Stone Age Clothing & Shoes

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tommi Waters

TK Waters has been an adjunct professor of religion at Western Kentucky University for six years. They have a master's degree in religious studies from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor's degree in English literature and religious studies from Western Kentucky University.

Have you ever wondered what the first clothes and shoes were like? Read this lesson to learn more about clothing types and materials in the Stone Age, the earliest period of human history.

How Was It Made?

When you think about necessities for life, clothing and shoes are probably pretty high up on your list. They are especially important during the winter. You could literally freeze to death without clothes in the winter time in many places around the world today. Clothes are easy for us to find in the 21st century. We can just go to a store and buy a variety of different clothes. But how did the Stone Age people get clothing without places to buy fabric and thread, let alone ready-made outfits?

The Stone Age is the first period of human history, so Stone Age people were the first to create clothing. While they had a temperate climate throughout some of the Stone Age, they also went through some ice ages, making warm clothing essential to protect them from the elements. Stone Age people made much of their clothing from what was readily available: animals. They learned how to use animal hide and turn it into leather to make into warm clothing, sewing it together using bone needles. For thick material like leather, they would bore holes into hide first, then use the needles to sew threads or leather strings through, to hold it together.

They also made clothing from linen, which was made from weaving together threads from the flax plant. Linen was much better for warmer environments since it was light and thin. Towards the end of the Stone Age, people began domesticating animals. Sheep, of course, were among these animals, so the production and usage of wool was common during this period. They even began to dye it and other materials different colors.

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  • 0:00 How Was It Made?
  • 1:37 Types of Clothing
  • 2:59 Shoes
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Types of Clothing

Now that we know how the Stone Age people made clothes, and what they made them out of, let's look at different types of clothing they wore. Most people today have clothes they deem ''summer'' clothes and others that are ''winter'' clothes because they are specific to the weather and climate. Just like you would not wear flip-flops in the winter, or sweaters in the summer, Stone Age people had different types of clothing for different seasons.

Loincloths were common in the ancient world and acted sort of like underwear to protect the groin. In warmer climates, it was common for people to only wear loincloths made of linen, but in colder climates it seems people wore them under their clothes.

In cold climates, people wore leather leggings to keep their legs warm, not much different from what we have today. They also wore hats, typically made of leather, since they were used primarily in cold environments.

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