Ancient Rome: Boys' Clothing: Footwear

Figure 1.--A HBC reader has sent us this image. We believe it to be actual vintage footwear. This is not the sandalia most associated with Rome. I'm not sure what this would have been called, perhaps "calceus".

We do not have a great deal of information on Roman footwear yet. Roman children and adults wore shoes and sandles. Children's outdoor footwear was the 'Calceus.' They were made out of soft leather and were in different colours for males. Females wore the same type of outdoor shoe but it was always white in color. The footwear worn indoors by children was the Sandalia. This was a made in the home out of soft leather and leather straps. [Macdonald, pp. 8-9.] The children often depicted in Roman art work tend to be barefoot. We suspect that many children went barefoot much of the time. Many modern illustrations of Roman life commonly show the adult and children weaing sandals. Often footwear is depicted as brown and the straps fit over the feet and appear to be fastened around the ankle. Roman soldiers in northern postings, and we suspect Romans in cold weather, would wear their sandals with stockings. Note that the Roman term for sandals has been adopted throughout Eyrope and the Americas. Of course the modern term sandals has the connotation as a casual, play shoe, but this is a meaning which only developed in the early 20th century.


Macdonald, Fiona. Ancient Rome (Pub Miles Kelly, U.K, 2002).


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Created: 7:48 PM 8/30/2005
Last updated: 7:48 PM 8/30/2005