Shoes: modern shoe styles passable as historically correct?

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Armando

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One of my biggest challenges in reenacting/trekking 18th century/Fur Trade era has always been footwear.

As a guy with big size 13 feet, and the need for Rx insoles for my flat feet, I'm pretty limited on what I can find used or in merchants row. A custom pair would run me almost the same as a used rifle which makes it hard to justify for something I don't wear every day.

I've had some modern work shoes over the years that were "historically correct looking" because of a big buckle across the front or because they looked like Brogans (Doc Martens).

I'm trying to find some modern shoe options that would work with my 18th century breeches and stockings and was hoping some of you dedicated historical interpreters and reenactors would have some advice. This would be so I could have something passable for local historical events though I"m sure some of the hardcore "soap eater" types will still scoff at me. :)
 

Brokennock

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Will you be wearing "Indian leggings," as part of your outfit? As these may help cover the tops of the boots/shoes and help mask what they are.
I have seen some modern made boots that look similar to a "Jefferson bootie." How early a time period are you trying to represent?
Most so called moccasin toe boots look nothing like a real moccasin. And the soles and toe box will give away most shoes and boots with any kind of buckle of modern manufacture.
I've heard/read good things about the Fugawee "deep trecker," for use with orthotic insoles.

One last thought, your feet are worth the money, or worth using the best modern footwear to meet your feet's needs (unless attending a juried event).
 

Loyalist Dave

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OK so as mentioned, wearing leggings, OR half-gaitors, or full gaitors will cover some "sins" in footwear.
The other problem is the soles. You can find some soles that don't scream "21st century" at first glance, but they give you traction equal to 18th century footwear, which means they suck on muddy or snowy ground.
The Chukka style boot is what you'd be looking at. The price range for this style runs from about $30 to $250...depending on what you buy. https://www.amazon.com/Bruno-Marc-Classic-Original-Leather/dp/B07VXSVF6S or https://www.amazon.com/Clarks-Bushacre-Chukka-Black-Leather/dp/B00UWIZNUC/ref=pd_sbs_309_img_1/142-6121454-5055540?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00UWJ1YSG&pd_rd_r=2fe3279c-545d-4568-bbd4-91f14bd99239&pd_rd_w=dpATn&pd_rd_wg=0dHwU&pf_rd_p=5cfcfe89-300f-47d2-b1ad-a4e27203a02a&pf_rd_r=SQ7CVCGY9AKRC0V7G8B1&refRID=SQ7CVCGY9AKRC0V7G8B1&th=1 IF when it comes time to order, all you can find is brown, well then dye them black.

60 Dollar CHUKKA.JPG
Don't ask me why this is priced where it is...the website shows they do make it in size 13...whether or not it's in stock is another matter... THIS is not me trying to sell these...the price is shown for folks to see what you can expect at that price...about half of the price of Fugawee hi-lows.

LD
 

tenngun

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Björn shoes offers well made chuka shoes that look close to Jefferson booties and with modern soles and inner orthopedic designs that make a safer choice for a foot challenged guy.
 

Stophel

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I have personally given up trying to find period footwear that fit my size 13, wide, straight, flat feet. 18th century footwear patterns are simply not designed to properly accommodate larger feet. I have a hard enough time with modern footwear. I won't relate my failed attempts to get anything even remotely wearable from Fugawee...

So, it's black combat boots for me. ;)

I would also recommend chukka boots, for a less modern looking lugged sole.

I do wish all my modern boots were straight last, though!!!
 

Stophel

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It's not hard to find something called a size 13... it is hard to find something that actually fits, however.

I have a pair of buckle shoes that fit, but given the design necessity, the buckle/latchet is very far down on top of the instep, and they're basically slip off shoes. 18th century penny loafers. I need something else.
 

bang

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I have personally given up trying to find period footwear that fit my size 13, wide, straight, flat feet. 18th century footwear patterns are simply not designed to properly accommodate larger feet. I have a hard enough time with modern footwear. I won't relate my failed attempts to get anything even remotely wearable from Fugawee...

