4 / 1998

Roman flexible clog sandal * Roman Empire * 400 B.C. - 400 A.D.

The Etruscan culture (800 - 400 B.C.) was of great influence to the Romans. Etruscan metalwork later reached unequalled heights. The Romans combined Etruscan skills in their shoes like the one shown here in wood with bronze trimmings, using a leather hinge to make it flexible. The toe and heel parts of the innersole were hollowed out slightly for comfortable wear. This type of sandal was called "crepida" and in this luxurious execution only allowed to be worn by dignitaries. Much simpler versions, with brass or icon tacks nailed in the wooden outersole for durability, belonged to the daily outdoor wear of Roman men. Soldiers wore the same with heavy hob nails in the outsole and sometimes at the side of the sole to spur their horses. These sandals, called "caligae", had several leather straps to the upper to be tied around the ankle. Women had more freedom to decorate their crepidae with colours and jewellery. A lighter version with thinner soles and more closed uppers was known as "calceus".

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland