Did Vikings Wear Braids? Quick Guide – 2024

The fierce image of Vikings with braided hair, storming ashore with their horns and axes, is a popular trope in media.

But is it historically accurate? The answer, like many things in the Viking world, is a bit more nuanced.

Evidence of Viking Hairstyles

While archaeological evidence is limited, historical texts and depictions offer clues about Viking hairstyles.

We know they valued long hair, with men often sporting shoulder-length locks or longer. However, the extent of braiding remains a topic of debate.

Arguments for Braids

  • Ancient Braiding Practices: Braiding has been around for millennia and is found in cultures worldwide. It’s plausible that Vikings, with their rich cultural exchange, adopted braiding techniques.
  • Symbolic Bedeutung: In some cultures, braids held social or spiritual significance. This could be true for Vikings as well, with specific styles marking status or tribe.
  • Artistic Depictions: Early medieval artwork and sagas sometimes portray Vikings with braided hair. While not definitive proof, these artistic representations suggest the possibility of braids being part of Viking fashion.

Arguments Against Braids

  • Limited Archaeological Finds: No combs or hairdressing tools specifically for braiding have been unearthed from Viking sites. This lack of physical evidence casts doubt on the widespread use of elaborate braids.
  • Focus on Practicality: Vikings were known for their practicality. Braiding long hair, especially intricate styles, could be time-consuming and impractical for warriors and raiders.
  • Misinterpretation of Sources: Artistic depictions from later periods, influenced by romanticized Viking imagery, might not accurately reflect their hairstyles.

The Likely Scenario

While the definitive answer remains elusive, most historians believe Viking hairstyles were simpler than popular portrayals suggest.

Men likely kept their hair long and loose, sometimes tied back in a ponytail for practicality. Braids, if worn, were probably simpler styles like single plaits or headband braids.

Beyond the Braids

The focus on Viking hairstyles shouldn’t overshadow the broader context of their culture.

Their clothing, jewelry, and weapons offer richer insights into their lives and society.

Ultimately, whether or not they wore braids is a fascinating detail, but it’s just one thread in the tapestry of Viking history.

Unraveling the Myth: Did Vikings Wear Braids?

In popular culture, Vikings are often depicted with long, intricate braided hairstyles.

But did they really wear braids? In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of Viking hairstyles and explore whether or not braids were a common feature among these legendary warriors.

Join us on this journey as we separate fact from fiction and uncover the truth behind this enduring myth.

Historical Evidence: The Sagas and Runestones

To understand the hairstyles of the Vikings, we must turn to the historical sources available to us.

The sagas, a collection of medieval Norse literature, provide valuable insights into Viking traditions and customs.

While these sagas mention various aspects of Viking appearance, they do not specifically mention braids as a prevalent hairstyle.

However, it is essential to note that the sagas focused more on heroic deeds and battles rather than mundane details of everyday life.

Another source of historical evidence comes from runestones – large stones inscribed with runic inscriptions that were often used as memorials.

These runestones depict Vikings in various scenes, including battles and daily life activities. While some runestones show Vikings with long hair, there is limited evidence of braided hairstyles.

Archaeological Findings: Hairstyling Tools and Artifacts

Archaeological discoveries play a crucial role in unraveling the mysteries of Viking hairstyles. Excavations have unearthed a wealth of artifacts and tools related to grooming and hairstyling.

Combs made from bone or antler have been found in Viking graves, indicating that hair care was an important aspect of their daily routine. However, these combs do not necessarily point to the use of braids.

Additionally, small metal objects known as “hair rings” have been discovered in Viking graves. These decorative rings were often used to hold hair in place or adorn braided hairstyles.

While some hair rings have been found, their presence does not conclusively prove that Vikings commonly wore braids.

Cultural Context: Symbolism and Social Significance

To gain a deeper understanding of Viking hairstyles, we must consider the cultural context in which they lived.

Hair was highly valued in Viking society and was seen as an expression of one’s identity and social status. Vikings took great pride in their appearance and groomed their hair carefully.

While braids were not explicitly mentioned in historical sources or prevalent in archaeological findings, it is possible that Vikings did wear braids on certain occasions or for specific purposes.

Braids could have been reserved for special ceremonies, feasts, or religious rituals. However, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that braids were a common everyday hairstyle for Vikings.

Gender Differences: Men versus Women

When discussing Viking hairstyles, it is important to consider gender differences. In Viking society, men and women had distinct roles and responsibilities, which may have influenced their hairstyles.

While men were generally depicted with long hair in sagas and runestones, there is limited evidence of braided hairstyles specifically for men.

On the other hand, women in Viking society are often depicted with elaborate braided hairstyles.

Braids were seen as a symbol of femininity and beauty for Viking women. These intricate braids were often adorned with beads or other decorative elements.

Debunking the Myth: Vikings Did Not Commonly Wear Braids

Based on the available historical evidence, archaeological findings, and cultural context, it is safe to conclude that Vikings did not commonly wear braids.

While there may have been instances where braids were worn for specific purposes or by certain individuals, there is no widespread evidence to support the notion that braids were a common hairstyle among Vikings.

It is important to remember that popular culture often takes creative liberties when portraying historical figures and cultures.

The image of Vikings with braided hairstyles may have originated from artistic interpretations or misinterpretations of historical sources.


In conclusion, the myth that Vikings commonly wore braids has been debunked based on historical evidence, archaeological findings, and cultural context.

While Vikings did take great pride in their appearance and valued their hair, there is no conclusive evidence to support the prevalence of braided hairstyles among them.

It is crucial to rely on accurate historical information and archaeological research when exploring the fascinating world of Viking culture.


Were there any instances where Vikings wore braids?

While there may have been isolated instances where Vikings wore braids for specific purposes or ceremonies, there is no widespread evidence to suggest that braids were a common hairstyle among them.

Did Viking women wear braids?

Yes, Viking women were often depicted with elaborate braided hairstyles. Braids were seen as a symbol of femininity and beauty for Viking women.

What other hairstyles did Vikings have?

Apart from braids, Vikings are often depicted with long, flowing hair in historical sources and artwork. However, specific hairstyles varied based on factors such as gender and social status.

How did Vikings groom their hair?

Vikings used combs made from bone or antler to groom their hair. They also used various oils and natural substances to keep their hair clean and healthy.

Where can I see examples of Viking hairstyles?

Examples of Viking hairstyles can be found in medieval Norse literature (sagas), runestones, and archaeological discoveries displayed in museums around the world.

Did Vikings wear any other distinctive accessories in their hair?

Vikings often adorned their hair with decorative objects such as beads, hair rings, or metal ornaments. These accessories added flair and style to their hairstyles.

Are there any modern-day influences of Viking hairstyles?

Viking-inspired hairstyles continue to be popular in modern times, reflecting our ongoing fascination with Viking culture. These styles often draw inspiration from historical sources but may incorporate contemporary elements as well.

Can I recreate Viking hairstyles today?

Yes, you can recreate Viking-inspired hairstyles today using tutorials and guides available online. These hairstyles offer a unique way to pay homage to Viking culture and showcase your interest in history.

Did Vikings dye their hair?

There is evidence to suggest that Vikings used natural dyes made from plants such as henna or lichen to color their hair. However, it is unclear how widespread this practice was among the general population.

Are there any famous Viking figures known for their hairstyles?

While specific individuals may not be known for their hairstyles, Viking leaders such as Ragnar Lothbrok and Lagertha from Norse sagas are often depicted with long hair or braided styles in popular culture adaptations.