Shoes and Heel Plates

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To order Shoes and/or Heel Plates,
click on this PDF icon and follow the instructions on the top of the page.

Shoes Order Form.pdf

To care for your Shoes or Hi-Lo's, click on and print out this PDF document on Shoe Care.

Shoe Care pdf.

Mens Shoes - Made in Canada by Robert Land ( We try to keep all sizes in stock, but occasionally we run out, so please email me with your size and width before you place your order. The sizes and widths available are listed with each type of shoe. No other sizes, widths, colors, smooth-out, custom orders, or womens sizes are available from me. To see if your size may be in stock please check the inventory list. I try to keep this updated, and always do when I receive a new shipment, but it may not be accurate during campaign season when we bring shoes to events and sell some. However if the list doesn't show any in stock you can count on that being accurate. So to put it plainly, if the inventory sheet says none are in stock, I don't have them.

In May 2015 Robert Land announced he is permanently closing shop. In late July I received the final shipment from Robert.

I did get several pair of black gentlemens/civilian style right/left buckle shoes $120/pr. These shoes have the very pointed toe style, thinner smooth out leather, and a rubber heel. They are made more for indoor than outdoor use. I have not stocked these shoes before, so I don't have photos on the website but photos are on the shoe inventory sheet. Only one pair of size10 is now available.

I don't have another source of shoes lined up and don't have any recommendations for the shoes of the same quality for under $200. There are several sources of 18th C. style shoes. The best are partially hand-sewn and cost over $200. Several sources sell relatively inexpensive shoes but in my opinion the leather is too thin, or the toe shape is wrong for the 1770's.

Shoe and Hi Lo Inventory as of October 18, 2015.

The best way to buy shoes is in person, at an event. But if you must purchase by mail please be advised that unworn shoes can be exchanged for another size, however you will have to include $11 for return shipping. Shoes that are obviously worn cannot be returned or exchanged. So try on the shoes at home and wear them around the house. Make sure they are not too snug or loose, you don't walk out of the heel, your toes have room, etc... How do you know you have a good fit? My advice is three fold: First - does the width feel good? Second, with your heel all the way back in the shoes, you should be able to wiggle your toes. Third, with your foot pushed all the way forward, you should have about 1/4"-3/8" space between your heel and shoe. If you can barely insert a finger into that space that is good.

I have been asked if a foot tracing would help in selecting the correct size shoe. It won't because there are other variables, for example, the ratio of arch (heel-to-ball) to overall (heel-to-toe) length, circumference around instep, circumference around ball, circumference around heel-to-instep. All of these may cause the shoe to fit or not. My advice is to visit a shoe store and have your foot measured with a Brannock Device. The device takes three measurements: heel-to-toe, arch, and width. Compare the heel-to-toe length to the arch length and use the larger of the two measurements as your shoe size. When measuring width, if you have a thick foot or high instep you may need a wider shoe than indicated on the device. Have your foot measured while sitting down because while standing the width may increase as much as 3/8". This would result in a new shoe that may feel perfectly comfortable when first worn, but inevitably leather shoes stretch from the strain of walking and the warmth and moisture of the feet, thus with a few days use the shoes may then feel big and loose. Getting shoes of the size indicated by the Brannock Device does not guarantee a perfect fit, but it increases the liklihood.

Do Robert Land shoes fit like modern shoes or shoes made by other historic footwear makers? In other words if you wore a size 10 D modern dress shoe would a size 10 D Robert Land shoe fit. For most people the answer is yes, but because of the 18th C. shoe styling, especially the instep circumference, heel-to-ball and overall length ratio, and toe design (box, round or pointed) your modern shoe or other shoe maker size might not fit.

Shoe size/width relationship: There is a proportional relationship between length and width of shoe. With each increase in full shoe size (1/3") the width increases 1/4". Each increase in shoe width increases inside shoe circumference by 1/4". The system for measuring length was promulgated in 1324 at the behest of King Edward II. He decreed that three grains of barley were equal to one inch, and 12 inches equal one foot. So the standard measuring increment of a shoe is the length of a grain of barley, that is one-third of an inch is an increase of a full shoe size. American shoe sizes have a starting point of 8-19/32" (218 mm) from the heel, which is size 1. [English sizes begin 8-2/3" (220mm) from the heel.]

