–10th  century (Goubitz  1997b,  425),  and  a  range  of  other  sites  in the Netherlands including Dorestad, and at Wroclaw in Poland where it is dated to the 10th century (ibid., 428,  431).

These  triple  flap-fastening  boots,  particularly those with the longer, more pointed flaps, are comparable to the flap- and toggle-fastening shoes from York (Style 4).

An example fastening with a double flap  from  Dorestad  shows  the  closest  similarities (ibid.,  fig.6).  The  Carolingian  boots  however,  differ from the York shoes, and the few examples from elsewhere in Britain, in their method of fastening.

At York the toggles are attached to the flaps and pass through fastening loops attached to the quarters. The Carolingian boots all fasten with toggles that are attached to the quarters and pass through fastening holes in the flaps (lobes). Only at Middelburg does a similar arrangement of fastening appear to be recorded (Hald 1972, 110, fig.139 after Hendriks 1964, 115, 25a)

I find interesting the reversal of toggle/loop location.