The one thing that really stands out from the Vikings’ lifestyle is their clothing and sense of fashion, and more specifically, their boots.
Generally, the Vikings’ fashion stands out, with their Viking clothes known for their warmth, comfort, and functionality.
There is limited archaeological evidence available on the clothing worn by the Vikings, especially because the fabrics and materials used wouldn’t preserve well, meaning that the recovered fragments were small and damaged. Written evidence from the Norse sagas, however, shows that the Viking clothing and boots were of distinct materials.
Notably, the clothes worn during the Viking era was influenced by the environment, particularly because the Viking era was harsh, cold, and very unforgiving. The shoes and clothes worn kept the Vikings warm and protected from the elements during the harshest conditions.
So, what kinds of shoes or boots did the Vikings wear?
What did Viking boots look like?
The Viking shoes are said to have been made of calfskin or goatskin, and according to the shoes that have survived the Viking settlements in York, the styles of the Viking shoes varied vastly in style.
The Viking boots weren’t above the ankle in length, and the boots were often closed with unique stitching on the inside, a design function that made the shoes a lot more durable. Evidence of the surviving Viking boots also shows that the boots were heeled, but it is believed that this would only be the boot of choice for the merchants, as well as the healthy individuals, rather than the average Vikings. Notably, the Viking shoes would be secured with laces wrapped around the buttons and the ankles. And the Viking shoes for men and women came in the same designs.
What Were Viking Boots Made Of?
The Viking boosts were made of leather through a process referred to as the turn shoe technique. The shoe-making process involved the shoemaking process that stitched the shoes inside out before it was pulled out and through into its final shape. These shoes would then be fastened using at least one toggle that would allow for easy adjustment of the shoe size for a better fit.
However, the use of leather notwithstanding, these shoes didn’t last as long as one would expect, and after a few months, they’d have to be replaced. The shoes wouldn’t last more than a year, though, and the soles would wear off and call for replacement.
To ensure that the boots kept the feet warm and protected, the boots would be worn with the best Viking socks. The socks were made using a technique called Nálbinding or needle binding, a process that ensured durable, warm, and tough wearing socks, as well as scarves and mittens.
Viking footwear from a few years later was made of 100% waterproof rubber boots to protect the shoes and feet from moisture.
Just to reiterate, the clothing worn by the Vikings was largely designed for practicality, and though they were altered to be worn in different sessions.