Just as a note, there is often a wide divergence between the terms used by modern shoemakers and the terms used by modern archeologists and calceolgists. We know very few of the terms used by medieval shoemakers, and fewer still those terms used by English shoemakers (since this document is in English). Therefore, most of these terms will be modern. Those that are medieval shoemaking terms will be noted in italics. Modern shoemaking jargon terms will be in bold face, and given preference. Terms that are not documentably medieval, but likely are, will be given in bold faced italics. Modern archeological jargon terms will be underlined (Please try not to confuse these with hyperlinks, which are also underlined). Specific sources will be named in [brackets].
Many of the shoes discussed below are not medieval, but may be indicative of a type.
|International Language Terminology Cross-Reference||General Glossary of Footwear Types|
A type of sandal made from woven cord. It has a shaped sole and attached straps. It is worn in France, Spain and Italy.
(Other medieval spellings include:
Basĕn, Baseyn, Basan(n)e, Basyn, Bazan, Bazen(n)e)
The word’s earliest appearance seems to be about 1300, although at least one source has suggested that it was also used for a style of Anglo-Norman riding boot worn by the clergy.
A type of shoe, generally popular with women in the 17th and 18th century. It resembled the heavier men's "Blackjack" shoe with latchets tied or buckled over the tongue.
Boot, Bote (Other medieval spellings include: Bat, Bate, But, Bute, Buyt, Latin: Bota/Botarum, Ocrea)
Boot, Demi Chase
Boot, Full Chase
(Other medieval spellings include: Bat, Bate, But, Bute, Buyt, Boot
Latin: Bota/Botarum, Ocrea)
A family of types of footwear extending above the ankle, and may end just above the ankle, calf length, knee high, or thigh high. Cokers and hueses are probably types of botes. A bote may lack any closure, or may be laced, buckled or buttoned. Based on documentary evidence and illustrations, botes were worn by laborers, hunters or riders. This may also refer to a type of legging, or leather hose.
(Other medieval spellings include: Bateau, Botewes, Butewe, Buttwe. Butewes,
Buttows, Buttois, Low boots Latin: Coturnus, Botula, Crepita)
A kind of low boots, reaching above the ankle and perhaps as high as the calf.
A kind of boot that reached up the leg, often to over the knee. In Latin Ocreola. [Promptorium Parvalorum]
Broad Toed Shoes
(Other terms include: Bearpaw, Bear's Claw, Cowmouth,
Escarpin, Hornbill, Horned, Kuhmaul, Scarpina,
Towards the end of the 15th century, as interest for pointed toed shoes waned among the stylish, the fashion drifted towards more blunt, squared-off toes. However, as with the crakowes, the broad toed shoes eventually became grossly exaggerated. These styles were limited at times to a mere 6 inches wide. They were often worn by the German mercenary soldiers. Unfortunately, I am unaware of a really good term from the era in English to describe these, and most of the terms that have been used also mean other things as well. Also many of these do represent variations in styles.
(Brodequin, Cothurnus, Corthurnus, Korthornos, Scin-hose, Socca, Soccus, Sokke)
A 15th century boot, reaching the calves or knees. These are referred to by many names that are also used for other sorts of footwear. Most often they are erroneously referred top as buskins.
Brogue (Brogan, Rullian)
A low, sturdy shoe for country wear, of Scottish/Irish extraction. Originally a hobnailed "Carbatine".
Buskin is a 16th century word for a type of soft leather boot reaching the calf or knee, or perhaps a shorter laced boot, possibly deriving from the 15th century brodeguin. Starting in the 16th century, historians started referring other footwear, such as the ancient Greek cothurnus/corthurnus/korthornos, as "buskins" because they vaguely look like Buskins, leading to much confusion about what a buskin really is. It has also been, used to refer to low stockings and hose of leather, linen, silk, or embroidered and brocaded fabrics. See also Socc.
In the Middle Ages this referred to a type of clerical footwear. Historically the name derived from the Roman Caligae, the boots worn by 1st century Roman soldiers.
