Buy This Book No.2: Stepping Through Time

Stepping Through Time, by Olaf Goubitz, Carol van Driel-Murray and Willy Groenman van Waateringe.

Stepping Through Time, by Olaf Goubitz, Carol van Driel-Murray and Willy Groenman van Waateringe.

In my opinion this is the most significant English-language book on historic footwear to be published in the 20th century. The bulk of the book is by Olaf Goubitz who literally invented the system of recording archaeological leather and footwear used today.

Everyone with an interest in historic footwear and footwear reproduction should own a copy of this book, but the catch is that like many books of its type it has become hard to find. People with used copies are asking absurd sums on Amazon (ignore them, it’s good but not worth US$1000), but  at the time I’m writing this post it is looks like it is still available from Oxbow Books for £35 and it is absolutely worth that. [Update: I have heard from Oxbow Books that it is available as a print-on-demand publication, so you can get copies but they sometimes take a few weeks to arrive].

In this book Goubitz sets out not only a typology for historic footwear, but includes a wealth of information on archaeological leather and includes countless masterful illustrations of shoes, parts of shoes, seam types and cross sections of complex constructions.

The material is based on some tens of thousands of shoes and parts of shoes discovered during archaeological excavations in the town of Dordrecht in the Netherlands, but with a few exceptions footwear styles were not heavily regional in the middle ages and renaissance so the material is useful for reenactors of many regions.

There are additional sections on Roman footwear by Carol van Driel-Murray and on prehistoric footwear Willy Groenman van Waateringe, which while narrower in their topics than the bulk of the book are nonetheless detailed and of great interest.

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