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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Fri 23 Sep, 2011 3:29 am    Post subject: A Knight's Non-Skid Shoe?         Reply with quote

Here I am, asking another question of the board...

We've all heard about how slippery medieval turn-shoes were, how useful they are in combat as opposed to the thick clunky modern footwear, etc.

However, I came across something interesting in an Osprey "Warrior" book entitled: English Medieval Knight 1400-1500.

In it, on page 9 there is the following quote:
Quote:
On his feet he wore shoes designed to prevent skidding, described in detail: 'Also a payre of shone [shoes] of thikke Cord-wene and they muste be frette [fretted] with smal uhipcorde thre knottis up on a corde and thre cordis muste be faste swoid [sewn] on to the hele of the shoo and fyne cordis in the mvdill of tin- soole of the same shoo and that ther be betwene the frettis of the hele and the frettis of the mydill of the shoo the space of three fvngris.'


This was interesting to me because I hadn't heard of it before, but it sounded like a good idea and something our ancestors would have thought of.

Thus I began my quest. First I turned to the almighty Google, which proved to be less than almighty on this topic. Undaunted I tried the myArmoury.com search function, which also came up with nothing. I finally decided I must call for aid.

Waxing poetic drama aside, I am curious to see if anyone knows anything about this. As usual, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'd like some of those if reasonably possible.

Oh, and if anyone can spell out exactly what is said in the above quote, I'd appreciate that. I'm not sure I understand it.

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Fri 23 Sep, 2011 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's from the famous 'How a man shall be armed', a mid 15th century account of how and in what order a man should be armed for a foot tournament.

You can read a full translation here:-


http://www.chronique.com/Library/Armour/armyd1.htm

Basically what it's saying is that he should wear stout shoes which have knotted cords sewn onto the heel and fine cords sewn onto the sole. The gap between the cords on the heel and those of the sole should be three fingers breadths wide (to leave a gap under the instep). It doesn't specify the direction that the threads should run in but common sense dictates that they should run across the heel and sole, rather than from front to back.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2011 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
It doesn't specify the direction that the threads should run in but common sense dictates that they should run across the heel and sole, rather than from front to back.


My first guess would have been some sort of spiral sewn on the underside with the stitches running through the sole.

Anyway, I'd love to see a reproduction of this if anyone has made it.

The Knights Hospitaller: http://www.hospitaalridders.nl
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

Posts: 323

PostPosted: Sat 24 Sep, 2011 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anyone know if any of the many medieval shoes found have any indication of this type of sole ?

I'm thinking that the rope-soled " Boating Shoes" available today might be using the similar style of thing for non-skid work on wet decks ??
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N Cioran




Location: Toronto
Joined: 21 Nov 2010

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Sun 25 Sep, 2011 1:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A fret is a specific form in heraldry, a sort of diagonal cross hatch. You can see my interpretation here:

http://www.hippeis.com/forum/index.php?topic=606.0

The fret provides grip while still allowing a slide that a modern rubber sole does not.

Enjoy,
Cole
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
Joined: 02 Sep 2008

Posts: 239

PostPosted: Sun 25 Sep, 2011 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

to N Cioran: why you didn't cover the point with the cord? Too much wear?
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N Cioran




Location: Toronto
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PostPosted: Sun 25 Sep, 2011 8:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gabriele,

I didn't cover the toe because the source material said the heel and the middle of the sole. Having worn them until the cord was literally worn off, I suspect this is to allow a slight shift in weight onto the toes that will allow you to literally skate forward or back. I can mv a pace further with the slide than in a rubber soled shoe...

