The shoes, which were discovered during an annual excavation of the Vindolanda Roman fort in England, have been making headlines — but not just because they’re nearly 2,000 years old. Instead, it’s the shoes’ similarity to the discontinued Adidas Predator football cleat that has people talking.
Although the Roman shoes in question weren’t used for athletic purposes, a Vindolanda employee says that the similarities to the Adidas cleats go beyond what’s on the surface.
“The Roman shoe was meant to be worn indoors so that you did not bring the mud from outside inside,” said Dr. Andrew Birley, director of excavations at Vindolanda. “It offered comfort and flexibility and its similarity to the Predator shows that although the Romans did not have the benefit of playing football, good design stands the test of time.”
The comparisons between the forgotten footwear and the long-running Adidas franchise stem from the lines that flow across the uppers of each design.
More than 400 shoes were discovered during the 2016 excavation, and 7,000 have been found since the digs at Vindolanda started. Of the 7,000, only 150 are on display at Vindolanda, as the expenses of preserving and displaying the shoes has become too costly.
To remedy this, Vindolanda is asking for donations that will allow them to better handle the growing number of shoes. For more information, visit Vindolanda.com.