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In search of Natural Clothes --In Particular Foot wear  RSS feed

 
Sam Barber
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So the discussion in the Base Camp Office today had to do with foot wear in huspa. We cogitated over several things including moccasins, wooden clogs (think dutch people), wooden sandals, going barefoot (not really footwear), and rope sandals.
Some of the things that we wondering about is. What are the best materials for making huspa friendly footwear? What sorts of things could be substituted for for unnatural parts of shoes like plastic (boo!) and other common footwear matrials? What kind of shoes did people wear 100 or 1000 years ago?
 
Sam Barber
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Sam Barber
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Sam Barber
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Philip Durso
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For the sole the Russian Dandelion might be a good locally sourced alternative to the Brazilian Rubber Tree for use in colder climates.
 
Sam Barber
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So I made these Geta's Yesterday down in the shop. I used some pine 1x6 and some untreated steel roofing nails to make the platform the straps are made out of cut up T-shirt. All I have to do make them huspa approved is to switch the T-shirt to some organic fabric or leather straps. This is only the first iteration so hopefully I can make them more comfortable the next time I make them. Right now they are kind of noisy on the gravel and frozen ground here at Base Camp but I think that up on the Lab they will be much quieter and will also work great in mud and soft dirt! Paul said that he wants to see more innovation in this space so feel free to post any of your ideas for Huspa footwear. Or even pictures!
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Sam Barber
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A few more pictures
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Dennis Lanigan
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Here's a deer leather turn shoe I'm working on right now. I made the leather, but not the sole leather (which is veg tan cow leather scrap I got at a leather store). Someone could definitely make this shoe from all locally sourced materials. While buckskin moccasins are nice, I prefer these obviously because they can be oiled and made water resistant. I'm sewing it together with flax/linen string. (The black smudge on the toe is a dye experiment of oak gall/iron oxide/vinegar dye I made. I'm eventually going to dye the whole thing black).






The white sewing is the linen string.

You'll notice how snug it is; it's very hard to get on with socks. For sealing the leather I could use beeswax/bear fat mixture. For now, I'm just going to use (rancid) bear fat.

Some historical discussion of this 10th Century Anglo-Scandinavian style is here. The site is called Footwear of the Middle Ages and contains a lot of information on what people in Europe and Roman colonies wore from the Dark Ages to the 16th Century.

Here's a better example by Jason Hovatter of Laughingcrowe.com.



(You'll noticed Jason's solution to soles is crushed tire rubber mixed with Barge cement)
 
Sam Barber
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That is awesome those look alot more comfortable and quiter then the Getas I made.
 
Sam Barber
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How long did it take you to make those once you had the leather finished?
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Making the shoes is taking me three days, or about 12 hours total per shoe. But I am going very slow because I don't want to mess up on my own stuff. I haven't even cut out the other shoe because I wanted to see if it worked first. It can be done much faster. Jason, who's shoes are also pictured above, estimates it takes him 6 hours to make a pair.

Making the leather...that's a whole other story.

Here's the shoe finished

 
Dennis Lanigan
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I was hoping more folks might chime in on this topic, but oh well. I'm kinda obsessed, so here's some more stuff.

I'm mostly addressing this to folks in Montana, but people in Eastern WA and Idaho might find this interesting as well.

I would consider designing boots similar to Alaska native styles (seal skin Kamiks), in that the soles taper up the sides of the entire boot. Oils are used to make them waterproof and grasses are kept in the foot bed to keep above any wetness that might get in.

From my reading of Alaska Eskimo Footwear it appears many Kamik makers would lightly tan the hides with oil and alder bark (mostly used as a dye). From the pictures the hides appear to have a rawhide feel to what I'm used to. People who live in the NW have more options for tanning such as bark tanning combined with oils (much like my shoes above) if a softer hide is desired.

Four trees offer fairly high tannin levels in their bark: Sitka Spruce, Western Hemlock, Doug Fir, and Ponderosa Pine.

