6 / 1998

All leather middle class shoe * Early Middle Ages * 800 - 1200 A.D.

Charlemagne (742 - 814 B.C.) was the first ruler who started to protect the making of inland products by discouraging the import of luxurious goods like silk and goldleather from the Middle East. This resulted in the decline of luxurious footwear Byzantine style. Instead simple ankle boots similar to the one shown became common use, also combined with linen, woollen or leather leg covers which were held up by linen or leather straps like puttees. Linen cloth was also cut to leg shape and nailed to wooden hob nailed soles and upheld in the same way, thus creating the first boots called "estivaux" or in Italian "estivalia" and probably later in German "Stiefel". Leather was expensive and affordable only by the more well to do people. Toe shapes varied from round to more pointed ; heights from just below to just above the ankle.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland