When I share costumes featuring armor, the armor is often made from EVA foam. Replica Props Forum (RPF) user Beetroot opted for a more authentic material for his replica of a Gladiator costume: leather. He crafted a Maximus ensemble based on the first battle in the film. He made everything from the soft parts (the tunic, pants, and cloak) to the armor. He discussed the decision to use leather at RPF:
When I started this project my plan was instead of spending hours and money trying to make something look like the real thing instead I would just use the real thing. The primary example for this was the leather work. Instead of using foam or some other material and making it look like leather I would just use leather.
He used tanned leather for the cuirass and pauldrons and stained with gold and silver water based dyes. He said:
Some soft leather was then used to combine all the pauldron pieces together. Initially I used split pins as I though the flat look at top was more accurate but ended up settling on rivets that were a lot stronger.
The leather skirt was made of more of the soft leather. This was cut to shape and a seam sewn using my wife’s sewing machine. This was all glued together using barge cement.
See the entire build at The RPF.