Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shoes of the Early Middle Ages

The Celts wore untanned leather shoes with the fur left on the inside of the shoe. They were constructed in one piece with the upper and sole together. The shoes were fastened with leather thongs through holes made near the edge of the upper. The thongs wound together over the instep and round the ankle. Tutonic shoes (12th century) were similar to Celtic footwear. Anglo Saxons wore boots higher behind the knee than in front. During the 11/12th centuries working people would wear thick course hose with leather soles. Northern tribes wore the gallicae which was a simple boot made of two pieces and reaching the ankle. They were worn with crude gaiters, primitively knitted woollen socks and paison. (Bigelow, 1970) Shoe and boot makers had become highly skilled and a wide variety of new forms and perfected older styles were used. Brodequins or high shoes with laces were made of leather and worn worn by the lower classes while the upper class dawned heuze a high boot made of soft leather laced and fitted with a tongue beneath the centre opening. Sometimes heuze were buttoned or buckled at the ankle. The nobility wore soft silk slippers indoors and women wore soft leather slippers tied or buckled at the ankle both in and out of doors. Between the fourth and tenth centuries, hose was made of knitted material in a tube shape. Tapes sewn to the tops served as simple garter support, possibly tied to a cloth belt worn around the waist under the gonelle or kirtle. Men wore their hose either under their breeches or pulled up over them. In warm weather the working classes wore their stockings crushed down over their boot tops. Women wore soft fur lined boots indoors during the winter time. The botte or bottes were simple bedroom slippers.

Bigelow MS 1970 Fashion in history apparel in the western world Minneapolis: Burgess Publishing Co.

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