Did the Egyptians wear shoes?

Egyptians usually went barefoot. Even kings and gods are usually shown without shoes (see right). But sometimes the middle classes and nobles wore sandals, and those who had to walk a long way, like soldiers. But if you met someone higher in status, you had to take your shoes off as a sign of respect.

Treading on their enemies

Some sandals have been found lined with linen, and on the sole is a picture of a foreigner. This meant that the wearer was treading on his enemies when he wore them. This was a common idea for the Egyptians; King Thutmose III, who conquered large parts of the Middle East, once said 'all lands were under my sandals'.


Sandals like the ones above and below were woven from plant fibres, such as palm leaves, papyrus, or grass. They were probably made by women at home.

Some sandals, for the wealthy, were made of leather. These would have lasted longer.


Gold shoes?!

The least comfortable shoes must have been the ones made for kings - they were made of gold! The pair to the left were found in Tutankhamun's tomb. It seems likely they were never worn, or at least not for long!


Sandals in the Manchester Museum