1530 – 1540s German Shoes

December 7th, 2011

A new project – these are rather unusual shoes, and are based on a couple of images from some German painters (Cranach, most notably). First, let me give you finished product (although the picture does not really do them justice) and then go into detail.

What was most unusual about these particular shoes was the black “strip” that surrounded the entire shoe. There are a couple of German pictures which shoe this type of “two-toned” shoe, and although my reproductions look similar, I’m not entirely satisfied with the design.

Here are two images of these two-toned shoes:

Curious shoes, wouldn’t you say? We don’t have any extant shoes in the 16th century (at least none that I know of) which have any kind of applique or other banding (although chopines are a bit different). Likewise, there is no indication as to how this would have been done. It is certainly possible that they are constructed like the wedges in Lesson 9 only with a contrasting surround on the bottom, but the contrasting color seems to go up too far.


I first put together a test piece and lasted it. I skived the edges and pasted on the surround strip and then caught it in with the upper for the sides. Looking back, I probably should have made the place where the quarters meet the vamp a bit lower, but we know for next time. In general, the glue held on pretty well, so I decided to go with this construction. Thinking back, I probably should have stitched them right-sides-to-right-sides and then folded it down and beaten it flat. I may try that if I ever do a second pair.

A shot of the uppers with the strips pasted down. I also realized that I seldom show the shoes actually lasted, so I decided to take a photo this time.

In general, I’m reasonably happy with the attempt, although the more I look at my work, the more I realize that the lasts I am using are just not quite right. For the 16th C, the lasts should be curved inwards at the bottom so that the welt is more tucked underneath the upper, but because I am using modern lasts, the shoe basically drops straight down, pushing the welt out further. For the next pair I make, I am going to round the bottom of the last dramatically to see how it arrives at a more period look.

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2 Responses to “1530 – 1540s German Shoes”

  1. Martin Moser Says:

    Very intereesting and new to me. Thanks for bringing this up! Very nice work indeed and a great site you are maintaining here!
    I agree on the modern last problem, they tend to give shoes a look too reminiscent of more modern shoe forms. Looking forward to see you attempts at modifying the lasts!
    Best,
    Martin

  2. raisedheels Says:

    Thanks for the kind words! We’ve got a team together to do some early Tudor cow mouth shoes, and we’re working some more period looking lasts for those. Should be lots of fun, and I’ll be sure to post some details once we get them rolling.

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