I believe traditionally the native people of the NW wore buckskin with triple soles (search Salish side seam moccasins). That's one way to go too.

To learn more about the shoes I made above check out the book Shoes and Pattens which features excavations from medieval England.

Wood Pattens, much like the wood Geta's, were the medieval solution to avoiding walking in the mud and could easily be combined with the shoes I made above.

Here's a site on making wooden pattens: http://thomasguild.blogspot.com/2012/08/making-wooden-pattens.html
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandavian and Medieval York (PDF)


The Archaeology of York 17/16
Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York
by Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron
This volume presents the evidence for the manufacture and use of leather artefacts in York in the Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval periods. Over 5000 items of leather dating from the 9th–15th century from Coppergate and other sites in the city are represented.

Above is a PDF of excavations also depicted in Shoes and Pattens, but I found this as an accessible PDF.

What's cool is you can see even on the front page of the PDF the exact same shoe I made except 1000 years older. See pg 3306 of the document as well.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
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Dennis, I covet your shoes. I tried to lift the photo off the first page of the York .pdf you shared (what a huge doc!) to post here, but failed. I'm following your posts even if not replying much as I'm sure others are, too.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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I added a picture of the PDF above so people can see what I'm talking about.

Here's a bag I made out of buckskin and bark tan recently. Not exactly clothes or footwear, but just wanted to show something that was sewed completely using leather itself. Processing hemp, linen, silk could be a hassle and take up too much energy when leather itself makes a fine stitch for some items. Lonnie of Vancouver Island makes stuff like this for sale on his Etsy.

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Dennis, that was an excellent PDF to find and share.

How did you locate that, what was you search criteria?

Regards,

j
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Jay, I think it was "Anglo Scandinavian Turnshoes". Or maybe I found it through looking for the publisher and/references for the book Shoes and Pattens? I don't remember.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Dennis,

Have you tried your hand a huaraches? I think you would love the style of work.

Regards,

j
 
Dennis Lanigan
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I haven't tried huraches, but I do want to move to shoes that are less constrictive/low top style. I was in this crazy Facebook based shoe class with master shoemaker Marcel Mrsan where we were making a flip-flop -- it's crazy because there's 1000+ people in the class/group. I gave up on that because I can't learn though facebook.

But you've inspired me to try again, especially since this snow will finally melt here and I'll exploring wild places more. I'm not so into the open toe/sandal thing as tend to bang my toes on rocks when I'm jumping into rivers, portaging canoes, and what not. I think what I'd rather do is something like these Iron Age shoes from Instructables.com (these are not by me):



Here's an "Instructable" on how to make these "Iron Age Shoes".

Another reason these shoes attract me is they (like Huraches) can be made with leather lace and don't require thread.
 
Jessica Gorton
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My husband and I really love our mocs from Arrow Moccasins. One thing they do with their shoes that I would highly recommend to anyone making leather footwear is the double sole. Then you can replace the outer sole as it starts to wear out, and not have to make a whole new shoe.
 
Meryt Helmer
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Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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my kids and myself enjoy softstar shoes http://softstarshoes.com/url I want to make my own shoes but until then softstar shoes are very nice and mine have lasted quiet a while. my kids outgrow theirs before they get worn out and then the younger one gets the older ones and they are still not worn out when she finishes with them.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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I think including Yaks in a permaculture plan I think is an amazing idea, especially for natural clothes and footwear. As the International Yak Association explains, "Ride, Pack, Pull. Meat, Milk, Wool." I am surprised Yaks don't come up at least as often as black locust or other common permaculture touchstones. Yaks are the most beautiful, resilient, useful beasts I can think of.

In regards to clothing, a Yak produces three types of fibre, some of which is 17-19 microns which puts it on par with Merino wool. This is important because a large land project could have a source of wool--and felt--that is very warm and plentiful. (Along with fibre for rope and a beautiful animal to pull that rope.)

