Fastenings


  • Buckles
    found in earlier periods in Frankish footwear, and some Anglo-Saxon; they are more common from 1200 on.
  • Lacing
    Common throughout the period, Usually seen as having the laces along the side of the quarters and leg, sometimes the inner side, sometimes the outer, but rarely up the back of the leg.

    Note that cutting the holes for tie strings leaves the leather around the holes open for tearing. Punching holes with an awl or other pointed tool won't weaken the leather. Often, shoes made during the Middle Ages and later were made with another strip of leather that was stitched behind the lacing holes to support the leather.
    When making overlapping lacing holes. These MUST be in pairs, and each upper hole must fit over the lower hole. Modern formed metal grommets are not a period alternative for supporting the holes in shoes (they don't appear until after 1823 or so), although similar eyelets are sometimes found in later period straps.

    Some laces are said to have brass wire wrapped tipped.

  • Thonging/Drawstrings
    This fastening for shoes is thonging being laced around the outside. In the London finds, they are most common between 1100 and 1250.
  • Toggles and Buttons
    A Toggle is a flap of leather passed through a leather hole or `D' shape that has been sewn or knotted onto the shoe. They are most common in the London finds from c1200 - 1350. They are common in Norse finds to the 11th Century. The technique takes some practice, but it does work.
    (After Schnack)
    A Button is a toggle made from some other material (bone, metal, wood, etc.) These may have been found in Anglo-Danish shoes, but more often found from 1300 on, although they are never really "common".
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    Footwear of the Middle Ages - Fastenings, Copyright 1996 I. Marc Carlson. 
    This page is given for the free exchange of information, provided the author's name is included in all future revisions, and no money change hands, other than as expressed in the Copyright Page.