Shoes by Robert

Books and Articles

These four books should be studied by a prospective shoe maker, both before and after crafting. Reading gives some clues, doing helps understand the reading, and then re-reading clarifies problems, and so on.

Volken; excellent resource for finding a type based on timeline. Comprehensive and thorough.

Goubitz et al.: especially good for learning about techniques and materials; categorizes shoes types by fastenings so can be harder to find something for given time period.

Grew and de Neergaard; more limited in scope, for time and place, but full of good drawings and photos.

Mould; more than just shoes; this book can be downloaded as a PDF file for reading on a computer or tablet. See the York Archaeological Trust Fascicules for a link to it and other small finds from archaeological excavations in York.

Harjula; also more limited in scope, but with numerous color photos and descriptions of shoes and shoemaking not found elsewhere. Free download via

If you cannot acquire your own copies, try a local university library or the interlibrary loan service at your public library.

Main Sources

Ceynowa, B. and E. Trawicka, eds. 2016. Every Step Leaves a Trace: Historic Footwear from the Collection of the Archaeological Museum in Gda?sk. Gda?sk Archaeological Museum. [Download PDF version]

Coatsworth, E. and G. Owen-Crocker. 2018. Clothing the Past: Surviving Garments from Early Medieval to Early Modern Western Europe. Brill, Boston. [See esp. Chapter 9: Footwear: Shoe, Boot, Slipper, Patten.]

Goubitz, O., et al. 2007. Stepping Through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times until 1800. SPA Uitgevers.

Grew, F. and M. de Neergaard. 2006. Shoes and Pattens (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London), rev. ed. Boydell Press.

Harjula, J. 1987. Before the Heels: Footwear and Shoemaking in Turku in the Middle Ages and at the Beginning of the Early Modern Period. Archaeologia Medii Aevi Finlandiae, XV. Suomen Keskiajan Arkeologian Seura.

Larsen, A. 1992. Footwear from the Gullskoen Area of Bryggen: The Bryggen Papers: Main Series, vol. 4. Scandinavian University Press.

Mould, Q. 2004. Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York (The Small Finds). Council for British Archaeology. [Download PDF version]

Pedersen, I. 1992. "Appendix: Technical Analysis of the Embroidery" in Larsen, 1992.

Swann, J. 2001. History of Footwear in Norway, Sweden and Finland: Prehistory to 1950. Coronet Books Inc.

Volken, M. 2014. Archaeological Footwear: Development of Shoe Patterns and Styles from Prehistory til the 1600's. SPA Uitgevers.

Additional Background Material

Cherry, J. 1991. “Leather” in English Medieval Industries: Craftsmen, Techniques, Products. Blair, J. and N. Ramsay, eds. The Hambledon Press, London, UK.

Hald, M. 1972. Primitive Shoes. The National Museum of Denmark. Copenhagen.

Hansen, G. 2015. "Luxury for Everyone? Embroideries on Leather Shoes and the Consumption of Silk Yarn in 11th-13th Century Northern Europe" in Textiles and the Medieval Economy: Production, Trade and Consumption of Textiles 8th-16th Centuries. A. Huang and C. Jahnke, eds. Ancient Textiles Series Vol. 16, Oxbow Books, Oxford, UK.

Laing, J. 1980. The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, 1439-1979. Perpetua Press, London.

Mander, C. H. W. 1931. A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Guild of Cordwainers of the City of London. [Publisher and place of publication not specified.]

Meek, C. 2017. "Calciamentum: Footwear in Late Medieval Lucca" in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 13, 83-105. Netherton, R. and G. Owen-Crocker, eds. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, UK.

Norska-Gulkoa, M. 1964. "Early Mediaeval Embroideries on 10th-13th Centuries Leather Objects from Ostrówek in Opole" in Bulletin Archéologique Polonais, 30, Warsaw.

Sulser, W. 1965. The Patron Saints of Shoemakers. Bally Schuhmuseum, Schönenwerd.

Swann, J. 1973. "Shoe Fashions to 1600" in Transactions of the Museum Assistants' Group, 12.

Swann, J. 2008. Shoemaking - Shire Library (Book 155). Shire Publications.

Thornton, J. 1973. "The Examination of Early Shoes to 1600" in Transactions of the Museum Assistants' Group, 12.

Volken, M. 2008. "Making the Ramshaw Boot, an exercise in experimental archaeology" in Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies, 16: 359-366.

Wubs-Mrozewicz, J. 2005. "Shoes and Shoemakers in Late Medieval Bergen and Stockholm" in Collegium Medievale, 18: 7-35.

Last updated Sept. 29, 2020.