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These boots were made for....

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:59 am
by Theotherone
I came across this article which has some interesting theories on poulaines.

Is it as far fetched as some of it sounds? ... -shoes.pdf

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:55 pm
by Chris, yclept John Barber
Just had a quick scan (I'll read it more fully later whenever I have the leisure), but already his historical research seems dodgy - he describes Jane Shore as 'the regent's mistress' in an era when there was no such thing as a regent - in fact she was King Edward IV's mistress.

I was told that the long-toed shoe was a civilian fashion aping the long-toed sabatons (armoured boots) worn on horseback by knights/MAA. Their purpose was to ensure that if the foot slipped out of the stirrup during combat, it wouldn't lose contact. The user could regain the stirrup by simply pushing forwards - the pointed 'beak' of the sabatons meant that even if the foot slipped backwards a foot or more it wouldn't come out of the stirrup.

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:46 pm
by Colin Middleton
Either that guy knows far, far more about Medieval shoes than I do, or far less. There are only a couple of points in there that I know to be correct, though none that I KNOW to be false.

Personally, it reads to me like he's decided the conclusion and gone out to prove it. His definite asertion of a 'high stepping gait' in the MA sounds suspect (how does he know about it?), as do a lot of his other conclusions (like shoes not being worn to protect the feet, but just for fashion and the favouring of the poor for not wearing shoes). I also think that he's ignored a lot of obvious evidence that doesn't fit his theory.

I'll post it to the Yahoo "Medieval Shoes" group and see what kind of reception it gets there. There are a few serious shoe researchers on there.

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:58 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
But it wasn't a continuos fashion it went in and out of favour and in some places was never the fashion at all.
Most parts of Italy, where the first instances of sythlis are reported in europe favoured soled hose, in Florence the common people wore clogs 9though these may be pattens worn without footwear.)
I have seen little pictoral sign of them in the Scandanavian countires.
There are lots of instances of military dress influencing civilian fashions, in the medieval period there are doublets with false quilts and arming points and the "slashed cloth" look that is suppossed to mimic those manly Landknechts. I hadn't heard the notion that cracows were an imition of armoured shoes, but certainly they were never popular in Italy either.
I suspect that like the goliath sized cod pieces of the 1500's silly long toed shoes were meant to suggest that the man wearing them had a huge cock.
i mean you all know what they say about men with big feet don't you?

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:59 pm
by Colin Middleton
I posted this on the Medieval Shoes group and my ideas were confirmed. Lots of assumtions, lots of historical 'myths' being pushed. However there were a few new references in there, so thanks for sharing it.

I think that Al Muckart summed it up when he said:
Definitely written by a podiatrist and not a historian.

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:12 am
by Jason
Chris, not to criticise you directly re sabaton length etc., but to add to the conversation, when I loose my stirrups, which does happen on rare occasions, it's pretty simple and quick to regain them, or to ride without for a while, even when in full plate and in a joust. My personal and unresearched opinion about such long things, especially in warfare is that it might intimidate foot by looking like it might make a useful kicking weapon. On the other hand it'll get caught on stuff and twist the hell out of your leg and thigh.