shoes with wings

The Talaria of Hermes

Hermes is considered the messenger of the gods. He is also considered the protector of human heralds, travellers, thieves, merchants, and orators. He is able to move quickly and freely between the worlds of the mortal and the divine, aided by his winged sandals. Hermes plays the role of the psychopomp or “soul guide”, a conductor of souls into the afterlife.

The Talaria of Mercury or The Winged Sandals of Hermes are winged sandals, a symbol of the Greek messenger god Hermes (Roman equivalent Mercury). They were said to be made by the god Hephaestus of imperishable gold and they flew the god as swift as any bird.

The description of the sandals being winged first appear in the poem Shield of Heracles (c. 600–550 B.C.), which speaks of πτερόεντα πέδιλα (pteróenta pédila), literally “winged sandals”. The Homeric hymn to Hermes from a somewhat later date (520 B.C.) does not explicitly state the sandals were winged, though they allowed him to leave no footprints while committing his theft of Apollo’s cattle.

Perseus wears Hermes’ sandals to help him slay Medusa. According to Aeschylus, Hermes gives them to him directly. In a better-attested version, Perseus must retrieve them from the Graeae, along with the cap of invisibility and the kibisis.