It isn’t easy to explain how a pair of country boots can be so intertwined with a culture. But let’s start with the fact that we are on an island, far from outside influences. In Sardinia, the island itself is the world. And this world, this culture, is focused on what is essential. Decoration, wealth, extravagance were cultivated and concentrated on the purest, plainest objects: one daily dress, one loaf of bread - Sardinia is not a culture born of abundance. The towns themselves remain small and contained, sprinkled throughout the mountains and plains with care.
In this isolated world, in each town there was at least one cobbler who would make shoes for everyone. And the shoes he made were almost all the same - for children, women, men, shepherds, schoolteachers and doctors. Only the wealthy had more than one pair of shoes and even these pairs, one for the countryside and one for dressing up, were similar in style and material. There was a certain universalism across the entire island, across all of the population.
Of course each cobbler in each area began to modify and perfect the shoe, to develop a sort of style and specialization which might become known throughout the region. Even today, one can recognize which area a pair of Sardinian boots come from by whether they have a toe cap, the design of the stitching on the side, the cut of the quarter and so on. The Pretziada Boot is based on the Sarcidano, a model that was used in the central southern region of the island. An homage to minimalism, it has a refined silhouette with strong particulars. The quarters fold over each other and are finished off with an overlapping tongue, making the boot water resistant and sturdy. The traditional vegetable-tanned leather has been upgraded to a soft and supple Cusna, while the complex Ideal artisanal construction assures durability. Suitable for both country and city, there is a certain ultramodern quality to the Sarcidano model.
The outer sole remains unvaried - this is the classic sole used for years by Sardinian shepherds. Made from 100% rubber which provides superior grip while remaining entirely smooth, the sole has become the basis of legend. Any modern shepherd will tell you that it is and was a practical choice: moving between the outdoors and the indoors, one can’t be bothered to take off their shoes and a smooth sole is easier to clean thoroughly on a mat. Any shepherd with character will tell you that the smooth sole helps to avoid leaving footprints and comes straight from the colorful history of Sardinian banditry.
Whatever the truth may be, the tradition lives on. In Sardinia, it is still possible to travel from town to town and find cobblers that make boots entirely by hand. A few have created their own inimitable style, carrying on the history of the island. Their primary customers are still shepherds who, surprisingly, carry out their myriad duties in the sheepfold with a handmade pair of leather boots on their feet. Because behind the story of the Sardinian boot is the story of Sardinian shepherds, a story of honor and hard work that deserves to be retold and exalted.
Get the Boot.
Some of these images are stills taken from a short video by Cristiano Abis of Deltafilms London.