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Kalash or Giveh (espadrille) of Kurdistan


Giveh is the traditional espadrille of Iran that local people of Kordestan call “Kalash”. Kalash has become a part of daily life and culture of Kordestan and it is very popular in cities such as Marivan.

There are very few documents about the history of Kalash but Kord people believe it to be thousands of years old. Some researcher cites poems of Shahnameh (Book of Kings) which narrate that Giv, one of the most famous heroes of Shahnameh, went to Torkestan to return Siavash. a legendary Iranian prince, and his mother. He wandered for seven years and since he needed a light and durable footwear for his long journey on foot, he invented Giveh. From then anyone who needs a similar footwear, chooses Giveh. Giveh has undergone many changes in time. But it is the only traditional footwear of Iran that is made in provinces with hot desert or mountainous climate. In fact, it is a summer shoe because rain and water damage its sole.  

One feature of Giveh is that it does not have a left or right foot, both are the same. Another is that kinds of Giveh are determined based on: 1. material used 2. method of production. Upper of the Giveh is woven either by cotton or silk. The upper is very significant in beauty and shape of this espadrille, therefore, it is very important to choose the right yarn. The smoother and finer yarn, the more beautiful and durable footwear. The sole of Giveh can be divided into four kinds 1. Textile sole 2. Ajideh (a combination of cotton and layers of leather) sole 3. Leather sole 4. Plastic and ready-made sole. To make Giveh, three groups work together.

The first are the ones who weave the upper using yarn and needle. It is usually done by women. Second are the ones who make the sole. And the third are the people who sew the upper and the sole together. Almost all the material used in making Giveh are natural. Kalash is so important for the Kord people that it is only used on special occasions such as weddings. World Crafts Council has chosen Marivan as the international city of Kalash.

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