Multi-layer-sole cloth shoe- Cultural Heritage on People’s Feet

With a history of more than 3,000 years, multi-layer-sole cloth shoes were the main type of footwear in China until the mid-20th century. 

“Qian ceng di”- 1000 layered sole cloth shoe!

In the past, cloth shoes were mostly hand-made. The multi-layered sole, sewn from pieces of cloth, constituted the most important part of the hand-made cloth shoe. Owing to its multiple layers, the sole acquired its name qiancengdi (literally meaning thousand-layered sole). 

“Qian ceng di”- the warmest and most nostalgic memory

Decades ago, people relied on their dexterous hands to make their garments. Today in China, most elderly people still remember that whenever the Chinese New Year was coming, their mothers would take out all the old clothes in the house. By cutting and splicing, their mothers made new shoes for every family member with bits and pieces of cloth. To this day, many elderly Chinese people have nostalgic memories of the silhouettes of their hard working mothers, wrong under the dim light of the old-style lamps.

Hand-made Shoes with Love

In rural China, unmarried girls should not make shoes for men other than their father and brothers. If she does, then it indicates she is interested in another man. When young people fall in love, the girl often secretly buys a piece of cloth, sews a pair of cloth shoes, and sends them to her lover as a token of her affection.

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