Mobility in Armor

It’s no secret, metal is a heavy material. So how was it that a Medieval knight could wear it head to toe and still be able to maneuver in combat? In this article we’ll clarify that while wearing armor was not for the frail, you didn’t have to be a mythical warrior to wear it effectively.

When we talk about a Medieval knight we mean the classic-romantic image that probably comes to mind for most folks. That means wool or linen layers at the base, followed by chainmail and topped off with a fitted plate.

Typical battle armor weighed between 45 and 55 pounds which isn’t as much as it sounds actually. Compare that to firefighters who wear something around the 45-75 pound mark or the soldiers of today who can wear as much as 100 pounds of equipment, which makes Medieval armor sound like a walk in the park.

To keep all that weight from interfering with the knight’s mobility it was evenly distributed across the entire body rather than letting the burden be carried by the shoulders or waist. Each piece of armor was tied or strapped to the part of the body it protected with mail or leather covering the joints. By following this natural design knights maintained an excellent range of motion.

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