Chamush is a kind of traditional footwear that has been produced in northern region of Iran, and specifically province of Gilan, from a long time ago. This product is made of leather and is worn by both Gilan villagers and farmers. The most prominent center where Chamush is made is the village of Masuleh, of Fumanat County, that is known for its beautiful and unique architecture.
One of the traits of Chamush, that is a result of shrinkage or expansion of natural leather in different temperatures, is that they keep the feet cool in the warm seasons and warm, when it is cold. The Chamush are most commonly made by young girls and women of Gilan, who use natural material that are produced locally. By practicing this craft, which is passed from one generation to the next, they help raise the income of family. An interesting trait of Chamush is that, in terms of looks, there is no difference between men’s or women’s, however, it is usual for men’s to be made from buffalo leather, and women’s from goat leather.
Chamush is a beautiful footwear found mostly in Carmine red, and is made only by hand stitching. No kind of adhesive, nail or other joining material is used to. There are two kinds of Chamush. One kind has a leather lace that is twisted around the foot. It is more popular and is called “Shekareh Chamush”. The other has no lace. None of the Chamush have heels. Since these shoes are made using local products, they are common where cattle farming prospers. Also tannery and leather dyeing workshops are installed as supplementary crafts.
The Chamush leather are used in their natural color, however if it is necessary to dye them, it is done using natural pigments such as pomegranate skin. We can find these shoes in colors such as green, white, bone cream, brown, and red. Sometimes the Chamush is ornated by embroidery, and motifs like “Abatar” flower, camel neck, and “Majma Ghoragh”, “Gol Bacheh”or “Khazili”. Mallets, awls, grommet setters, leather spindle, needles and wood molds are some of the tools of making Chamush. And there is no left or right foot for Chamush, both are the same. Chamush, with its three hundred years old history, is still being produced in Masuleh with high quality which has led to it being officially recognized by UNESCO.