A Glimpse into Viking Life: The Leather Shoe from the Oseberg Ship Burial

A Glimpse into Viking Life: The Leather Shoe from the Oseberg Ship Burial

Among the grave goods recovered from the 9th-century Oseberg ship burial, a remarkable leather shoe offers valuable insight into the daily life and craftsmanship of the Viking era. The Oseberg ship, discovered at a burial mound in Vestfold county, Norway, is one of the best-preserved Viking ships ever found. This exquisite leather shoe, now displayed at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway, exemplifies the skill and artistry of Viking leatherworkers.

The Oseberg Ship Burial


  • The Oseberg ship was discovered in 1904 at the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg.
  • It dates back to around AD 834 and was used as a burial chamber for two women of high status.

Grave Goods:

  • The ship contained a wealth of grave goods, including textiles, wooden carvings, tools, and personal items like this leather shoe.
  • These items reflect the high social status and wealth of the buried individuals.

The Leather Shoe

Description and Craftsmanship:

  • The shoe is made of leather and features a simple yet functional design, typical of the Viking era.
  • It was constructed using a wraparound style with leather thongs for fastening, providing both comfort and durability.
  • The stitching and shaping demonstrate the craftsmanship of Viking leatherworkers, who had to ensure the shoe was flexible, waterproof, and comfortable.


  • Social Status: Footwear was a symbol of social status during the Viking era, and this shoe, found in such an important burial, likely belonged to one of the high-status women buried in the Oseberg ship.
  • Daily Life and Travel: The shoe's design is well-suited for daily wear, suggesting that its owner was accustomed to travel and movement, essential traits of Viking society.
A Glimpse into Viking Life: The Leather Shoe from the Oseberg Ship Burial

The Viking Ship Museum, Oslo


  • The Viking Ship Museum houses the Oseberg ship alongside other notable Viking finds, including the Gokstad and Tune ships.
  • Visitors can view this leather shoe and other artifacts that offer a window into the lives of the Vikings.

Cultural Importance:

  • The shoe, along with other grave goods, provides a deeper understanding of Viking-era craftsmanship, trade, and daily life.
  • The Oseberg ship itself stands as a testament to the maritime prowess and artistic achievements of the Viking civilization.


The leather shoe from the Oseberg ship burial is more than just an ancient artifact; it is a piece of history that tells the story of Viking life, craftsmanship, and culture. Preserved for over a millennium, it continues to captivate visitors at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway, providing a tangible connection to the past.