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Die Schuhe

The Shoes

Like the leggings, Ötzi’s shoes are the oldest of their kind in the world. The shoes are of a sophisticated design and consist of an inner and outer part.
The inner shoe is composed of grass netting. Its purpose was to hold hay in place which served as insulation material. The outer part is made of deerskin. Both parts – the grass netting and the leather upper – are fastened to an oval-shaped sole made of bearskin by means of leather straps. Unlike the sole, the uppers were worn with the fur on the outside. The shaft around the ankle was bound with grass fibres.

A strip of leather was attached diagonally across the sole in order to give it better grip. Experiments with reconstructed shoes have shown that the leather strip actually does prevent slipping on rocky ground. The shoes are surprisingly warm and comfortable. However, they are not suitable for walking in the rain, as water soaks into them.