New Shew Review

Okay, new shoe review. Happy, pedants? (Usually that would be me, so yes, I’m happy. Plus, the word pedant — while it is derived from the Greek word παιδ meaning child rather than the Latin word ped meaning foot, looks like it is, so it’s a little bit of a linguistic pun.)

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered three pairs of shoes from [name of seller has been redacted – I don’t wish to endanger or befoul someone’s livelihood based on one bad interaction]. An email from the owner let me know that one pair had shipped, but two of the colors I’d wanted were no longer available in my size. I’ve sent along my color preferences for the other two pairs, and I still await those. Meanwhile, just today, the first pair have arrived!

14th Century Turnshoe in Soft Blue
14th Century Turnshoe in Soft Blue (click to go to the page where it’s sold)

Because I have a wide foot, I went with men’s size 6 rather than women’s size 8. I highly recommend doing so if your foot is wider than 3.5″ — mine is an even 4″ wide, the same as a regulation balance beam.

The fastening strap is a bit close to the leg for me; I think I’ll move it down by half an inch, both the strap side and the buckle side, because of my Very Tall Instep.

The opening is also quite high up, and quite a bit tighter than I want over my Very Tall Instep, so I’m going to cut the instep-cleavage a teeny bit lower. Because of this tightness, it pulls at my (modern, skin-tight) stocking and makes it super tight on my toes whole instep, but I think that will relax a bit once I trim the cleavage a bit. To keep the new opening from stretching out, once I get it where I want it, I will probably sew around it with a whipstitch in waxed linen thread.

There’s looseness around the heel, which I’d want to cut down a bit if I thought I had the skill to do it correctly. As I don’t, I’ll just put up with that. Unless, that is, someone in my area has the skill and inclination to do that for me? Anyone?

It is NOT tight where I most thought/feared it would be, which would be right over the widest part of my foot, the ball. In fact, that’s where it fits the best. The story might be different if I were wearing proper medieval stockings made of linen or wool, but in my modern hosiery it’s actually fine. Still, it warrants a bit of wearing-in before I try to wear proper stockings with this shoe.

The bottom of the shoe is very slick, so wearing it in a bit is going to be tricky on my slick tile floors. I may have to scuff the bottoms with sandpaper so I don’t slip and break my face before I ever even get to wear these outside.

Basically, it’s not ideal for my particular foot, but it’s a lot closer than I usually get, so I’m satisfied… enough. I am feeling extremely fashion-forward, in a 14th century way. And the quality of the shoe itself is fairly good, so I can tell they’re going to be comfortable once I make the adjustments for them to fit my own foot. Now I just need some pattens to wear over them. Anybody wanna teach me woodworking?


After several more weeks, the seller contacted me and let me know that not only did he not have in stock the other shoes I had ordered, but he also had no idea when or if he would be getting them in ever again. He suggested I pick two more pairs. I’d originally wanted this blue pair, plus a red pair and a brown pair. (How do you not continue to carry the basic brown and black shoes???) He did have tan and black listed on the website, so I requested them.

No response.

A full month later I asked him to at least let me know when or if I would be getting them. Two weeks after that, he said he didn’t have them in my size (a very common size, let me just mention), and did I want them in another size? Honestly, how many people request a shoe that doesn’t fit them, if they don’t have the ones that do fit? Never, right? Of course right.

A couple more months passed in which I would request a substitution, he’d take his time replying with “Nope, sorry” (which eventually became just “Nope”), and I’d respond within a day or two at the most with another request.

I switched from asking for this style to another style that was similar but not quite as appealing to me, and said that I knew they cost more, so please just bill me for the difference. He took his time answering back, saying that they cost more, and did I realize that, and he would have to bill me for the difference.

I collected up all the emails that he and I had exchanged and sent them to him, with a CC to myself, and requested a full and immediate refund, stating that if this refund was not supplied within the week, I would be forwarding all our correspondence to the Better Business Bureau.

I got my refund in six days.

I am not going to be buying from this seller again.

Update #2

It’s been months. I wore the shoes for half an hour at a time for the first couple months, but they never did stretch out enough to wear for any longer than that. I took them to a shoe repair person and showed them the situation. Vince, the owner, cut down about half an inch out of the opening, then removed and reattached the strap, tilted so it didn’t cut into my instep.

I’ve tried them on and they fit, but I still haven’t actually completed a pair of stockings, so I can’t try them on as they will actually be worn. I’m nearly done with a pair, though, after far too many fittings and pattern edits, so we’ll see in due course.