Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

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Elleth
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Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Elleth » Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:15 am

I know we've batted this topic about a bit over the years, but I'd like to get a sense of the current thinking about the boots worn by the northern Dunedain rangers. After years of putting it off, I think I've finally gotten up the courage to bow to the inevitable and give making a set a try. (eeeeeeeek!)

After so many false starts in this hobby, I'd like to get all my thinking in order before I even start drafting patterns. I'd *like* to only have to do this once. And of course, I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Up to now, I've used:
* Minnetonka tall mocs (absolutely the most comfortable - and a nice bit of nostalgia as well - but not at all a traditional European pattern or material)
* Armstreet medieval shoes and ankle boots: good simple soles, but the style was too short and the hardware a bit chintzy
* I've seen Sodhoppers ages ago, and their kin: they look gloriously comfortable, but again not really historically patterned. Great faire boots though.
* I've seen Bohemond high shoes like Taurinor has: these look to be my favorite off-the-rack, but I'm looking for taller shafts and ideally no slits through the the body.
* I've seen Viking Leathercrafts shoes like those Manv used (like the idea, don't like the "cowboy boot" points or - again - the slits in the body.)

Greg... yours are homemade? On more or less Andy's side-lace pattern, is that right?



Anyhow, what I'm thinking....
* around knee-high
* to keep roughly period-correct, turnshoe soles.
(the tracks Aragorn finds near Weathertop is at least consistent with a turnshoe-soled Rangers and stacked-sole Nazgul interpretation)
* no more than an Armstreet "almond" point to the toe: perhaps plain rounded?
* a flap-front construction, rather like the Bohemond high shoe or this Armstreet shoe:

armstreet-medieval-shoe.jpg
armstreet-medieval-shoe.jpg (65.12 KiB) Viewed 767 times

https://armstreet.com/store/footwear/br ... ss-accents

I do very much like that "spine" up the back, as it seems to both serve the purpose of a heel reenforcement and holds tie straps in place without punching holes in the boot itself.


What do you guys think? If you were starting from scratch, what do you think most fits those "tall boots of supple leather?"
Anyone who's made a set have thoughts on "definately do this" or "never do that?"
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caedmon
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby caedmon » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:26 am

In the last year and a half, I have made five pairs of turnshoes and a pair of footed hose. Most of them for my sons who keep on growing, and most have failed in some way. Probably the two biggest fails have been lack of heel reinforcement and making the uppers out of too thick a leather. (4-5 oz. veggie).

Lack of heel reinforcement has made it easy for the heel to "swim' a bit, especially on kids who don't particularly care how their shoes fit until the leather sets in a particularly uncomfortable way.

Too thick a leather is a problem with getting shoes to turn properly.

I am trying to finally make my high pair myself and am looking at the following boots as my inspiration:
  • Taurinor's high boots (hmm, can't find them, were they posted elsewhere?)
  • The Worcester Pilgrim Boots
  • High versions of Bohemon's Medieval boots (mine have worn out and I've take them apart to cobble/reverse engineer)


I'm using a 2-3 oz oak tan for my upper and a the soles are 8 oz saddle leather that I got from a professional leather worker friend.

I'm seriously considering lasting them, but am still on the fence.

For both these and the cobbling of the Bohemond's, I'm considering doing the same rand that is on the Worchester Pilgrim boots.
-Jack Horner

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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Grimolt » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:43 am

I've had over the knee cavalier boots that had really pointy toes, and I used to fence in them and such. I can tell you that I agree completely with your decision to move away from pointy toes...not easy to run in for sure. Those boots had a spine up the back (kind of like the ones in the photo), and I think it helped to keep the boots up. That pair of boots started with plain leather soles, and they were slippery as hell, so I had a modern sole put on.
Right now, I have a pair of 3 toggle boots from Bohemond, and I like them very much. My previous experience with leather soles led me to put a vibram sole on them, and that has been a great blessing as far as traction, comfort, and durability in moderate wet conditions. My "never do that" would be to leave the sole leather. I get wanting to have authentic footwear, but I've spent years in boots with great, aggressive, comfortable soles and don't want to change!
I think that the flaps look pretty awesome, with all the straps and buckles and such. There are some boots called "tanker boots" that I've seen in the service (but never worn) that have flap and strap construction. Honestly can't say that I ever saw tankers putting any ruckin' miles on their boots though, so I can't really speak to how well they work as far as comfort and durability when hiking around in them.

I see I've basically just rambled on a bit to not much point, sorry I couldn't help more!

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Elleth
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Elleth » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:11 pm

thanks guys!

caedmon - 2-3 oz?! Wow! One of my armstreet shoes seems about that, and I'd always thought it too thin to be practical/durable enough. I can see how turning thicker leather might get tricky though. Hrm - that will take some thought.
It's interesting that the Worchester boots don't seem to have any kind of fastening: could the leather of the boot shafts themselves be thick enough they more or less stay up on their own?
(and oh - "high shoes" was just referring to the Bohemond shoe you mentioned: I apologize for the confusion)


Grimolt - interesting! Reading up a bit on "tanker boots" it seems the one complaint for those things is a lack of ankle support.. but since it doesn't seem lighter turnshoes have much support anyhow, it seems that may not be much of a loss. Still something to be careful with though.

