10th C. Viking Shoes

January 5, 2010 - Often times, I will barter for clothing, embroidery, or both in return for shoes. In this case, these lovely Viking shoes were made in exchange for a fantastic embroidered wool Viking tunic! Although I'd made turn shoes in the past, I was excited to get the chance to try and do some ornamentation. Note that many Viking shoes have a "triangular" sole back which continues up the quarters, but I chose to leave it normal in this instance since time was of the essence.

This image, from Goubitz' Stepping Through Time, shoes a detail of a 10th Century Viking shoe from Schleswig, Denmark (not Gdansk, Poland, as I previously had thought - thanks Mel! =). There is evidence for a variety of ornamentation types on Viking shoes like embroidery, vamp stripes, and the like. Additionally, Goubitz also shows several other shoes of this type with varying embroidery patterns.

A close up of the embroidered vamp. A paper pattern was made and the design was drawn on the paper pattern. Then, the pattern was laid on top of the vamp and awl holes were made to indicate where the thread would emerge and then go back into the vamp. The paper pattern was then flipped over and done for the other vamp. Note that the vamps were dyed before the embroidery was carried out.

You will also note that a thin leather strip was whip stitched to the top of the quarters as an additional visual point of interest.

A close up of the embroidery on the vamp of the shoe. Pretty sweet, hm? =)

The finished shoes! If you look at Goubitz for shoes of this style, you will notice that the overlapping piece is actually inserted into the vertical seam of the shoe, so you need to get your fit just right. This is much harder to explain in text, so I suggest you go back to Goubitz where it better detailed.

Shortcut Bar

Shoe Source.
The embroidered vamp.
The finished shoes.

Comments on: 10th C. Viking Shoes

By: raisedheels

Hi Joanna, I'm always keen to barter with fellow artisans! Feel free to send me an email with what you were thinking, and we can talk details. =) Francis

By: Joanna

hi mate, are you still willing to barter? I have been waiting for someone to make me slav embroidered shoes for a year now, no luck, no info etc.I make clothes, naalbinding generally Viking and slavic stuff but not shoes so i'm looking to trade. let me know, thanks! Joanna

By: raisedheels

Thank you, and I would be happy to - I'll send it to your email later tonight.

By: Marcin

Very nice work!!! Can I have a scan of page with pattern?

By: raisedheels

Thank you! Sure, I will send it on over to you - it will have to wait until I get back home, though, since I'm away for the weekend.

By: Magdalena

Great shoes. I'm seriously thinking of making my own. The problem is, I can't find my copy of the page from Stepping Through Time that you are referring to. I would like to make the shoes from Gdansk. Could you: send me an email with a copy of the page included, if you still have access to the page. OR Pin the page on pinterest which is where I saw your shoe. Thank you for sharing. Magdalena

By: raisedheels

Thank you for the compliment! And I will definitely take a closer look and correct it - in some instances I have noticed that Goubitz's lettering is actually incorrect =)

By: Mel

Fantastic looking shoes! They have inspired me to make a pair of my own! I love the embroidery and the contrasting colour, very nice indeed! One thing I noticed when I was looking through 'Stepping Through Time' though; the shoe is actually figure 9c of the Type 10 shoe, not 8c - I made the same mistake first time before I realized Goubitz's figures run vertical, not horizontal, down the page - which says it's from Schleswig, not Gdansk. Just thought I'd let you know :)

Click to add your comment!