Medieval Turnshoes

I'm re-sharing an older post of some experimental turnshoes I made quite a few years ago.  These were based on some Scandinavian examples from the archaeological record.  They came out pretty good for a first try.  My only modification would be to tighten the width through the arch and lengthen the toe area slightly.  I … Continue reading Medieval Turnshoes

Ghillies (simple shoes) again

Here's a simple shoe design that was made by our ancestors before there were shoe shops or Zappos.  Much of the Europe population, both male and female wore a variation of this for many millenia, right up into the early 20th century.  They are commonly associated with their Celtic cousins in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland … Continue reading Ghillies (simple shoes) again

Upcycled Sweater Shoes

UncommonCate

Sweater Boots10

Lovely warm and soft, these shoes (or perhaps slippers) began as an accidentally shrunken wool sweater. These poor, shrunken, often high quality wool sweaters end up in thrift and consignment stores on a regular basis. They also tend to cost next to nothing, so all in all they make perfect material candidates for any felt related project. These shoes are a quick and fairly simple project.

I began with two wool sweaters that had been washed in a washing machine until they were fully felted. Both were good and thick which makes for a warmer and more durable material.

Sweater Boots1Sweater Boots2

The Pattern: The mid-sole is simply a tracing of a foot. The front upper is made by laying a piece of paper over the foot and tracing around the edges. I cut the sole out of the slightly thicker of the two sweaters because the sole gets more wear, and then…

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Huaracheria Aquino in Yalalag, Oaxaca (reblogged)

This is a great series of photos of a surviving craft still producing their own leather. This maintains an economy (for them) that could have very little cash outflow, replacing the cost of raw materials with labor. I hope these industries survive.

A great photo of a huarachero from the series.

Huarache Blog

Nestled into the Sierra Norte mountains of Oaxaca is the small town of Yalalag.

Yalalag is very precious town, not only for it’s strong Pre-Hispanic traditions, but also because like only a handful of other small towns in Mexico, most of the Yalalag population is still dedicated to the traditional craft of Huarache making.

Huaracheria Aquino is the largest ‘Taller’ workshop in Yalalag and they are well known for their high quality Zapotec Huaraches.

What also sets this family run business apart from most other Huarache makers in Mexico is that their crafting process begins at their in-house tannery, where they vegetable tan all their leathers to their precise specifications.

Huaracheria Aquino is famous for their traditional women’s Zapotec Yalalag sandals (the only existing traditional women’s leather sandal/huarache style in Mexico).

Photo of young Zapotec Woman in Mitla, by Guy Stresser-Péan, 1957

Their ‘Tejido’ Huarache also stands out for the…

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New High Tops

Determined to get the pattern right once-and-for-all I have been slaving away on a new pair of shoes.  As a matter of fact, I think these shoes are completely slave-labor-free.  The leather upper and mid-sole are oak tanned leather (Hermann Oak), and the rubber soles were cut from SoleFlex sheeting.  The laces were made from … Continue reading New High Tops

Handmade shoe links

Handmade and bespoke shoes have become an interest of mine over the years.  Starting with moccasins and graduating to other variation led me to the realization that even with a great deal of leather and sewing experience, shoemaking is a complex and underestimated art in our culture.  Of course, cheap shoes are readily available to … Continue reading Handmade shoe links

Shoe In Progress

The upper is turned, now attaching the sole.  This is very much an experiment but so far it is coming along better than expected.  It is a style from early modern shoe construction, with a lot of similarities to the archaeological finds from the Mary Rose but with a modernized upper.  This style of construction … Continue reading Shoe In Progress

Winter Count 2011

A few photos of the vardo in the desert at this year's Winter Count.  Along side the usual survival skills, I also taught another simple shoe class. Click the photo to see more uploaded images of the little vardo in action. This ghillie shoe class was busy again and I think we had about 16 … Continue reading Winter Count 2011

Yucca Sandals

Some new yucca fiber sandals.  One narrow leaf yucca, after processing, will easily yield one large pair of sandals and straps.  Ethnographically and archaeologically, we know this type was worn in northern Mexico, the American southwest, and California.  After wearing these and the plaited style, I think the loose fiber provides more padding for rough … Continue reading Yucca Sandals

Ghillie brogues (shoes)

I am all about the DIY.  After making a pair of sandals for Winter Count this year (I arrived with only work boots) I got re-interested in making shoes.  I have made many moccasins for woods walking, especially when I was into mountain man and F & I re-enactment and decided to make some new … Continue reading Ghillie brogues (shoes)