Friday, February 18, 2011

Roman (style) hobnails

A while back I mentioned a pair of Roman style caligae I made as well as plans to make another pair that would be a bit more robust and even more authentic. To that effort one thing I had to find was Roman style hobnails. That's not an easy task. Until recently I had only been able to find them from one source in India and luckily got enough for at least one pair of sandals before they disappeared back into obscurity. I can only imagine being a peddler of historic reproduction hobnails is a niche market on the best of days but someone must be buying them because they seem to be popping up again in a few places around the web. Anyway, I'm reworking my original design to account for a few things I learned as well as planning a northern European brogue style shoe and thought I'd share what these semi-mythical hobnails look like.

They're about as close as you can get, or at least closer, to the originals and more durable than cut tacks or nails, an order of magnitude different from commercial hobnails used in modern shoes. The ones pictured are 7mm hobnails and would be a smaller variety based on archeological samples. Looking at them it becomes clear pretty fast that they played an important role in the mobility and combat effectiveness of Roman troops. It'd be akin to having golf cleats installed on modern infantry boots. Not something you'd want to tangle with if you could avoid it but also a lot less effective and useful now that we have paved surfaces just about everywhere.

They aren't cheap but you can find them in these online stores.

No comments:

Post a Comment