A Latin term for wooden soled shoes. See Pattens. Also, this may refer to a sort of Anglo Saxon era clerical footwear, possibly because they had wooden soles.
(Other medieval spellings include: Chauceor, Chaude-pis,
Chaude-pisse, Chau-pis, Chau-pisse, Chauser,
Leggings or hose of leather or maille. They are possibly related to hueses.
(Other medieval spelling includes:
High, cork soled shoes in the 16th century. These developed into the pantofle. The really exaggerated styles were not seen in England.
(Other medieval spellings include: Cokyr, Cocur, Cuker, Quequer, Latin:
Cocurus, Coturnus, Ocrea)
This term refers to a short laced boot, or a laced legging worn by farmers, hunters, fishermen to protect the legs. [Promptorium Parvalorum] In later terms this seems to be what developes into the High/Low. Other authors want to refer to revelins as cokers.
Shoes made with any sort of cork sole.
(Crakow, Cracowes, Krakau, Krakow, Poulaine)
A 14th century shoe with a long pointed toe, peak or pike.
An Anglo Saxon term for a form of sandal [Owen-Crocker].
In the 16th century following a long period of pointed shoes, toes became very square and wide; for a short time, c.1535-55, the corners of the toe were extended sideways resembling ears.
Apparently a type of boots made from expensive fabric in the Anglo Norman period.
A type of shoe decorated with perforated patterns, with winged toe caps and rows of perforations. [Vass]
Sports shoes that are often handmade. The top sole is fitted with nine to eleven spikes for increased stability on grass covered ground. [Vass]
(Other medieval spellings include: Heigh Scoh, Scoh, Unhege-Sceo
Modern terms include: Ankle Boot, Ankle Shoe, Half boot)
A shoe that extends to the ankle, or slightly higher. There is no way to be more specific between the high shoe and low boot, as the medieval meaning are not clear.
A kind of legging or hose. Also possibly boots that reach the thigh. They can have pikes, and so may be footed hose with leather soles. They are possibly related to chaucers.
Leggings (Chauses, Gaiters, Gamashes, Hueses(?), Splatterdashes,
Leg coverings of leather or cloth stretching up from the feet (to the waist), with a strap passing under the shoe. There are pictures of medieval peasants wearing what look very much like WWI & II canvas army leggings.
Moccasin (Hudsko or Hide shoe)
An Inuit term denoting a soft leather, heeless shoe with a fabric legging attached. The lower portion is often made from Sealskin or Walrus hide, while the leggings are made of canvas.
A type of shoe. Possibly the same as the backless shoe later called a mule.
A variant of the basic Derby, a controversial, flamboyant, and youthful style characterized by an unusual division of the vamp and hand stitching on the upper. Its rustic character is often accentuated with heavily grained leather. [Vass]
Boots or Hose
May refer to piked boots.
Anglo Norman term for a type of shoe, although it may be the same as ocrea.
The term originates from a Serbian word for a shoe, worn by the rural population, with a hard molded sole turned up all around the edge forming part of the upper. The European Opanke can have a center front and/or back seam in the bottom unit. The Native American shoe referred to by anthropologists as an Opanke has no seams in the bottom unit and a soft upper which is attached to it. [Thornton/Swann, 1983][Webber, 1989]
An esthetically elegant style with closed lacing. It typically comes in plain, full-brogue, and semi-brogue versions. [Vass]
(Other medieval terms include Clog, Clogge, Galache, Galoch, Galosh,
Golosh, Galoche, Galegge, Galliochios, Galloche,
Gaulish Shoes, Paten, Patyn, Trippe Latin: Calopodla,Calopedes,
Callopedium, Crepitum, Crepita)
These are all names for a variety of overshoes, made with wood, leather, or cork platform soles, sometimes with bits of metal on the bottoms, intended to protect the shoes from wet, cold, mud and pavement. They remained in use in one form or another until the American Colonial period. Some items seen currently thought of as Patens may in fact be sandals.
