Guide to Viking turnshoes.pdf
Guide to making replica Viking turnshoes.
Whilst many re-enactors are happy to try sewing
clothing, making shoes tends to be viewed as a difficult task only suited to experts. This isn’t a detailed
guide on how to become an expert shoe maker; It’s
a set of notes about my own self taught methods
which evolved to help me to make good looking and
serviceable replica shoes using a minimal set of tools
and basic skills which should be within the ability of
any re-enactor used to sewing their own costume.
In order to make your own pair of replica Viking period
turnshoes it is of course necessary to understand what
we mean by the term turnshoe, and I suppose to a lesser
extent the term Viking period. Put simply a turnshoe
is any shoe that is sewn together inside out and then
“turned” right way round to force the seams inside
where they are less likely to be worn or abraided in use.
This traditional way of making shoes is radically different and somewhat simpler than the methods used in
modern shoe construction, and it is this simplicity that
I would suggest makes making a pair of turnshoes an
attainable goal for somebody with basic sewing skills
but no previous shoe making experience.
With regard to the term Viking period, it can mean many
things to many people. Here in England it is commonly
taken to mean from the first attack on Lindisfarne
through to the Norman conquest - roughly speaking
the ninth, tenth and first half of the eleventh centuries.
Elsewhere in Europe it can cover far longer from the
early Migration or Vendel periods through to what we
in England would consider the Middle Ages or High
Medieval. It is important to choose a particular style
suitable for the date you are portraying. So whether
buying shoes or making your own you should not
select a design just because you happen to like the look
and style, or because someone has written the word
“Viking” on the label. The chart below, although some
what simplified, provides approximate periods over
which the archaeological data suggests some styles of
shoe were commonly in use. It does not cover every
find, and makes no allowances for regional differences
or odd exceptions to general trends, so please treat it
as nothing more than a loose overview. In other words
also do your own research into what is or isn’t appropriate for use within your own re-enactment society.
Miniature artist, sculptor and traditional craftsman