Footwear of Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas

People in Central and South America went barefoot most of the time. The warm climate did not require clothing for warmth. However, foot coverings did make the rugged terrain easier to manage. Mayan, Aztec, and Inca royalty and soldiers wore various styles of sandals. Typically these sandals were made of leather from a goat, llama, or sheep, or from plant fibers and tied to the foot with leather or woven fabric straps. The Incas wore an unusual type of sandal called usuta, which had a short sole. As with other garments worn by these cultures, the decoration of footwear indicated a person's social status. The wealthiest members of society could wear sandals dyed bright colors and adorned with beads of gold or silver.

Aztec emperor Montezuma wearing traditional Indian dress, including sandals. Sandals were typically made of leather from a goat, llama, or sheep or from plant fibers. Reproduced by permission of © .


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Day, Nancy. Your Travel Guide to Ancient Mayan Civilization. Minneapolis, MN: Runestone Press, 2001.

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