(Other medieval spellings include: Caffignon, Pinsone, Pinçon,
Pinsion, Pisnet, Puisnet, Pynson, Sokke. Latin:
Pedipomita, possibly Calceolus, Calceamesa Calceamen Pedibomita
A kind of thin shoe, slipper or pump. Although they appear in the literature from 1350 to around 1600, there is no clear contemporary description of them. It maybe assumed that they are a slip on shoe held in place by fit, rather than any fastenings.
Polony fashion (Belone, Palony)
The term first appears in England in 1601, in the notes of Queen Elizabeth's shoemakers, apparently making a reference to the Polish design of stacked leather heels.
A light, low-cut turn-shoe, first mentioned in the 16th Century, thin soled, shoe without any lacing, straps or a heel, or later a very low heel. It often had no fastening and was kept in place by the close fit. They were worn principally by footmen. The term remains until the 19th century when it dies out, only to be used in the 20th century for a similar style of heeled woman’s shoe.
(Brogue, Carbatíne, Hudsko, Kreplau, Llopan, Moccasin, Opanke,
Pampootie, Pedules,Rewylynys, Rifeling, Rivelins, Rivilin, Riwelingas,
Rowlingas, Rullions, Rulyions, Skin-sko) Culponius,
An easily made single piece shoe, worn by the lowest ranks of rural population, with the sole turned up all around the edge forming part of the overleather. The edges were cut into loops through which a lacing pulled the sides together. Frequently of undressed or untanned hide, this general type of shoe was among the earliest of shoes among the Greeks, Romans and early Celtic peoples. It probably continued to be worn through the Middle Ages, although there are no examples. In certain areas these were worn regularly well into the 20th century (and even to the present time as traditional folk costume). Note that while the terms appear interchangeable, the actual shoe designs can be different in details.
Sabot (Wooden Shoe, Klompen)
The work shoe of the peasantry, frequently wooden.
An armored, pointed shoe.
A clerical (Bishop’s) shoe.
(Scarpino, Scarpini, Escarpin, Escarpino)
A light shoe, maybe similar or synonymous with the pump. This term has also sometimes been used for a type of broad toed shoe.
A shoe style with perforated decoration, a plain toe cap, and brogueing rows. Also known as half-brogue. [Vass]
Slebescoh (Slypesco, Slipshoe)
A shoe that was easily slipped on, a slipper. An Anglo Saxon Term [Owen-Crocker].
(Other early medieval spellings include: Slebescoh, Slipshoe,
Slypesco, Slype-sceo, Slypesco, Staeppescoh,
A low cut shoe that can be slipped on, and has no means of fastening. A cheap, low shoe meant to be worn indoors
An Anglo Norman term for shoes in general or a particular type of shoe. The term likely derived from the French soulier.
Armored footwear made up of lames or plates. The term appears to have been used in English around 1826. See also Broad Toed Shoes.
Shoes, may also refer to inexpensive shoes, and possibly clerical shoes. May be synonymous with the subtalaris, or may refer to high shoes
A medieval Latin term referring to old, patched or remade shoes, deriving from the Classical Latin veterementarius, or cobbler.
Staeppescoh (L. Subtaleris)
An 8th century Anglo Saxon term for slipper, is synonymous with the word "swiftlere" [Owen-Crocker].
(Other medieval spelling includes Subtelaris)
The term is Latin, and means “below the heel”. In the Anglo Saxon era it appears to have been term for a low shoe, and may have been used to refer to staeppescoh and swiftlere. It may also refer to a clerical shoe. The term also apparently was used to refer to a chaucepey.
Swiftlere (L. Subtaleris)
A later than 8th century Anglo-Saxon term for slipper [Owen-Crocker].
See High Shoe. Although this meaning seems traditional, it is somewhat speculative, since there is no clear link to the High shoes. Sceo seems to be an older academic form for scoh. The term is Anglo-Saxon/Old English.
This term refers to a specific, non-ecclesiastical shoe with a cork filled sole. There are a very few examples of these from the 14th and 15th centuries.
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Footwear of the Middle Ages - General Glossary of Shoe Types, Copyright ©
1999, 2000, 2001, 2005 I. Marc Carlson.
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