Alpirsbach Shoes

Among the many finds uncovered during renovation works in 1958 in the monastery of Alpirsbach was a single Kuhmaul or cowmouth shoe.The shoe is typical for its type, an upper consisting of 2 pieces with a heel stiffener and a top band. A strap helps keeping the shoe firmly on the foot. The original was in heavy and likely long use, being repaired repeatedly.

The reconstruction you can see here is based on this find. The way the strap is attached differs from the original as does the width, mine is ca. 1cm narrower at the widest point. The insole decoration (2 slightly different types, don't ask ...) is taken from another 16th cent. shoe shown at the Deutsches Ledermuseum Offenbach. I made the pair with doubled soles front and back. The extra soles are sewn on with a double blind stitch as it was typically done at the time when adding extra soles to prolong the lifetime of the shoe.

Detail shots show almost all constructional parts, strap fixture, topband seam, heel stiffener seam, the seam joining the 2 parts that make up the upper and the seam attaching the insole to the upper and the welt.


  • Fingerlin, Ilse. Textil- und Lederfunde. In: Alpirsbach. Zur Geschichte von Kloster und Stadt. Textband 2. Forschungen und Berichte der Bau- und Kunstdenkmalpflege Baden-Württemberg 10 (Stuttgart 2001) 715-817