Did Vikings Wear Kilts?

By Phuc Le on Mar 30, 2023

When it comes to the Viking Age, many people think of warriors clad in horned helmets and chainmail, wielding swords and shields. But what about their clothing? One question that often comes up is whether or not Vikings wore kilts. In this article, we'll explore the topic of Viking clothing and answer the question of whether or not Vikings wore kilts.

The Clothing of the Vikings

Before we dive into the question of kilts, let's take a look at what Vikings actually wore. Clothing was an important part of Viking culture, not only for practical purposes but also for social status and personal expression.

Basic Clothing

The basic clothing of Vikings consisted of tunics, trousers, and cloaks. The tunics were made of wool and usually reached the knee or just above it. They were often decorated with trim or embroidery, especially for those of higher social status. Trousers were also made of wool and were usually fitted and tapered at the ankle. Cloaks were worn for warmth and were made of wool or animal skins.

Shoes and Accessories

Shoes were made of leather and were usually ankle-high with a pointed toe. They were laced up the front or the side and often had a soft leather sole. Accessories such as belts, brooches, and pendants were also worn, and were often highly decorative and made of silver or gold.

Armor and Helmets

Armor was not worn by all Vikings, but those who could afford it wore chainmail or leather armor. Helmets, on the other hand, were not as common as people might think. In fact, very few helmets from the Viking Age have been found. And none of them had horns!

The Myth of Viking Kilts

So, did Vikings wear kilts? The short answer is no. Kilts are a type of garment that originated in Scotland in the 16th century, long after the Viking Age. The idea that Vikings wore kilts comes from a misunderstanding of the word "kirtle," which was a type of tunic worn by both men and women in medieval Europe.

Evidence from Artifacts

There is no evidence to suggest that Vikings wore kilts, either in the form of artwork or surviving clothing. We have many examples of Viking clothing from the archaeological record, and none of them resemble kilts. In fact, Viking clothing was quite different from Scottish Highland dress, which is what most people think of when they hear the word "kilt."

Practicality and Climate

Another reason why Vikings would not have worn kilts is practicality. Kilts are not very warm, and Vikings lived in a much colder climate than Scotland. The practicality of Viking clothing was a key factor in its design, with wool being the most common material used because of its warmth and durability.


In conclusion, Vikings did not wear kilts. While the idea may be popular in modern culture, there is simply no evidence to support it. Viking clothing was practical, durable, and designed for the harsh climate in which they lived. Kilts, on the other hand, are a much more recent invention and have no connection to the Viking Age.

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