Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Importance of Padded Protectors in Armor

During medieval times of combat, heavy metal armor was the ideal form of protection for warriors and soldiers. Of course not everyone could afford a full suite of plate to wear in battle. The heaviest armors were generally worn by mounted knights while common infantry typically made do with chainmail or sometimes even hardened leather. Still, if a soldier was wearing metal armor of any kind then their gear usually included sets of padded protectors.

Despite the name, padded protectors weren't designed to protect the wearer against blows from enemy weapons. At least, not directly. After all, what use is padded cloth against an axe, spear, or even a sword? Despite this, padded protectors were a vital component in any set of armor. Padded protects were designed to protect the wearer from their own armor. The layer of cloth is worn underneath the metal, either in sets or as a suit. Its purpose it to distribute the weight of the armor across the whole body so that certain sections don't feel quite so heavy. The second layer also provides some cushioning to protect the wearer's skin from the armor. This keeps it from feeling too restrictive around the body. 

An important secondary benefit of this second layer is that it prevents rubbing or chafing that would otherwise occur if metal plates or leather straps were constantly being pressed up against someone's bare skin. Everyday clothing, such as a tunic or shirt, would not be thick or strong enough to provide proper protection. This means that, in the Middle Ages, padded protectors were a key part of any soldier or warrior's uniform. 

The Medieval period was a long time ago of course. Most people do not think about padded protectors since they do not appear often in modern movies, art, or books. However, anyone seeking to realistically create medieval armor or weapons should consider including them. They may not look as flashy as a bare chested warrior in armor but they were important components that provided both knights and common soldiers the comfort and flexibility they needed to function in the heat of battle.

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