I don't want to go full modern sole, but I am concerned about traction. Sometimes my armstreet shoes seem magic: others (pine-needle covered hillsides) they seem like a deathwish. I'm thinking maybe iron crampons? Or a tar treatment like sodhopper (I think it was?) did once upon a time? Anyone try that?
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Peter Remling » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:00 pm

I remember that substance as being black but I don't think it was tar. Tar remains a liquid so it would leave a mess on any interior surface. I'd suggest you experiment with a another substance maybe Shoe Goo mixed with sand and dyed to your color of choice. The shoe goo is durable and the sand would provide traction. Just a suggestion as I've never tried it.
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby caedmon » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:27 pm

Elleth wrote:
caedmon - 2-3 oz?! Wow! One of my armstreet shoes seems about that, and I'd always thought it too thin to be practical/durable enough. I can see how turning thicker leather might get tricky though. Hrm - that will take some thought.
It's interesting that the Worchester boots don't seem to have any kind of fastening: could the leather of the boot shafts themselves be thick enough they more or less stay up on their own?



Don't have time to look it up right now, but I think that MOL's Shoes & Pattens notes that uppers were most commonly sheep, goat or calfskin at about 2mm thickness. This is why I'm going for that thickness.

I had noticed that on the Worchester Pilgrim as well. He could have used garters. I had to do that with some cavalier boot I once had. Or they might have been removed , it was noted somewhere that they were cut out at the top /back presumabley to fit over bloat on the corpse' legs.
-Jack Horner

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Elleth
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Elleth » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:42 pm

I remember that substance as being black but I don't think it was tar.


Ah! Wow, their website hasn't changed in 20 years now I think. I remember drooling over this site aaaaages ago. :)
http://www.sodhoppers.com/html/goop.html

Anyhow: chopped tires and barge cement, so... no go on that front I guess.
Hobnails or crampons then it is.
Caedmon: I know you posted a link to a Norse tie-on ice crampon: have you made any?

I think I will be going thicker uppers though: I've some thin goatskin around, and while I don't doubt its historicity I really don't think it's up to the task, difficult turning be darned. :/

Garters on the Worchester boots make sense. I still find it odd a pilgrim would go for such high boots, given he's presumably travelling over mostly cleared roads. Maybe a cultural thing?
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Greg » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:14 pm

Yes, I made mine from scratch, but they actually have a lot of elements from the list you're after for your own. Mine are flap-fronted much like what you pictured, though my "tongue" as we call them nowadays is on the interior, so when I overlap my two 'ends' to lace them up, it is covered. I have a stitch across the bridge of my foot just like those do, where there's separation between the toe-half and the heel-half.

I also have a spine up the back of mine, but I did it on the interior as well, with the grain facing in. Makes it slick to ease putting them on...socks like to grab the split-side and tend to ride up and/or cause the boots to be generally difficult to pull on.

Mine are turnsoled, but I added a welt between the shoe and the sole to stitch a clump sole onto. This has proved invaluable...I've worn through one once, and was able to remove it and tunnel-stitch on a new one in an afternoon. Like you, I only wanted to do the whole project once. The only real disappointment I have with them is that I was trying for that subtle almond point, and wound up much more round. Some day, when I don't have anything better to be working on, I might somehow con myself into re-doing the actual shoe.

The only part of mine that was actually inspired by Andy's was the side-laces, yes, but the overally look found its way in anyway. I just couldn't bring myself to lace them up the front. Everybody's got their thing...and moccasins aren't mine.
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Elleth » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:00 pm

Interesting - clever putting that spine inside!

I'm afraid I can't quite imagine the tongue arrangement: could I trouble you for a closer photo at some point?
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Greg » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:22 pm

I suppose we could cook something up. Denim for contrast.

Image
Image

If you’ll note, the left outer “flap” is much wider than that on the right...it will fold all the way across the shin, over the tongue, and cinch snug on the right-hand-side, outer calf, making this the right-foot boot.
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Greg » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:35 pm

It's funny...the more I looked at them, the more I thought "Surely Armstreet could accommodate a small custom request..?" so I went and looked up that model to get a closer look, and was pleasantly reminded that you're not new to this game at all.

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Elleth
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Elleth » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:19 pm

LOL. :)

Having cut my old armstreet shoes apart for a pattern, I can see why they didn't want to raise the shaft any - doing so would cut into a part of the leather needed for the toe on the original pattern.
It works once you make seperate front-half and back-half portions of the upper though, which is what I'll be doing.

Thank you for the picture-that's a neat construction! I was inclined towards buckled straps mostly because I'm tired of fumbling with knots, but that does look a lot more stable in the fitting. Hrmm...
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby theowl » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:49 pm

I made a pair of viking ankle boots a few years back. They're.... fine? I might try remaking them some day if I get the time. I also have a very similar pair of ankle boots from GDFB and they get the job done.

My go to for most reenactment-type scenarios are my Aragorn boots from caboots. I have a pair of pirate boots from them also, and they're outstanding which for the price I'd hope so.
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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby JeffCee » Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:20 am

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Re: Current thoughts on "Ranger" boots?

Postby Peter Remling » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:43 pm

For a medieval solution to the durable sole issue, how about boiled linseed oil. It should permeate the leather and then harden, giving it a cuir buoilli like texture. The benefit over trying it this way as opposed to a straight cuir buoille method would be that you could add sand to the mix for better traction. Another benefit is that it can be re-applied at any time it is needed.

I'd recommend assembling the shoe/boot first and then brushing in on/in. It will seal your stitching holes and make it that much more difficult to assemble.

Linseed oil will show up under a UV light however, I can't find any evidence of anyone putting actual medieval footwear under a UV lamp.

I haven't tried this but the principle seems sound.

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