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Handmade Shoes

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  • moderatly hard to find a cobbler
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      20.08.2001 18:44
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      • "moderatly hard to find a cobbler"

      This is another wedding inspired op.... Most of us have feet that are not exactly the same size, and few of us indeed are lucky enough to have feet that correspond well to a shoe size - most people are "a small six" "A large eight, "somewhere between a nine and a ten" or the like. Good fitting shoes are wonderful things, when we find them, we often treasure them. As with everything else, most of the time we are stuck with whatever we can get in the highstreet. As I seldom wear tight shoes, high heels or shoes with pointed toes, I have quite broad feet, and find that shoes designed for women are often too tight and uncomfortable for me. I have healthy feet, but litttle I can put them in! (and it amazes me that so many women crush and distort their feet for the sake of fashion.) I had thought about handmade shoes before, but had considered it out of my price range, as you can expect to pay a hundred pounds or thereabouts for a pair of shoes. When I started arranging my wedding dress, the seamstress who was creating it asked me if I wanted shoes to match, and after much thinking, feeling guilty and not being sure, I eventually decided to go for it. I was asked to measure my feet and to draw around them twice, once around the edge, and once with the pencil angled to pick up the shape of the bottom of my foot. (You need someone else to do this for you, for best results, as it helps if you are standing normally rather than sitting or bending over.) Handmade shoes are much more likely to have leather soles - mine did. I like leather as a material - it is hard wearing, flexible, waterproof and biodegradeable. It is a by-product of our meat industry. Unlike many synthetic materials, it allows your feet to breath, thus foot funguses and contitions like athlete's foot are far less likely to develop. I am a fan of using natural materials wherever possible - they are better for the skin and for the planet. <br><br>I did not have a fitting for my shoes, although I would imagine that you could if your shoemaker was close to hand. The shoes had a tiny heel - barely a heel at all, smooth leather soles which I had to scuff up to give them some grip, soft leather uppers covered with embriodered green silk. They were stiff when they first arrived and it took a little wiggling to get my feet in. They fitted perfectly, the leather moulding around my feet to create a perfectly snug shoe. I wore my shoes from about 11 in the mornig until midnight, during that time I walked on them, danced in them, stood about for long periods. By the end of the evening, my feet were quite tired and achey, but given how much standing about I had done, this came as no surprise. Having shoes that perfectly matched my dress was lovely and I mean to wear them again some time, for a special occasion. Once we wold all have either made our own shoes or had them made to fit, or gone barefoot. The advent of mass production has given us cheap shoes that last for about a year if you actually walk anywhere in them, never quite fit properly (leading to squashed toes, bunions, blisters and all sorts of other problems) and after use, contan a whole load of synthetic stuff that will take an unfeasible amount of time to break down. Is progress good? My feet think not. I realise that the cost of handmade shoes makes them prohibitive for most people, but if you can afford it, it is well worth considering. As I've mentioned before, I do Viking reenactment, and we wear authentic costumes. This includes footwear. Since it is not posible to pick up viking boots from the shops in Redditch (or anywhere else for that matter) making your own shoes becomes an issue to consider. This isn't easy and requires a source of leather, and a few specific tools for the job. however, several of the blokes I know have made their own boots and shoes, and have done so remarkabley well.
      Soft leathers do let the damp in, and leather soles don't give you much grip on wet grass, so there are issues to be aware of before you charge out onto the battle field (or into the registry office!)I don't yet hav a proper pair of Viking boots, but if I do end up making my own, I will update this to let you know how it goes. Handmade shoes - there are cobblers around who will make shoes, otherwise you might want to try craft events, folk festivals of reenactment events. It turns out that there are a lot of people making shoes, so if you have had enough of poorly fitting plastic from the high street, perhaps youmight want to give this one a try. If nothing else, it's a lot of fun, and you get to have something a bit different.

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