Medieval Shoes

Various types of medieval shoes were used during different eras of medieval times.

For instance, during the early medieval times, the most common type of medieval shoes was a piece of leather wrapped around the foot and tied with laces.

Medieval Cobbler repairs shoes

A Medieval Cobbler made and repaired medieval Shoes

Trends for medieval shoes changed towards more diversely designed shafts during the middle medieval times. Similarly, during the late medieval times, sturdier leather began to be used and the material and style began to reflect the persons social status.

Medieval Shoe Types

Medieval shoe types varied in their material and styles during different medieval eras. In France, Spain, and Italy a popular type of sandal was called Alpargata was famous during the medieval period.


Alpargatas Medieval Shoe

Among the clergy, a type of medieval shoe called ‘Caligae’ were used which was inspired by the boots worn by Roman soldiers.

Roman Caligae Shoe

Other common types of medieval shoes included

  • Calopedes
  • Buskin
  • Corked shoes

Buskin Shoe

What were medieval shoes made from?

The most common element used in the making of medieval shows was leather.

Its quality, however, varied over the centuries. Producing the finished Leather was a smelly and messy process that was done by a medieval tanner.

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During the early medieval times, leather of low quality was used while late medieval times opened up European trade with the rest of the world and high quality leather became accessible. Other materials used in making shoes included wool and fur etc.

Who made medieval shoes?

Medieval shoes were made by cobblers who also repaired all types of shoes.


However, medieval cobblers mainly made and repaired shoes for the common people. As for the nobility, they had their own shoemaker who was known as a cordwainer.


Cordwainer *Made Shoes for Nobility

He made luxury shoes with various styles that were exclusive to the nobility. Compared to the cobblers, cordwainers had more established businesses.

  • Earlier medieval shoes were very basic and we usually made from leather
  • As the medieval period progressed medieval shoe design improved and the Shaft of shoes was improved
  • Medieval shoes began to be worn as a status symbol rather than just something for the feet
  • Different people in medieval society wore different types of shoes that suited their profession
  • The medieval clergy wore a shoe called a “Caligae”
  • Common types of medieval shoes included the buskin cork and calopedes

Medieval Shoes for Men

Various kinds of medieval shoes were popular among the men. Common villagers used shoes that came up to the knees and were wrapped around the front with the laces.

Medieval shoes for nobility and knights, on the other hand, were made of high quality synthetic leather and had low heels. These shoes were available in various styles.

Medieval Shoes Women

Just like men, medieval shoes for women also maintained a distinction between the nobility and the common people. One popular type of medieval shoes for women was the turnshoe.


Medieval Turnshoe

These shoes were made of thick and soft leather. Among the peasant women, leather of low quality was used and shoes of wool and fur were also common.

Medieval Shoes for Nobility

Medieval shoes among the nobility changed from simpler shoes during the early medieval times to more stylish and sturdier shoes during the late medieval times.

During the middle medieval times, closed shoes with a pointed front were also used by the nobility.

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During the 15th century long pointed shoes became very fashionable, these shoes were could be called crakows, crackowes, poulaines or pikes!

History of Medieval Shoes

Medieval shoes, just like medieval clothes, changed their shape and materials over the course of centuries. During the early medieval times, leather of low quality was used in shoes and there was hardly any variety.

However, during the late medieval times, shoes with elaborate designs became popular.

Medieval Shoes Nobility

Medieval shoes were considered a part of person’s attire and served to reflect their social standing. Thus shoes used by nobility were not allowed for the common people. While the main material used in making shoes was leather, fur and wool was also used on occasion.

Medieval shoes summary

there was a large distinction between the styles and quality of earlier medieval shoes and later medieval shoes.

There was also a large difference between the shoes worn between different classes of people in medieval society, during the medieval period there was large improvements in medieval shoe design and the quality and materials used when making medieval shoes.

  • Peasants liked to wear medieval boots that came up to the knees and were tied with laces
  • Turnshoes were popular medieval shoes that were popular with medieval women & were made from thick leather
  • Nobility often wore closed shoes with a pointed toe which were very fashionable in later medieval periods
  • During Medieval times the quality of the leather and design of shoes improved throughout the medieval period
  • Nobility had their own shoemakers called cordwainers whereas common people made their own or used a cobbler