So, it's black combat boots for me. ;)

I would also recommend chukka boots, for a less modern looking lugged sole.

I do wish all my modern boots were straight last, though!!!
Have same issue. 40/44 x 36 pants doesn't help either.
 

bang

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What are these? Did you make these?
Yes I made them. They are heavy duty moccasins. They will handle thorns and even snake bite. They do look a bit chuncky right now but will change once wet and worn dry. Even have built in arch supports.
 

Grenadier1758

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How many have you tried on and from which vendors? What's the actual problem with fit?
The real problem that I have with the Fugawee shoes. The toe box is just too flat for my toes, even though I am a relatively dainty size 11, which rub against the uppers. You often have to get the extra wide eeee sizes, and even those have a very flat toe box.

My most comfortable shoes were purchased from Flying Canoe in 2015. They only do custom fitting and they may or may difficult to reach. They now have a USA presence. They have a facebook page and a web site under construction. https://www.facebook.com/pg/flyingcanoetradersusa/about/?ref=page_internal
 
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The Doc Martin boots will work well for a Jefferson bootee. a few years back my son was interested in starting civil war reenacting with me, we took a old pair of these popped out the meatal lace eyes cut down the top of the boot and used leather lacings. Long part of the story is other than eventually having the soles replaced with leather ones you cannot tell these from the reproduction bootees. And are still going strong this was perhaps 20 years ago and the boy is hard on gear in the field. Now the question is do you want to pay the price for a new pair of Docs to accomplish the correct look. the other option would be buy a pair of chukka shoes and put a leather latchet with a buckle to cover the laces any decent cobbler should be able to do this. I have a pair of flying canoe latchet shoes they are very comfortable, I will eventually buy a pair of fugawee trekkers, I have a friend whom will from time to time take to the field he also wears trekkers with leg braces and says they work very well, and are comfortable he is in his late 70s, but for most part I spend a lot of time in mocs. as I get older my body and especially my feet tell me it is time to take better care of them. I often wonder what and how did the folks of that time felt about things such as this.
 

Artificer

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When I first began doing "Continental" or AWI period American Marine in the mid 70's, there was no one making period shoes for a Full Size and Wide Width, Size 12 or larger reproduction shoe.

Fortunately, the Issue Marine Corps Dress Shoe then was a nice Smooth and Roomy Round Toe with leather soles, though the heels might have been rubber or composite. The holes for the laces then did not have grommets either. Similar to what was mentioned before, the 18th century Military Overalls I wore them under, completely hid the fact there might have been an extra set of holes for the laces.

If I was going to try to find a "close" pair of passable period shoes today, I would go to Wal Mart and large "outlet" (Maybe not the best description for larger stores that stock many, many shoes) shoe stores found in most cities. Heck, I think I looked at a pair a few months ago that were smooth leather, round toe and had Velcro Straps on them that could have been modified by cutting the Velcro off the side pieces and fitting period buckles OR just cutting the straps close and putting two or three lace holes in the side pieces. Rough or smooth side out are acceptable. Two or Three lace holes are acceptable. There should be a distinct heel below the soles, though.

Gus
 

tenngun

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We do live in the here in now. Even if you do something every weekend you still spend five days a week in modern shoes. You grew up in your ‘tenny shoes’.
If your feet hurt it tends to spoil your whole weekend. Like glasses or hearing aids we have to make accommodations.
I’m common size, size 10E. But I’m not going to get my breech cloth in a wad over shoes a guy needs to be comfortable if they don’t look grossly out of place. And my shoes have non slip soles and foam inserts. I’ve been know to have thinsulate long underwater when the weather becomes too cold.
 

steam1993

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i ware rubber boots when its wet/muddy , they kook ok. I have had some custom ghillies made(i year wait), the only problem is smooth soles, like to slip when wet.
 
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