This week, we’re looking at a very particular niche of footwear… the armored kind.
Well, these aren’t really properly shoes. They’re sabatons, which is the part of armor that covered the feet. They’re pretty ingenious really, with the flexible metal plates to let the wearer’s ankles flex and bend. And check out the detailing on this pair of Spanish 16th century sabatons from the Autry National Center (a collection of three museums dedicated to educating people about the experience of the American West), which would have been worn by a Spanish explorer in ”the New World.”
They’re not just there to keep your feet getting cut off by some opposing soldier’s sword. They’re pretty, too! This pair is made of metal and leather, but sometimes they were all metal… imagine how heavy those must have been on your feet. Believe it or not, sabatons (functional as they might seem) were also governed by fashion. Not just in the tooling of the leather like these, but in the types of toe caps used. These are pretty short and squared off, which is typical of the 16th century style, but some earlier styles had crazy long pointed toes.
And we thought our pointy toed heels were tricky to walk in!
But in a supreme example of how fashion appropriates from all areas of life, check out these Kangaroos Goon boots and tell me there’s no connection between them and Medieval armor.