Roman small boots or perones

Perones are small boots that have a peasant origin. The early models were very crude and made of untanned leather. There are quite a lot of evidence that small closed boots were quite popular in central Italy, and lots of Etruscan frescoes depicts these models. The Roman version is a little bit different, as it has a rounded front with two stitching bands on each side.

This traditional farmer boots were also among the first military shoes used by the Romans. They were in use well into the second century BC until slowly replaced by the caligae the famous Roman legionary sandal. Note that caligae too had a farmer origin. The explanation could be that they were not very well suited for continuous long marches that occurred during that period as Rome fought all over the Mediterranean. One can notice that caligae tended to disappear about two hundred years later when the Roman army began to be more static. There are apparently quite a lot of small variants in these shoes. For example, some have a rebate at the top, some not, and quite a bit have the top rolled up.

The Romans being very traditionalist, these shoes were still worn by officers and higher rank officials almost until the third century AD. Of course luxurious versions were made for higher ranks, and it is interesting to notice that even emperors will like to be represented wearing these.

For formal occasions an open front version existed, most of them being quite richly decorated. Note also that from the rank of tribune on, it is customary to have a small animal skin and head in the front as depicted on a lot of lapidary evidences.

A parade officer version J-L Féraud Mai 2011 AERA roman legion main page Roman wool hat Roman hats and shoes #pero roman artifacts reconstructions