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Medieval Platform shoesShoemaking has been an established art for at least 3500 years.  We could start on the great plains of North America in the latter half of the 19th century.  But within the trade itself–among shoe and bootmakers–the legends, the traditions, and the history really begin with St. Crispin.  St. Crispin is the patron saint of shoemakers.  Since medieval times, October 25th has been celebrated as St. Crispin’s Day and the Shoemaker’s Holiday. In the past, boot and shoemakers traditionally closed their shops on this day, in celebration and commemoration. let’s bring this holiday back!!

Actually there are two stories that seem to be the same…one in England and one in France. St. Crispin was born painting of a shoemakerinto a wealthy roman family. Somewhere fairly early on, he became Christian.  Since this was not an approved lifestyle for a noble Roman, legend says that he was disinherited. Forced to fall back upon his own resources, St. Crispin became a shoemaker. Although teaching the gospel was his life’s work, he made shoes in his spare time–until he was put to death for his beliefs in France 288 A.D.. We know a little more about St. Hugh, the English counterpart to St. Crispin. Born Hugh, son of Arviragus–king of Powisland. , St. Hugh married a Christian princess, Winifred of Flintshire. She quickly converted him to Christianity, with roughly the same results. Thrown into poverty, Hugh became a shoemaker who preached the gospel by day and plied his craft by night.

Both he and Winifred were put to death, ostensibly for rabble-rousing, about 300 A.D.. Legend has it that his fellow shoemakers kept constant vigil and consoled him during the time of his internment. After his death, by hanging, his friends pulled his body from the gibbet and dried his bones. These were made into tools  for making shoes. For many years, in fact, a shoemaker’s tool kit was called St. Hugh’s Bones.

drawing of boot with spurPeople really loved covering their feet during the seventeenth century. Fashionable footwear changed shape during the  17th century, and middle-class and wealthy people happily purchased the styles in order to remain in fashion. Shoes and boots continued to be made on straight lasts, so the shoe can go on either foot. Not sure how comfortable they were.

However, significant changes were made to shoe fastenings, toe shape, sole height, and the decorations applied to the upper, or tops of shoes. to make them more fashionable and comfortable. the end of the sixteenth century, shoes began to change from slip-one to more tightly fitting tied styles. shoes were usually fasten with ribbons and buckles. The toes of shoes changed from being round to square, and sometimes forked, a style that featured a squared toe with slightly elon-gated corner points. Square-toed shoes became so associated with men’s shoes during the century that, when fashions changed in the next century, an unfashionable man was called “old square toes.” All shoes and boots had heels that were at least an inch high, and were more commonly two or three inches high. Worn by men and women. Although the shoes of the lower classes and working people were made of durable  leather or wool, shoes of the wealthiest people were made with expensive fabrics or delicate leather and elaborate decorations.


 drawing of shoe pattern  picture of cut out shoe pattern


Annotated bibliography and style cents between the 16th century and the 17th century or very different… They were done on straight last in the 16th century.and in the 17th century they started doing more decorations and more elaborate shoe fittings. style types and different countries have the different type issues.explaining where they came from and possible history. from the 18th and 19th century on how we did our shoes and where they came from… And some of the Tools

Mr. Roundy is a worldwide known cobbler for over 40 years. Mr Roundy’s knowledge is everything I am taking his class and he is amazing… If you ask him any question he is all over it.anything in between shoes boots sandals he is known eVerywhere.


Keywords: shoe history, antique shoes, fancy shoes

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