8 / 2001

Ethiopia * Rawhide men's sandal with upturned toe

The sandal shown here is an intricately decorated example of a style, which was widely used at the beginning of the 20th century in Ethiopia and Sudan by the Shankalla people. The sole consists of several layers of raw leather, whereby the middle layers are cut out extra wide to form the earshaped sides, which are then connected on the instep by a leather strap. In other versions, the sides are formed by separate pieces of leather sandwiched in between the layers of the sole and then turned up. The heart-shaped heel is extra wide to prevent sinking in sandy surroundings, while the upturned front enables the wearer to walk more easily with a rolling gait. The layers of the sole are held together by straps of leather in such a way that together with the carve-work on the insole, they form a beautiful geometric pattern.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland