Wilhelm’s circa 1400 style pattens



I made a pair of wooden pattens based upon the circa 1400 styles detailed in Shoes and Pattens (2004) by Grew & Neergaard.  These are the flat style, hinged with a strip of double thickness leather to allow the soles to flex with the foot during walking.  This style came into fashion in the late 14th century, but earlier pattens had a one-piece sole that stood on top of rockers.  I would assume this may represent an improvement in public sanitation around the late 14th century (thus, less “muck” to have to tread over), but that’s just my hypothesis.  I’d appreciate any further knowledge on the subject.

These pattens are made of alder and leather, because Grew & Neergaard state alder and poplar were the woods most commonly used for making medieval pattens, though beech has also been documented.  I found a piece of 3/4″ alder in the scrap bin at CO Lumber for $3 (for the whole piece!), cut it out according to my mock up (which I had made from a scrap of 1/2″ cedar), and adjusted the shape of the leather pieces slightly from my mock up, using the last scraps of some old 9-10 oz leather.  I added a little flourish with an eagle stamp I had picked up at Tandy’s sale a while back.  I also added a small strip of lightweight leather across the front edge of the sole to dampen the loud clacking sound that the mock up pattens made (thanks for the idea, Johann!).  The only materials I had to buy were a small box of 1/2″ cut tacks (plenty of them left over!) and some rosette tacks (used them all, between the mock up and this pair), and that $3 scrap of alder.


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