Cole
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Jakub Biblis




Location: London
Joined: 30 Apr 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon 26 Sep, 2011 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gdansk (Danzig) museum has a pair of shoes from second half of the 15th century (if I remember correctly) with thick leather strips sewn across the sole. Can't find the original picture, here's the repro:

http://www.fotosik.pl/pokaz_obrazek/o6pr7ue34o3odnwi.html
http://www.fotosik.pl/pokaz_obrazek/wytatvvh7q2kvx13.html
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Mon 26 Sep, 2011 2:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is interesting stuff. Thanks for the replies, if I ever make myself a pair of turnshoes, I'll think I'll try the "frette" version.
"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Mon 26 Sep, 2011 3:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

N Cioran wrote:
A fret is a specific form in heraldry, a sort of diagonal cross hatch.


Yes, but in Middle English it also means a lace or tie (which is the meaning ascribed to in relation to this quote in the ever useful 'Middle English Dictionary').

Apparently the word 'fyne' may be a mistranscription of 'fyve', meaning five cords on the sole and three on the heel with a space of three finger breadths between the two sets, which makes sense.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Mon 26 Sep, 2011 10:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

N Cioran wrote:
A fret is a specific form in heraldry, a sort of diagonal cross hatch. You can see my interpretation here:


Very nice. How is the cord attached to the sole? With stitches running through the sole (i.e. you can see the stitches on the inside)?

The Knights Hospitaller: http://www.hospitaalridders.nl
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A. Elema





Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's interesting that the cords go on the heel and the middle of the shoe. This would still allow the wearer to pivot smoothly on the balls of his feet, while giving him some traction when he's just walking.
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
N Cioran wrote:
A fret is a specific form in heraldry, a sort of diagonal cross hatch. You can see my interpretation here:


Very nice. How is the cord attached to the sole? With stitches running through the sole (i.e. you can see the stitches on the inside)?


I thought about this, too. It would make sense, to not stitch completely through the sole, to prevent getting wet feet. Also, you shouldn't loop the thread around the cord, but stitch through it. If you are just whipstitching it to the sole, the thread would be chafed through quite fast.

Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas R. wrote:
I thought about this, too. It would make sense, to not stitch completely through the sole, to prevent getting wet feet. Also, you shouldn't loop the thread around the cord, but stitch through it. If you are just whipstitching it to the sole, the thread would be chafed through quite fast.


Thanks. Any ide how I could go about that? What's that type of stitch called? I have a nice pair of turnshoes from Ana Period Shoes. I glued heel patches to them for extra traction but they came off after a couple of months. So, this cord is really appealing to me.

The Knights Hospitaller: http://www.hospitaalridders.nl
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You will need a curved awl to stitch in and out of the sole, without perforating the inner surface. Then use a curved upholstery needle (they are not sharpened) to sew the cord onto the leather. Idea

http://www.lederkram.de/lederkram/leder/werkz...erahle.jpg such a thing mounted on a haft

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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N Cioran




Location: Toronto
Joined: 21 Nov 2010

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Wed 28 Sep, 2011 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I sewed the cord through a clout sole, which was then sewn on using tunnel stitches as per shoes and pattens. Note that this is ver hard to do on old hardened soles, much better to do with new supple ones...

Have fun!
Cole
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 29 Sep, 2011 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

N Cioran wrote:
I sewed the cord through a clout sole, which was then sewn on using tunnel stitches as per shoes and pattens. Note that this is ver hard to do on old hardened soles, much better to do with new supple ones...

Have fun!
Cole


Wet the sole, then do your aw and stitch work. That's how old time "apprentice trained" cobblers do it. When the leather dries it grips the waxed thread remarkably.

Cole, you make an appropriately hairy Greek re-enactor. Razz
Good job on the project, I'm sure it was an amazing experience!
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N Cioran




Location: Toronto
Joined: 21 Nov 2010

Posts: 72

PostPosted: Tue 04 Oct, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel,

Thanks for the tip, I hadn't even thought to try... Next time Happy

Thanks for the comments on Marathon Kel. it was a hell of a challenge, and unqualifiedly the greatest re-enacting experience of my life. So we;ll have to do it again, and even better (and hairier Happy

We should get together for a pint and I can bore you with the whole album of photos!

Have fun!
Cole
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