Hi all! I just finished a quick pair of double-sole medieval shoes. They are based on western European archaeological finds and depictions from the 15th century. However, there are some images of similar shoes from the church of Boboshevo, Bulgaria from an earlier period. This particular pair is made for a western European costume reconstruction. These medieval shoes are made of 2 soles, each with a 6 mm thickness, and a 2 mm thick upper leather part. I’m pretty happy with the results. They look great! I think i will invest in some more of this leather 😀
During the long years of studying medieval Bulgarian and Balkan murals and wall-depictions, I have noticed a very distinct and common headwear style. It appears that the people on the Balkans – modern Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia, have a tradition of wrapping their heads with scarfs. It may seem like an eastern practice to most modern reconstructors, but back in the middle ages they used to use that a lot. It’s not very surprising considering that women had to wear scarfs and keep their hair hidden while in public.
We call that the “Byzantine” style of wear because they have a tradition in wearing that, and the tribes that came during the great migration from Asia, adopted it later. I think that Bulgarians and Serbs adopted that fashion after the 12th century, and it lasted up to the late 14th -15th.
At first, we thought that this is just a way for depicting wise men or certain biblical figures. With time and various historical evidence from depictions and murals, we’ve become convinced that this style of headgear was actually used and not just depicted in churches and monasteries.
The medieval scarf needs to be long and rectangular. It has to be made of a thin and flexible fabric that can breathe easily and keep your head shaded at the same time. I managed to develop the wrapping technique with plenty of tests and experiments.
Leave the captions on if you need a more detailed tutorial.
These are just a few of the many sources on the Balkans that show this type of medieval scarf. You can even see the byzantine soldier wearing it under his helmet. The photo on the cover is my experiment of what it would look like to wear a helmet over a scarf. It’s pretty comfortable actually, but it depends on the helmet as well.
Enjoy, and feel free to ask 😛
Most shoe depictions on the Balkans are either boots, or low shoes which are commonly worn with wrappings. This type of footwear is usually worn by soldiers and common people. This is understandable considering they couldn’t afford more expensive shoes. Cavalry men, on the other hand, wear mostly boots. So, it is safe to assume that this type of low medieval shoes were most often used by the medieval middle class.
Here are some of the sources I found on this model. They are from present day Serbia and Macedonia. The pictures are from the monasteries of St Andrey church on the river Treske, near Skopie (end 14th cent.); St Nikita in Macedonia; the churches in Pech, Serbia, and so on. There are various examples of this type of shoes, so I haven’t gone through the trouble of finding all of them.