Nowadays it's become common see shoes sold with widths marked as M (Medium) or W (Wide). The M can be compared to the traditonal D width, and W compares to the EE width.

Shoe terminology:

Shoe side viewCrooked Shoes - These mens military shoes are heavy black cowhide leather, rough side out, with leather lining, clumped soles, and thick steel heel rims. Although they look like they are straight-last shoes these are made on right and left lasts, ie. crooked shoes. These shoes are like Robert Land's Williamsburg model, except these shoes have double thick soles with heel rims. So if you prefer a lighter weight shoe, or smooth out leather, please visit Robert Land's website. The latchets are 1½" wide. These shoes come in full and half sizes from 7 to 12, in D or EE width, and a few larger sizes (see the order form).


Shoe sole view Crooked shoes come with heel rims as pictured.
Hobnails are not available.

Straight Last Shoes - These are welted mens buckle shoes with a single sole, which is typical 18th C. construction. See Sketchbook '76 pg. 22 for detail on welt construction. From a few inches away these shoes look identical to the crooked shoes. These shoes are single soled and they do not have heel rims. The shoe uppers use the same heavy black, rough out leather as used on the crooked last shoes. Straight last shoes are neither right or left foot until you break them in. These shoes are only available in E width, which is between a D and EE width, and in full sizes from 7 to 13. SOLD OUT

Compare Crooked and Straight last shoes.

Hi-Lo bootHi-Lo's - These mens ankle high shoes are heavy black cowhide leather, rough side out, clumped soles, and thick steel heel rims. Although they look like they are straight-last shoes these are made on right and left lasts, ie. crooked shoes. These come in full and half sizes from 7 to 13, in D or EE width (size 12 ½EE unavailable). If you know which size and width of Robert Land crooked shoes fit you, then that same size of Hi-Lo's should fit as they are made on the same lasts. The photos are of prototype Hi-Lo's made in russet leather which made it easier to see the seam lines and details. The Hi-Lo's that I stock are black. The Hi-Lo's are held closed by a single black leather thong (not pictured, but included) that is spiral laced.

Hi-Lo's were worn by some British officers as shown in Della Gatta's painting of Germantown and Paoli, by jockeys as shown in George Stubb's equestrian paintings, and by some Americans as documented by deserter descriptions in which they are called "half-boots". For the deserter descriptions see Charles Lefferts Uniforms of the 1775-1783 ... Armies, pages 77, 113, 134, 137.


Heel Plates, steel, for affixing to the heels of your shoes, they help prolong heel life. These heel plates are 1/16" thick, and much like originals found and on display at Fort Montgomery, NY - site of a 1777 British attack on this fort on the Hudson River. $5.00/set with proper nails (ie: 2 plates and 12 nails).

If you are purchasing a pair of Robert Land shoes you don't need these heel plates or heel rims because the shoes come standard with heel rims which should last several years. Heel plates are available in eight sizes, heel rims are no longer available. To determine which size you need, please download this .pdf file which has tracings of the plates and rims, and select the size that is the closest match to your shoe heels. The heel plate sizes do not correspond to shoe sizes and are not available in any other sizes than listed on the order form. Note that 7/8 is no longer available. The stamping die for size 7/8 cracked and the factory will not replace it.

Heel Plate pdf

Shoe Repair - Do the soles of your Robert Land crooked shoes or Hi-Lo's have holes from wear, or is the sole separating from the uppers? If so I can get them repaired by a local expert for $50 (which includes return shipping in approx three weeks) so they will be stronger than when new. Your shoes must be clean, the leather must be pliable (not stiff and dried out) and not have any splits or cracks in the leather.
Shoe Buckles - I don't have them, yet. Currently the best source is G.Gedney Godwin Archeological finds have revealed there were two common military shoe buckles, one used by British and one used by Continental Army soldiers. The British buckle has been found from Burgoyne's route in upstate New York to Staten Island. Continental Army buckles have been found in many places in the Hudson Valley and one is pictured in Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia pg 53, top row, 2nd from left. This buckle also is often seen in museums such as Valley Forge N.H.P. and New Windsor Cantonment. Neither buckle is currently reproduced but someday I will make them.


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This site is maintained by Debra
First launched 5-9-91.