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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