Make: Hobnailed Roman marching boots, the Caligae

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Lindybeige talks about these types of hobnailed shoes. And the general gist is that hobnails are situationally great, they give you good traction in mud and dirt but they wreck havoc on your feet when you’re on more solid ground because there’s no cushion or a heel (heels weren’t a thing in footwear for a long time).


Next up, he’ll try to recreate the Roman treatment for that toenail fungus.


Yeah i just noticed the awful condition of those nails.


What are you talking about? That there is some authentic Roman foot disease. Man, the dedication some of these re-enactors have is amazing!


These are just what I need for that Malcolm McDowell-themed cosplay party I’m going to. I was going as Dr. Soren but, hey, why be the lesser of a hundred or so evils?


Which raises the question: why bother leveling and paving roads, and marching soldiers up and down them, but giving your soldiers footwear that is bad for marching up and down paved roads?


I can only make the assumption that they may have had footwear for marching on paved roads that did not have hobnails, i’m not sure if this is truly the case or not but it seems like the simplest answer.

Might’ve been a pain in the ass to stop what you’re doing to switch footwear back and forth. But with the material/tech limitations it may have been a necessary evil everyone had to deal with, not just soldiers.

Or people had tougher feet, especially since they were all pretty young.

That and comfortable or not, you can move faster on paved roads, especially all the supplies needed to support an army.


I’m wearing them right now.

They might also have added soft insole material for walking on paved roads - wrap some moss in fabric or something…

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That is a wonderful thing!


It’s possible, without researching it or testing it there’s no way to tell what the practical issues were/are. But i wouldn’t relish the thought of wearing a sandal with hobnails, and i’m fine being a pansy whilst wearing modern shoes :stuck_out_tongue:

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They’re so… Romantic!


It’s the gnarly yellow toenails that make it work.

Where do the multi-coloured mirrors go?

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Hey, you go marching around stubbing your toes on every other cobblestone in the Empire and see how good your feet look.

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My feet and hands are both much more sensitive than I think most people’s are. I can’t stand walking on grass even. I’d be doomed in the old days - or else I’d have built up a tolerance when I was younger out of necessity.

Make a pair for your five-year old, perhaps he’ll get a nickname out of it and grow up to be a sociopathic emperor.

There is medication for that, works well, but takes a few months to grow out.