Smelly, Sweaty Knights in Shining Armor

Medieval knighthood sounds like a romantic career in fiction. What a life of chivalry was really like doesn't seem all that great. A team of scientists tried to replicate the work of a knight clad in up to 110 pounds of metal by dressing up volunteer historical re-enactors from the Royal Armories in London, and putting them on treadmills. Even though they were used to wearing armor, you better believe they worked up a sweat!
Sure enough, the researchers found, armor was exhausting. The men used 2.3 times as much energy to walk while wearing the armor than without it, and 1.9 times as much to run. Being outfitted for battle turned out to be even more tiring than hauling around a backpack of the same weight would’ve been. As it turns out, covering your legs with enormous, heavy metal plates makes moving around a lot harder.


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DerStickler, Jeff - I'm afraid it's not that simple. Just at the time that leg armour was becoming most complex and fully enclosing the leg, knights were getting _off_ their horses to fight (most famously at Azincourt, but then on through the wars of the Roses into the Tudor period). When you think of the typical image of a knight clad head to foot in shining armour, it is very likely he fought on foot.

Medieval armour - I wear it often - is heavy when you carry it in a sack, but surprisingly light when the weight is spread over your body. You tire faster, sure enough, but you are not really much slower. And tired is better than skewered. I can run, jump and turn cartwheels in mine. But no marathons please.

It does get very stinky, as do the clothes and padding you wear underneath. The best remedy seems to be a good bake in the sun while you enjoy a cold beer. :)
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DerStickler is exactly right. Heavy cavalry armor was used on horses. That's why the legs were covered in metal, because you didn't run and legs were easy to reach from the ground. Infantry armor is designed differently because many more blows come from above than below and you need to be able to move on foot in it.
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Agincourt is probably the most noted example that having an army in full plate was a recipe for disaster when many factors proved their choice of equipment to be counter-benifitial.

Even the Spanish conquistador's ran into problems due to the hinderancy of their armour.

The last recognized peice of metal plate armor for military use gorget, but it's purpose was more "bling" then to actualy offer any protection.
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