Shoes for Iron Age dress

There is only few finds of Iron Age Karelian shoes. Found leather pieces have sewing holes along a long side, so at least one type of the shoes have been made with separate soles. This is all what we know.
So there is no accurate shoe type or pattern where I could start. I had to base my shoes to archaeological finds from neighbouring part of Russia.


First pair was cut after a pattern shown in this picture (left middle). This shoe has been found from somewhere near Novgorod that is not very far away from Karelia. The leather hid I used was quite stiff and thigh. I could not make folds as small as the original shoe had. My shoes feel nice, but they don’t look like original shoes. This shoe pattern has sewing lines only in heels. I could not walk on asphalt with only thin leather layer under my feet, so these shoes have modern thigh inner soles.


Another pair is based to Viking era turn shoe pattern. Some of Russian shoes have been very similar. In these shoes soles are separate and tighter leather. Pattern is easy to make. Just wear a shock and cover it with duct tape. Then draw the shape of your turn shoe to tape and cut tape shoe open. Spread tape pieces to cardboard and draw final pattern. Sew seams inside out with elk sinew or stronger artificial sinew. When sewing is ready turn shoe. You might need to water shoe a bit. Wet leather will shrink unless you dry shoe in your feet.

turn shoe

This kind of shoes won’t last long and I have to be ready to repair sewing lines when I am wearing these. I am already planning next pair of shoes from thinner leather. For winter use I will also need deer fur boots.