Romans used a wide variety of practical and decorative footwear, all of it flat soled (without heels). Outdoor shoes were often hobnailed for grip and durability. The most common types of footwear were a one-piece shoe (carbatina), sometimes with semi-openwork uppers; a usually thin-soled sandal (solea), secured with thongs; a laced, soft half-shoe (soccus); a usually hobnailed, thick-soled walking shoe (calcea); and a heavy-duty, hobnailed standard-issue military marching boot (caliga). Thick-soled wooden clogs, with leather uppers, were available for use in wet weather, and by rustics and field-slaves
Indoors, the Romans wore open-toed sandals. However, outdoors they preferred to wear shoes that covered their toes. The Romans made shoes and sandals by fixing strips of leather to a tough leather or cork base. Sandals, to be worn indoors or in the summer, had a smaller number of leather strips. Shoes for walking, for winter or for soldiers had many more leather strips to cover the toes and provide more warmth.
Caligae (singular caliga) were heavy-duty, thick-soled openwork boots, with hobnailed soles. Caliga comes from the Latin callus meaning hard, as hobnails were hammered into hard leather soles before being sewn onto a softer leather lattice. They were worn by the lower ranks of Roman cavalrymen and foot-soldiers, and possibly by some centurions.
The Calceus was a mid-weight, outdoor walking "shoe-boot", worn in ancient Rome. It was flat-soled, usually hobnailed and entirely covered the foot and ankle, up to the lower shin. It was secured with crossed thongs or laces. Lighter than the openwork caligae favoured by the Roman military, calcei were considered a distinctive part of Rome's public, civilian "national dress", which centered on the toga as an exclusive mark of Roman male citizenship. The equivalent for women citizens was the stola, which could be worn with white or coloured calcei in various decorative styles. The calcei of most ordinary citizens were probably a natural brown tanned leather.
Authentic shoes - Late-Roman turn-sewn Calcei
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