[Ansteorra] Are Westland Crafts shoes reasonably period in style?

Susan Tillery sutillery at sbcglobal.net
Fri Oct 19 13:55:31 PDT 2012

"Are these shoes “straight,” that is no lefts or rights?  When did  they start 
making “lefts and rights” (shoes specifically for the left  and right feet)? 

The work shoes produced here are indeed made  on a single “straight” last 
(wooden form).  Thus a new pair of these  shoes consists of two identical shoes 
that can be worn on either foot.   (Eventually the shoes will mold themselves to 
the wearer’s right or left  foot, however.)

Shoes have been made specifically for the left or right foot for  thousands of 
years, although this style has gone in and out of fashion  from time to time.  
Straight shoes (made initially to fit either foot)  were the common fashion from 
about the 1500s until the late 1700s when  lefts and rights began to return to 
favor, especially for dress shoes.   Work shoes began to return to the left and 
right style by the mid-1800s."

----- Original Message ----
From: James Crouchet <james at crouchet.com>
To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>
Sent: Fri, October 19, 2012 3:15:36 PM
Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] Are Westland Crafts shoes reasonably period in style?

Short answer,  for most people the answer is yes, provided you know what
you want and pick whichever of their styles reasonably matches it.

Longer answer, it depends on the goal.  If the goal is to have something
better than what you can find in stores and thrift shops then there is no
doubt that several of their styles fit the bill.  If the goal is to have
shoes made from only period materials processed in a period way, and using
only period construction techniques then these won't do and you need to
plan to make your shoes yourself.

I find that several of their styles have good period silhouettes. The two
styles I have are the thigh high long boots (on the period shoe site you
reference, see the Mary Rose boot), and the mens latchet style #3, though
mine lacks the heal and is a bit longer in the toe, both of which I think
were more common.  I suspect the heal and shorter toe were done because
they got a lot of requests for it from people use to modern shoes.

Note also that their shoes tend to have soles that are obviously right and
left, which I think was uncommon for much of our period.  Greater comfort,
less authentic.

On the plus side the ones I have were made with soft compressed leather
soles, rather than the hard compressed leather we are use to in modern
soles. Hard compressed leather is slick, particularly when wet, and does
not let you feel the ground.  As a fighter or a dancer this matters,
particularly if you are trying to duplicate period moves.  Note that a soft
compressed leather sole actually grips better when damp. The only modern
shoes I have seen with soft compressed leather soles are dancer's shoes.
The catch is, the shoe repair place won't have any of this so if you go to
get your shoes resoled at some point you will have a decision to make. Of
course, if you can find soft compressed leather somewhere you could take it
to them and ask them to resole your shoe with that.

One thing I recommend for anyone getting period style shoes is to add wool
insoles. I buy mine from the Basket Man at GW but you could make them from
2 or so layers of army blanket.  I know some people make them by stuffing
loose wool into their shoes.  In time the wool will form a mat shaped to
the shoe and your foot.  I understand this was also done in period.  I
don't like modern insoles for period shoes but I know some people have to
have them.  In either case, if you plan to add insoles you need to plan for
that when picking your shoe size.  I found it took me from an 8 to a 9 but

Christian Doré

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 1:41 PM, Tim McDaniel <tmcd at panix.com> wrote:

> Some people in my local group ordered shoes from Westland Crafts,
>  Doing a little poking
> around, it looks like the shoes that I got may indeed be early period
> in style.  (I was looking at my shoes versus Marc Carlson's pages
> under 
> .)
> Anyone know from shoes to know broadly how authentic their shoes might
> be?
> Danet de Lyncoln
> --
> Tim McDaniel, tmcd at panix.com
> ______________________________**_________________
> Ansteorra mailing list
> Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
> In order to make changes and manage your account please go to:
Ansteorra mailing list
Ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org
In order to make changes and manage your account please go to:

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list