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A pair of medieval townsman shoes will be a perfect choice for any reenactor looking for comfort and unique design. This historical footwear will be appreciated mainly by merchants, townsmen and courtiers.
This medieval footwear is characterized by unique look which, together with comfort of use and various colors to choose from, makes an all-purpose pair of simple medieval shoes. This pair of medieval shoes can be worn at a medieval marketplace, during medieval camps but also during court events.
This model of historical footwear is made of cowhide leather of approx. 2 mm thickness, plant- or chemically-tanned, depending on a chosen color.
The upper is made of leather and reaches over the ankle. Medieval townsman shoes are tied up with leather straps.
The basic version of this medieval footwear is made of 1 layer of soft leather with strengthening in form of a heel counter and a fabric insole. All stitches in these leather medieval shoes are hand-sewn. The sole is glued without additional seams, just as the insole.
Our medieval townsman shoes are available in two options:
- MSS1436 - leather shoes with rubber sole
- MSS1437 - leather shoes with leather sole
NOTE - our medieval shoes are sewn from various deliveries of leather from the suppliers. Colors presented on pictures may slightly differ from the final product. You get a unique pair of shoes.
Our footwear is available in a range of colors: natural, black, brown, and red. Fully leather shoes have a light-brown sole. A rubber sole option is available in the following colors:
- natural - light-brown sole
- black - black sole
- brown - dark-brown sole
- red - light-brown sole
If you want to change any of the mentioned colors (of the sole or of the upper part), please contact us to check the possibilities.
Please choose a size of your knight footwear from the chart below. To choose the correct size, please measure the length of the foot and length of the insole in your shoes.
Foot length (cm)
Historical sources on medieval shoes of a townsman
An example of medieval townsman shoes can be found in the Archaeological Museum in Gdańsk. There is a medium-high right shoe from the Middle Ages found nearby Żytnia St. in Gdańsk.Inventory number: MAG/GD/255/20/48/1151.
- made of natural cowhide
- wide range of colors to choose from
- a middle-high shoe reaches over the ankle and stabilizes the leg in ankle joint
- universal, proper for various reenactors: merchants, townsmen, courtiers etc.
- high quality with fair price thanks to manual sewing of visible stitchings
- tied up with leather straps and easily fitting the foot shape
Shoes in the Middle Ages
Nowadays we perceive footwear as an essential part of everyday clothing. It had similar role even hundreds years ago. A shoe protects foot against overload but also against water, cold and injuries. It also provides proper traction.
Shoes were always made of 2 parts: a sole and upper. These were produced mostly of grain leather sewn together with hempen thread. Later, historical shoes became a representative symbol which indicated the wearers’ wealth and social status. The richer a person was, the more decorative their shoe was
Today we know that foot protection was popular even in prehistory. In 1991 a pair of tourists during their trek in the Alps, near Ötztal in Southern Tyrol, found frozen corpse of a man from around 3300 BC. Ötzi, as that is how the man was named, was wearing shoes from deer skin and bear sole. He had straw of grass inside the shoes. Such construction protected his feet again injuries and moisture and ensured comfort and hygiene. In the ancient times people worn usually sandals from papyrus, sometimes from leather. Romans worn leather shoes similar to sandals with full sole, often with studs. These were called caligae.
Footwear fashion evolved in the Middle Ages. Medieval shoes were produced from cattle, sheep or goat leather. They were sewn on shoemaker's lasts. The sole was mounted with nails, then other elements were sewn together. In the 12th century a shape of shoe known today came to existence. Distinctive medieval shoes with lengthened tip can be found on miniatures from 12th century onwards.
There were many ways of decorating medieval shoes. Leather was often hemmed and decorated with additional outer elements. Usually medieval footwear was cut out, punctured, stamped, embossed, embroidered, or simply additional fancy elements like pearls were sewn onto it.
Another interesting fact is connected with colour of shoes contrasting with hose. Of course, the more fancy a shoe, the wealthier his owner was. In the medieval times people believed that the less decorative shoe was, the more god-fearing and well-behaved his owner was.
In the 15th century, shoes with pointy toes gained great popularity. These were called poulaine or crakoves. Their special shape made it a bit difficult to walk in them. It was the most significant change in the European shoe shape. The people of commune wore medieval footwear with much shorter toes. Typical poulaine were accompanied by other decorations, also to underline the original outfit. However, as soon as such footwear started to be perceived as reprehensible, wearing it became forbidden.
There is a theory saying that both of these special names can be associated with Poland. In France, it was called a la Poulaine (from Poland), and in England - crakoves (from Cracow). However, scientists till this day are not sure about the correctness of this theory.
Each medieval person knew overshoes – rigid, wooden soles with heels worn under leather shoes. These protected the footwear against mud, rain or snow. Usually it was made from one piece of wood matching the size and shape of shoe and feet. They had numerous decorations like rosettes on sides or on soles. The richness of ornaments depended mostly on the wealth of owner.
Great part in discovering the history of medieval shoes was played by Gdansk city, where numerous historical footwear were found. Both male and female examples are decorated with various adornments and embroideries which gave them unusual look. Historical notations confirm that there were 3 models of footgear: for wintertime with short upper part, traditional with revealed ankles, and shoes with a deep cut-out instep and with long tips. The craftsmen of that time found inspiration in trends from France and England.
As long as the middle of 19th century, footgear was made by hand.