What Did Shoes Look Like in Ancient Greece?

Shoes have been an essential part of human life since ancient times. In ancient Greece, footwear played a significant role in defining social status, gender, and occupation. Let’s delve into what shoes looked like in Ancient Greece and how they were worn.

Ancient Greek Footwear

The Ancient Greeks had a variety of footwear styles that were designed for different activities, social classes, genders, and climates. One of the most common types of footwear was the ‘krepis,’ which was a sandal made from leather or woven materials.

It had straps that went around the ankle and sometimes up to the calf. The krepis was worn by both men and women.

Gender-Specific Footwear

While some types of footwear were unisex, others were specific to gender. For example, women wore ‘sandalia,’ which were similar to krepis but had more delicate straps and often decorated with intricate designs. Men, on the other hand, wore ’embades,’ which were boots with laces or ‘kothornoi,’ elevated platform shoes worn by actors on stage.

Social Status & Occupation

Footwear was also an indicator of social status and occupation in Ancient Greece. Wealthy people wore higher quality materials such as leather and decorated their shoes with precious stones or gold accents. Poorer people wore simpler sandals made from less expensive materials like woven fibers or even straw.

Some occupations required specific types of footwear. For example, athletes wore special sandals called ‘sphairai,’ which had spikes on the soles for better traction during sports activities.


In conclusion, Ancient Greek footwear was diverse and reflected various aspects of society such as gender roles, social status, and occupation. From krepis sandals to elevated kothornoi platforms worn by actors on stage, each type of shoe had a unique purpose and design. Understanding the historical significance of footwear in Ancient Greece can give us a glimpse into the cultural values and practices of that time.