I am also obsessed with Yak leather. When I was researching the ultimate leather I discovered that Yak leather is special because it can be skived down and not lose it's strength. (Skiving means shaving down from a thick hide to a thin hide.) The fibre structure of yak skin is very tight which will make the leather extremely durable and strong, more so than even other leathers like goat, deer, buffalo, etc. And if you think Yak leather is totally random and ridiculous you may not know that Ecco shoes are made almost entirely out of Yak leather because they believe "Yak leather is at least 3 times stronger than cow hide." '

So because I usually become obsessed with something and then have to step through the looking glass: I found someone with Yaks, got a raw Yak hide, and then drove it down to some friends who tanned it. So it is possible to tan it on a homestead scale. They said it was the best leather they'd ever made. They gave me a chunk just to prove they did it and claimed they cursed my name the entire time they had to tan it (it was really thick and huge). I only got a chunk because they had already sold the rest of the hide!

A source for Yak wool, meat, and breeding stock is Spring Brook Ranch in Kalispell, MT.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Jay, I just went down a Hurache worm hole and found this guy who sells handmade Huraches with traditional leather here.

The shoe seller has a blog here that shares how the leather is made which I find really interesting: http://huaracheblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/taller-de-curtiduria-gonzalez-making-the-best-vegetable-tanned-huarache-leather/

Same blog: how to make a Hurache
 
Jerry Sledge
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Make your own Huaraches using these instructions only use leather. http://xeroshoes.com/how-to-make-huaraches/# Alternate tying methods. http://xeroshoes.com/tying/ I have two pair one with the between the toe tying and the other with over the foot/wrap around the ankle tying.
 
kadence blevins
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Bumping this. Love to see any new stuff ya might have. How did i miss this thread!!

I love moccasins and mukluks. Perhaps for montana winters nice lined (fur or wool) mukluks with snowshoes or those wooden whatchacallits strapped on.

I go barefoot mostly but this is super awesome stuff (:
 
Laura Stinson
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What about a variation on these? http://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/62306289/womens-sewing-pattern-for-outdoor-soft?ref=shop_home_active_10
Ok, so maybe you wouldn't be doing hugelkultur in them but I'm not sure I'd dig on digging in the wooden clogs either!


I think I might need to learn how to make shoes now thanks to this post..... =P
 
Dennis Lanigan
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I found some pictures of Jason (the guy who taught me some shoe making) teaching a class in Virginia. It shows a step by step of how the shoes were made. I post it because it might give someone some ideas on how to make some shoes. I also like the picture of the guy starting to turn his turn shoe. He looks really frustrated because it is really hard to do!



Moccassin style turn shoes at Ancestral Knowledge
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Laura, I noticed on the pattern maker's website for those shoes that she uses felted wool too. I find plenty of felted sweaters at the Goodwill bins ($1.49/lb). I also don't see why someone with this pattern couldn't use garment weight leather--maybe from an old leather jacket or pants?--for a little more durability.
 
R Scott
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Bumping this for a new year.

Last two weeks for me have ranged from 6 to 60, including some fun 30-35 degree rains. What did people do for slushy muddy conditions before rubber? I can figure out cold dry and warm wet, but cold wet is a real bugger.


 
Dennis Lanigan
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What was used among anglo-saxon cultures was Pattens. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patten_%28shoe%29

If you'd like to learn more about Pattens check out the book Shoes and Pattens http://www.amazon.com/Shoes-Pattens-Medieval-Excavations-London/dp/0851158382

Or check out the book Stepping Through Time.

I posted this above, but here it is again: someone making medieval style pattens. http://thomasguild.blogspot.com/2012/08/making-wooden-pattens.html

 
kadence blevins
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Bumping to hopefully gauge interest in: http://www.permies.com/t/45637/natural-fibers-materials/Husp-quality-clothing

Sorry Sam for the thread steal.
On this topic though, I hope to be able to attempt some husp quality shoe here soon. I was definitely thinking of pattens too reading over this last! Maybe between all us permies someone will come up with a great new design thats even better (:
 
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