Shoe Making in Bali

Posted by Kate Sutton on

All over Indonesia, artisans are using traditional tools to create and hand make amazing clothing, leather goods, homewares products. Every time I visit I am in awe of the skill of the people who grow up within creative families, people who surprisingly believe that creating with your hands is something just anyone can do.
While strolling along a back street late one afternoon, my girlfriend and I stumbled across a tiny hole in the wall shopfront filled with pairs of hand made shoes. I am a sucker for a pair of natural leather sandals so of course I popped my head inside and called out.
Out came Maday and quickly invited us into his shop. There were shoes and leather thongs and boots everywhere! My girlfriend and I tried on every shoe in the that shop and luckily for me, her foot is as big as mine (size 41/42) and not one single shoe in the shop fitted us! We squeezed our hoofs into over 20 pairs to no luck but you could not fault us for trying to find a pair to fit. 
I asked if we could see where the shoes were made and so we ended up down a back alley and in the workplace of 4 shoe makers. They were singing and laughing (we think they were talking about how large our feet are and how funny it is that they didn't have a shoe large enough to fit us) but we were too mesmerised by the old fashioned traditional way they were hand cutting and hand hammering & stitching together shoes to care what they were saying about us.
There is something so special about seeing where something you wear has been made and understanding it's pattern and life cycle and how it came to be. 
As we left the store I spotted a pair of black sandals I hadn't seen before and I whipped out my big foot and just like cinderella that slipper fitted perfectly!
Maday quoted me $30 and why would you even haggle with that? Good for me, good for him and so now these little beauties belong to me, and I have a story to tell of how they came to be mine and how they were made.
Travel

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