Knights Armour – Clothing

The life of a medieval knight and the clothing he wore were governed by a certain set of rules and Codes.

Knights Medieval Clothing

Knights’ Medieval Clothing

History of the Knights Templar Jacques de Molay

Manlet and Surcoat are worn by Templar Knight

While the Code of Chivalry governed his personal behavior on the battlefield and in life, there were other rules that were applicable to a medieval knight’s clothing and traveling style also.

bigstock Woman And Knights 8337984

Different medieval knights’ clothing was used for different purposes. For instance, different kinds of Medieval knights’ clothing were used on the battlefield, in tournaments, and during ceremonies.

Knights templar Costumes

Knights Clothing in Daily Life

There was a difference in the clothing that a medieval knight wore in battle and in normal life. The clothing a medieval knight wore in daily life was less formal than the clothing worn during tournaments and battles.

Nonetheless, it had certain elements that distinguished the medieval knight from other people.

For instance, medieval knights used a certain kind of chain mail shirt which was known as “hauberk” which was somewhat similar to the clothing that Roman Soldiers used to wear during earlier ancient times.

Hauberk Chainmail Shirt

 Hauberk *Chainmail Shirt

Knights Clothing for Battle

A Medieval knight’s clothing on the battlefield had certain elements that distinguished him from other soldiers. The most recognizable medieval knight’s clothing on the battlefield was his armour whose purpose was to provide protection against the enemy weapons.

Medieval Surcoat

Surcoat Worn over Plate Armour Helped Identify a Knight

Various parts of the amour included the Sabatons which covered the feet and consisted of riveted iron plates, Greaves for the protection of calf and ankles, Poleyns for the protection of knee caps, Cuisses for the protection of thighs, and Spurs which were attached to the heel of the foot and were used to spur the horse on in the battlefield.



A Medieval Knight also wore gloves made of fabric, leather, and metal plates called gauntlets. Finally, a metal covering for the head “the knight’s helmet”, such as the popular Helm or German Sallet helmets was worn in tournaments and battles.

Medieval Clothing Gauntlets

Armor for the hands called Gauntlets

Knights Clothing – Coat of Arms

A medieval knight’s clothing could be identified on the battlefield by his unique colors and symbols which were called the medieval knight’s coat of arms.

medieval knight ready for jousting tournament

The knight’s coat of arms also encouraged a knight to fight valiantly on the battlefield as his coat of arms identified him as a medieval knight who was fighting for the prestige and honour of his family’s colors, which were represented his coat of arms colors and symbols.

Knights Tournament Clothing

There was not a large difference between medieval knights’ clothing for battles and for tournaments. Medieval knights’ clothing during a tournament reflected the knight’s loyalty to a certain lord or lady.

Lady Godiva John Collier c. 1897

The armour that the knight wore during a tournament was also quite similar to the armour worn during medieval battles and wars.

Gloves and metal coverings for the head were also used during the tournaments just like in battle. Thus there was very little difference between the medieval knight clothing in tournaments and during battles.

knights tournament jousts

Knights Ceremonial Clothing

Ceremonial medieval knights’ clothing, which was generally used during the knighthood ceremonies, had certain peculiar elements that distinguished it from other forms of medieval knights’ clothing.

For instance, a medieval knight during these ceremonies wore a white vesture which symbolized purity. It was covered by a red robe to symbolize nobility.

Dubbing Ceremony

Squire  Knighted in a Dubbing Ceremony

Finally, the shoes and hose of the knight were black which symbolized death. Elaborate armor and elements such as gloves and helmets were not included in the ceremonial medieval knight’s clothing.

Knights Clothing Summary

Medieval knights’ clothing was an essential element of the life of a medieval knight and distinguished him from common soldiers. During battles, in addition to the medieval knights’ clothing, the coat of arms of the knight was also on show.

The coat of arms was a special symbol that distinguished one knight from the other. During battles, a medieval knight’s coat of arms was usually painted on the shields of medieval knights.

Medieval Herald

A Herald was the person responsible for keeping records and detailing medieval emblems and families’ coats of arms

Towards the end of Medieval times and the start of the renaissance period, there was a decline in medieval knights, the discovery of new weapons such as cannons and gunpowder served to make the medieval knight obsolete and the need for medieval knights and medieval knight’s clothing eventually came to an end.