How were Knights Armored and Protected in Battle?

The time it took for knights to put on their armor varied depending on the specific type of armor and the experience of the knight. In general, donning a full suit of armor could take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes or more.


“Knights of the medieval era were encased in a formidable suit of armor, a symbol of their prowess and nobility. These meticulously crafted plate armors provided outstanding protection, allowing them to face their foes with confidence and chivalrous valor.”

Dr. Emily Thompson, Medieval Warfare Historian.

During the medieval period, knights typically had a squire or an assistant who helped them put on their armor.

The squire’s role was to aid the knight in preparing for battle, which included helping with the arming process.

The squire would assist in securing various pieces of the armor, such as the helmet, breastplate, gauntlets, and leg armor, often using straps, buckles, or laces to fasten them in place.

MedievalSquire Getting Medieval Knight Ready For Battle

The process of arming a knight was a complex and time-consuming task due to the numerous components and layers of the armor.

Additionally, some pieces of armor required multiple steps to put on properly, such as sliding the arms into the sleeves of the hauberk (chainmail shirt) before attaching the plate armor over it.

The knight would often need help tightening straps or adjusting the fit of the armor to ensure mobility and protection.

Medieval Knights Clothing Haubert

It’s worth noting that knights would have practiced and become accustomed to the process of arming themselves throughout their training and military service.

This familiarity would have contributed to their efficiency in putting on armor, and experienced knights might have been able to do it relatively quickly with the assistance of their squires.

Gothic armour parts

“From head to toe, a knight’s armor was a work of art and engineering, providing both physical protection and an imposing presence on the battlefield. The clashing of swords against their gleaming armor became the hallmark of medieval warfare, displaying the valor and resilience of these armored champions.”

Professor James Montgomery, Military History Scholar.

The order in which knights put on their armor, including the padding, can vary slightly depending on personal preference and regional customs. However, the following is a commonly observed sequence:


Knights would begin by donning a padded undergarment known as an arming doublet or gambeson. This padded layer served multiple purposes, including providing comfort, absorbing sweat, and offering additional protection against blows.

padded armour

Leg Armor

The knight would then proceed to put on leg armor. This typically involved first attaching the greaves to protect the shins, followed by the cuisses (thigh armor), and finally the poleyns (knee armor). This order allowed for easier movement and flexibility while dressing.

Right Poleyn Knee Defense

Torso Armor

The next step involved securing the torso armor. This included fastening the breastplate (front plate) and backplate, which formed the cuirass. Some knights may have worn a separate fauld (a series of overlapping plates) to protect the lower abdomen and groin area.

Breastplate Armour

Arm Armor

After the torso was protected, the knight would move on to arm defenses. Vambraces (forearm armor) were typically the first to be put on, followed by the pauldrons (shoulder armor). Finally, the elbow cops would be attached to shield the elbows.

Left Arm Defense Vambrace


The knight would then carefully place the helmet on their head. This was often one of the final steps, as it limited visibility and made further adjustments to other armor pieces more challenging. The helmet would be secured with chin straps or buckles, ensuring a snug fit.


Final Adjustments

Once the main armor components were in place, the knight and their attendant would assess the overall fit and make any necessary adjustments. Straps, buckles, and laces would be tightened or loosened to ensure mobility, comfort, and proper protection.

It’s important to note that while this is a general order, individual knights may have had slight variations or personal preferences when it came to arming themselves. Additionally, different regions and time periods may have had specific customs regarding the order of armor donning.

How were Knights Armored and Protected in Battle?

Arms and Armor of the Medieval Knight” by David Edge and John Miles Paddock
This comprehensive book explores the evolution of medieval knightly armor and weaponry, offering detailed insights into the materials, construction, and development of protective gear.

The Knight and the Blast Furnace
A History of the Metallurgy of Armour in the Middle Ages & the Early Modern Period” by Alan Williams: Focusing on the technical aspects, this book analyzes the metallurgical processes involved in crafting knightly armor, shedding light on the advancements in armor technology during the medieval period.

“The Art of Medieval Warfare: Armour and Weapons” by David Nicolle
From the early chain mails to the full plate armors, this book showcases the diverse range of armor used by knights and soldiers throughout the medieval period, along with the weapons they wielded.

Knight: The Medieval Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual” by Michael Prestwich
This engaging book provides a practical approach to understanding a knight’s armor, weapons, and military tactics, presenting a vivid portrayal of life on the battlefield during the medieval times.

Knight: The Warrior and World of Chivalry” by Robert Jones
Expanding beyond just armor, this book explores the entire knightly culture, including their code of chivalry, training, and military exploits, providing a holistic view of knights and their role in medieval society.

These books offer a wealth of knowledge on the subject, showcasing the intricacies of knightly armor and how it shaped the conduct of warfare in the medieval era.