Leather sandals (zubayria)

Country: Saudi Arabia

Zubayria are traditional sandals made from natural leather. They are found all over Saudi Arabia.

Zubayria are made from camel and sheep leather, as well as threads of a wide range of materials. In the past, the craftsperson would likely process the animal skins themselves to make the leather, but nowadays factory-made leather is used. Traditionally, only leather and cotton threads are used, but recently gold and silver threads are used as a decoration.

Predominantly, this craft flourishes in the central region and the north, but it has a good market in the other regions of Saudi Arabia. The craft remains traditional and has not changed much. Since the craft is in demand the old markets are full of shops that make and sell these sandals.

The process begins by cutting the leather to size and forming the main components of the sandals. Any designs that the craftsperson would like to add would be added at this stage. The soles are made by gluing thick pieces of leather to the underside. Loops are placed on the sides and the front. The last leather piece is glued to the sole to secure the loops. The soles are stitched in a decorative manner to give it visual appeal and to further secure the soles and loops. Finally, the leather is attached to the side loops.