The ancient Greeks felt very little need for wearing footwear and preferred being barefoot in cold weather also, generally, the Greeks walked barefoot. It was only in cases of extreme situations that they wore leather sandals or boots. As a matter of fact, the Greeks perceived Ancient Greek Shoes and footwear as self-indulgent, unaesthetic and unnecessary.
Ancient Greek Shoes
Shoes were primarily worn in the theater for the purpose of increasing stature. In theatre also, many preferred to go barefoot. In fact, athletes in the ancient Olympic Games also participated barefoot as well as naked.
Even the Gods and heroes were mostly depicted barefoot.So far so that the hoplite warriors also fought battles in bare feet while Alexander the Great conquered half of the ancient world with barefoot armies. Such strong was the belief of the ancient Greeks against wearing any kind of footwear.
Ancient Greek Shoes: Facts
Contrary to the perception of the common ancient Greeks, footwear occupied a crucial place in an ancient Greek aristocratic woman wardrobe as an aristocratic women owned as many as twenty pairs of shoes, with a style matching every occasion. In fact, slaves were employed solely to carry a supply of their lady’s shoes when she left her house, assuring that she would be appropriately shod throughout her travels
Sign of Power
The Romans, who subsequently, conquered the Greeks, and ended up adopting many aspects of their culture, did not, however, adopt the Greek belief of footwear and clothing. The reason being that contrary to the Greek philosophy, Roman clothing was seen as a sign of power, and footwear was seen as a necessity of living in a civilized world, although the slaves and paupers usually went barefoot.
There are many references to Ancient Greek Shoes being worn in the Bible as well. During weddings which took place in this period, a father would give his son-in-law a pair of shoes, as a symbol of transferring the authority to him.
Greeks Women’s Footwear
It was in the latter part of the ancient Greek period that footwear came to be used by the common people though at home they still walked barefoot. As a matter of fact, the famous ancient Greek poet Homer, in his book the Iliad, has described a woman wearing a pair of sandals. Like Homer, there were many such poets who in their literary work have often described some feminine footwear.
The first footwear which came to be used in ancient Greece was called as Upodemata which was made up of wood, leather or esparto sole fastened to the foot by leather straps. Kreider was kind of unisex footwear worn by both men as well as women.
The chief features of these sandals being that they lasted for a very long time and were also resistant to the stubborn weather. Krepidoi sandals which were made for females were made out of a softer skin and was dyed with yellow color usually with high cork soles to increase the height of a woman in centimeters.
Likewise, Embades again were ankle boots worn by both males as well as females. These Embades were closed in the front and were commonly used by the comic actors. Feminine footwear was generally decorated with metal applique and could also dye in purple color. An ancient Greek bride usually wore whit colored embroidered shoes called Ninfides while the soldiers wore something called as Koila Upodemata which were robust kind of footwear.
Apart from this, the Endromides were ankle boots worn only by men which involved sticking the leather straps to the leg. Kothari had somewhat of an oriental origin with a thick leather sole along with a soft skin upper thigh to calf and was placed on the leg with red straps. Homer, (the 4th can to a woman wearing a pair of sandals is described
Thus, some kind of an extremity could be observed as far as the adherence to the common belief is concerned as a large section in the ancient Greek society stuck rigidly to the belief while a handful section of the society owned multiple pairs of footwear.