Siwa Bridal Footwear (Egypt)

Bridal shoes from the Siwa Oasis, Egypt. Bridal shoes from the Siwa Oasis, Egypt. Courtesy Textile Research Centre, Leiden, acc. no. TRC 2008.0491a-b.

In the Siwa oasis, Egypt, brides traditionally wore a particular type of decorated footwear. It consisted of a pair of flat, red-dyed shoes made out of goat leather and decorated with embroidery. The older versions were decorated with floss silkor cotton perlé thread.

The leather tongue of the traditional Siwa bridal shoes comes up to the ankles and is ornamented with numerous little tassels. Traditionally, these shoes were made by the Bedouin in Marsa Matruh, along the Mediterranean coast, but finished by the Siwan women themselves.

Everyday shoes were similar in construction. However, they normally had less embroidery and what there was tended to be concentrated on the vamp (outsole) and toe region of the shoe. In addition, there were normally no tassels on ‘daily’ shoes.

See also: Siwa bridal dress; Siwa embroidered head and body coverings; Siwa bridal outfit; Siwa oasis embroidery.


  • ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM (1986). Égypte, Oasis d’Amun-Siwa, Geneva: Musée d’Ethnographie.
  • MEHREZ, Shahira and Gillian VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD (2016). 'Embroidery from Egypt,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 264-293, esp. pp. 284-292.
  • VALE, Margaret Mary (2011). Sand and Silver: Jewellery, Costume and Life in the Oasis of Siwa, York: York Publishing Services.

TRC online catalogue (retrieved 17 April 2017).


Last modified on Monday, 17 April 2017 12:52