Belmin Delibašić from Kakanj saves the old craft from oblivion: To judge a man, look at his shoes

Belmin Delibašić from Kakanj is the only shoemaker in Kakanj and one of the youngest shoemakers in BiH who saved this trade from oblivion.

“To evaluate a man, his quality, appearance and everything else, just look at his shoes. The way he treats his shoes is how he will treat his life, work and everything else he does”, says Belmin Delibašić as one of the youngest shoemakers who jealously guards the tradition of this trade.

He inherited shoemaking from his father, who has been in the business for thirty years. He says that “a shoe has a soul” and that it is important that everyone takes adequate care of their shoes.

It all started when his father worked in a makeshift shop in the house three decades earlier while he observed it all and then became interested in all that those hands create. He also started repairing, changing the sole, gluing and everything that this job requires under the supervision of his father, a craftsman – because, as he says, you have to learn this work from a craftsman.

The job of a shoemaker has existed for centuries, but it has developed and changed over time. Today, shoemakers repair and maintain shoes, boots, sandals and other types of footwear, while in the past shoemakers were in charge of making new shoes.

“Regarding the repairs, they range from the smallest ones to glue something, repair to the larger ones such as changing the sole, inserting a welt on a boot or sneaker. As for complaints, as in any job, there were, but mostly no complaints, because my father taught me that when we work, we work with quality,” says Delibašić.

It is not difficult to find promotional material for him, but the most important thing is the quality. The glues he uses when repairing shoes must be well chosen, but one must know what the shoes themselves are like.

Speaking about the importance of shoe care, he points out that shoes have and that we should take care of them and never bring dirty shoes to the cobbler for repair.

“During my high school, there was a teacher who said a sentence that I liked at the time. To evaluate a man, his quality, appearance and everything else, just look at his shoes. How he treats his shoes is how he will treat his life, work and everything else he does. My advice, a shoe like a shoe has a soul, it needs care”, he says and continues:

“For example, you can’t come from the field and if it was raining, just put a wet shoe in and it’s logical that it will loosen the glue. My advice is to surrender to the shoe as much as possible, it sounds a little unrealistic to surrender to shoes, but if you have some of your shoes that you love, you should take care of them. When we do the repair, we emphasize to the customer that it would be nice if they brought clean shoes for repair. If they do come, we don’t accept dirty shoes because that means you don’t value me as a craftsman,” emphasizes Delibasic.

He advises that due to the overall economic situation, buy a shoe that is not overly expensive but not cheap either, because the cost of repairs will probably be higher than the shoe itself.

“Some standard, something normal that a person can afford. That something is neither excessively expensive nor excessively cheap. If you don’t buy a 20 KM sneaker and bring it to me to repair, and when I tell you how much it is, you tell me it’s not worth it. Why didn’t you buy a more expensive sneaker that will last you mate? I call it a paper sneaker,” he tells ITV’s Earth and People with a laugh.