Shoes by Robert

Beati sutores in æternum.

Pennsic 50 Leather Embroidery slideshow (PDF, 8.5 MB).

This project now has its own site:


For quite some time I have been wanting to learn to make medieval shoes to wear during SCA events. Footwear to meet my preferred specifications of historicity usually costs at least $100 per pair. With two growing kids and a wife also in need of similar shoes, it seemed to be high time to learn how to make them instead of purchasing them.

Starting in March, 2017, I attended a short series of how-to-make-shoes presentations and workshops offered by Mistress Rhiannon y Bwa, organized by the Dominion of Myrkfaelinn's Arts & Sciences Minister Mistress Elska á Fjárfelli. Rhiannon served as inspiration to begin researching materials, acquiring tools, and practicing techniques necessary to produce basic turnshoes.

Somewhat ironically, this time period coincided with personal downtime while healing from foot surgery. While forced off my feet for a couple of months, I found time to read books, watch videos, and practice, practice, practice.

This site is an on-going blog intended as a place to keep notes, link to resources, publish arts & sciences documentation, make available copies of my class handouts, show off results, and offer advice to anyone else interested in cordwaining, especially for medieval footwear.

Latest project: compiling and publishing a catalog of every surviving leather item with embroidery from the period 600-1600 CE. So far this includes footwear, belt pouches, knife sheaths, boots, gloves, and doublets.

-Robert of Ferness, OL

PS. After making more than 50 pairs of shoes, in a handful of styles, let me say that the hardest part of this whole endeavour was the very first cut I made into a leather hide! I was afraid of wasting the leather and the money paid for it. But courage! Mistakes will be made. Keep calm and cordwain on!

Last updated April,5, 2024.