Types of Shoes in Ancient Rome

Although the beginnings of the shoe are lost in the mists of time, the first representations of minimal sandals are to be found in the ancient Egypt, as luce Nefertiti in a mural painting found in his tomb. While the simple little shoes people used, since most of the days spent barefoot, there was an appreciation for this garment between the aristocratic elite and the Pharaohs.

The shoe in the ancient Greece

A bit of the same was happening in cities that made up the cultured Greece. Fishermen and farmers had no qualms about walking barefoot and reserved this garment for special occasions. Little by little, however, as there were greater wealth, shoes began to be essential and the trade of Shoemaker (linked to the Tanner), was made a hole in the Greek craftsmanship.

In literature and the fragments of texts that have come up to us we can know what kind of model was the most widely used and even a basic vocabulary.

From the year 1000 B.C. following the Hebrew techniques of tanning, began to make some simple shoes with leather floor and ribbons which are tied along the leg. For works of art, know that they are models that set out today, especially among the Italian designers. Ferragamo or Cavalli, to give just one example, have taken similar, but much more sophisticated, to the catwalk.

The names of shoes of the ancient Greece which has come to us

As the literature is extensive, is also the vocabulary, and to this day, we can learn some names associated with each of the models of footwear this antiquity people used. These words tell us about social classes, tastes and needs. He writes:

Cothurnus. It is perhaps the most extravagant model, but also the more imaginative, since actors of theatre were used only when they climbed to the tables. They consisted of high platforms closed on all foot and part of the calf (to walk with some security). They had a very specific purpose: soar over the rest of the public and which could see the action on the stage. Bridging the gap, they had one point in common with the bizarre models that have used Lady Gaga.

  • Krepides. It was the most simple model and appears in many ancient sculptures. Simpler an espadrille or an albarca, consisted of a leather sole tied with Ribbons that are tied enough leg.
  • Koila Upodémata. This name appears in the epic literature, since they were the models used by the soldiers. They wore spikes on the floor (very similar to the current football boots) to all kinds of dangerous roads.
  • Krepidoi. Shoes closed for winter profusely decorated with natural dyes and tacks. Social status also came to footwear, as there was a model, with tabs, which could only fit a free citizen.
  • Embades. A type of boot decorated Baroque patterned shape and colorful, mostly female designs. When these booties were white passed to be called Ninfedes.

All this vocabulary, which is not exhausted in the previous list, denoting a refinement in dress very similar to that which exists today. That led to a whole industry of hitherto non-existent footwear and a form of complex life, since artistic aspects not only weigh or fashion, also of social symbolism.

Like almost everything related to the Greek culture, the Romans also borrowed the particular way of dressing the foot of the Hellenic people.


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