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Iceland - Salmon-skin fisherman’s moccasin

Already from the days of the first colonists that arrived on the island towards the 9th century BC, fishing constitutes one of the mainstays of the economy. The above opanke-style shoe is called "skinskor" and is made in one piece of salmon-skin. The raw skin is soaked in urine for two to three weeks and then rinsed in water and sun-dried. The shape is cut in size around the foot and a slit is made only on the toe and heel-part. The slit sides are hand-sewn together with sinew. The sole-part is always cut from the salmon’s back, whereby the scales are left on the skin for better traction on the wooden decks of ships. The insole is made of a handful raw sheep’s wool. For home-wear these shoes were also made of sheepskin, while the insole was then made of knitted wool with colourful geometric designs.

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