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The Production Process

Trimming around the yemeni

Being made entirely from natural products, yemeni are healthy shoes, with each section of the shoe being made from a different material. The sole is made from tanned buffalo or cowhide called gön, and the upper from goatskin known as sahtiyan. The inner lining is made from sheepskin, and the inner sole from cowhide or goatskin, known as meşin. The sahtiyan and the meşin sections are joined with tanned kid skin known as sızı kayışı.

Mold To Be Traditional”Yemeni”
Leather Shoe-Making

Stitching the reverse side of the yemeni
Using çiriş paste to glue the yemeni

Taking measurements for the yemeni
Stitching the yemeni

Coating the twine for stitching in beeswax

Placing the yemeni on a last

Trimming around the yemeni

Tools used in the production of yemeni shoes

Production of the yemeni begins with cutting the leather to the right size, then the laborious stitching can begin. The heel-less shoe is stitched on the reverse side, then turned and placed on a last. After trimming, the shoe is removed from the last.

In order for any build-up of static electricity to be discharged, the shoe is earthed by adding clay between the sole and the inner lining. For the stitching, twine coated in beeswax is used. The sides of the shoe are carefully stitched using a piercing tool, known as a biz, and twine attached to a large bodkin, known as a “köşger iğnesi”. The finished shoe is placed on a last again for 1 day, after which it is ready to wear. During the production process, different twines and threads are used for stitching the sole, the upper and the sides.

Yemeni shoes are given different names according to their colour, shape and size. The five classic yemeni styles are Burnu Sivri, Merkup, Kulağı Uzun, Eğri Simli and Halebi.

The Halebi model takes its name from its place of origin, Aleppo. The upper is indented on both sides of the feet, the toe curls upwards and the tongue flap is long. The shoe is produced in purple or peach/rose, and is mostly used by people in villages.

The Merkup model is used mostly by townspeople. The upper is short, and the back and sides are of equal height. There is no tongue flap and the toe is rounded and flat.

In the Burnu Sivri model, used mainly in villages, the goatskin part of the upper is curled over.

The Kulağı Uzun model is used mainly in cities and is produced in black, purple and bright red. Unlike the Halebi model, the upper is not indented. The foot is not completely enclosed as in the Burnu Sivri model, but is more exposed as in the Merkup model.

The Eğri Simli model is produced in peach and rose colours. The upper is short like the Merkup, the toe is curled and the shoe is worked with silver wire. Village women, particularly brides, generally wore these shoes.

There are also boot models called Postal which are worn by farmers, hillside shepherds and watchmen. The Edik, a short yellow boot model, is preferred by women. In the past, a decorative form of the yellow Edik was worn by new brides, a red model was worn by women with children, and a plain, yellow design was used by the natır (women who worked in the hamam).

Yemeni are also given different names depending
on their size:

  • Age 2-5: Metelik
  • Age 7: Küçük Hasbe
  • Age 9-10: Büyük Hasbe
  • Size 34-35: Vastani
  • Size 36-37: Orta Ayak
  • Size 38-39: Zeğerdan
  • Size 40-41: Ges
  • Size 42-43: Lorta
  • Size 44: Üzger
  • Size 45: Ulu Ayak
  • Larger than 45: Zelber

Osmanlı Çarık
Ottoman Çarık
Zeyna Sandalet
Xena Sandals

The contents of this publication, which has been funded through the 2010 Economic Development Financial Support Programme of the Silk Road Development Agency, does not represent the views of the Silk Road Development Agency and/or the Ministry of Development. The Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce is the sole bearer of responsibility for the contents.