Field Boots for War Horse
We at Theatrical Shoemakers made quite a few pairs of boots for War Horse - directed by Steven Spielberg with costume design by Joanna Johnston. Most of them were field boots for Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch (pictured above wearing his), Patrick Kennedy, Rainer Bock and a couple of riding doubles. We made some front-laced boots for Niels Arestrup who plays the Grandfather and some slip-on shoes for Celine Buckins who plays Emile. Although I didn't take any photos of them, sorry.
We were also given pairs of old work boots that needed to look like they had been worn out, repaired and re-soled many times, so we ripped off the old soles and replaced them with multi-layered, slightly wonky leather soles, and bashed in some hob nails too. Again, no photos of these either.
To make up for my lack of War Horse photos, I though I would share with you some process shots of some similar WWI boots I made for my husband a few years ago (back when he was my boyfriend). These were a birthday present and were the first pair of shoes I made for him. He's a bit of a time traveller and this was the style of boot he asked for.
I had never made boots like this before, but this is a style from the Theatrical Shoemakers period catalogue, so Keith (the Patterncutter) whipped up the pattern for me...
Upper pieces cut and ready for closing. The pale pieces on the left are lining pieces.
Halfway through closing (thank you to Lenny for closing these for me)
Uppers and straps stitched and ready to go. Leather insoles moulded to the lasts and trimmed. Leather heel stiffeners (the crescent shaped things on the right) cut and skived.
Blurry shot of the lasted upper.
Lasting is the process of pulling the upper around the last (the foot shaped mould) and attaching it to the insole. The tacks around the forepart of the shoe are removed and the leather is glued to the insole. The tacks around the heel of the shoe stay in place.
A strip of stitched leather called Randing attached to the feather edge of the shoe, Felt filler added, all glued and ready for attaching the sole.
Mr B's World War One Officer's Boots.
Leather insole, leather heel stiffeners, leather soles, stacked leather heels, layer of rubber on sole and heel. Excess strap yet to be trimmed back.
I think this is a clever design - the inside leg tucks into the outside leg and the straps go in through a slot in the outside leg, exit through a slot on the inside leg and double back on themselves to buckle up on the outside.