Shoes by Robert

Nailed Shoes Repair

Back in 2014, before I knew much about medieval shoes, I purchased a pair from a merchant at Pennsic. They seemed particularly nice because they sported attractive brass buckles and had tiny nails attaching the soles to the uppers.

I wore them long enough to wear out the soles, such that the nails started protruding from them and catching on our pavilion floor carpets. At that point I knew a lot more about shoes and stopped wearing the nailed ones.

Although the nails are not at all medieval, their uppers are not too bad, so I decided to resole them. It was interesting to disassemble them and attach new soles, converting them to turnshoes in the process.

Steps in this project:

  1. Soak shoes to soften leather
  2. Extract nails with pliers
  3. Remove the soles and separate their layers
  4. Cut away the margins of the uppers where they had been folded over on the bottoms of the soles and had nail holes.
  5. Trace an old sole onto new 9-10 oz. veg-tanned leather and cut out new soles.
  6. Saddle-stitch the old uppers onto the new soles, inside out.
  7. Soak and turn the shoes rightside-out.

Uppers tend to last a long time, so as these new soles wear out, it's a simple matter of removing them and adding new ones whenever needed.

Note: I have not yet tried to match these shoes to any particular date or location, so for now they are generically period - probably - and likely to serve as my fighting footwear... until another specific project related to that topic is completed.

Last updated Oct. 10, 2022.

Uppers look fine.
Worn-out, nailed-on soles.
Detached sole.
Both shoes completely disassembled.
Two-part soles were a surprise.
The edge was cut away.
A new sole was attached.
The shoe turned with the new sole.