Light peasant’s leather shoes. They have to be fixed by the straps around the foot. They are worn all over the Balkans in various shapes, details and colours. Оpаnаk is a traditional Serbian footwear and one of the national symbols. There are the so-called raw opanci, homemade ones of untanned hide, and the so-called built оpаnci, with a sole made of tanned leather, the vamp and the tip, all manufactured in small shoe shops all over Serbia. The raw ones were usually worn by the farmers tending cattle in mountainous regions of the Dinara and Central Balkan areas. In the mid-19th century, Užicе was the centre where opanci were manufactured, called the red by the colour of the semi-tanned hide. Since then, the cobblers in Serbia have been manufacturing the opanci, built type, which initially were worn on festive occasions.
A simpler version comes from the earliest periods of human civilisation. They were an integral part of everyday dress throughout the Middle Ages and the modern times, from the European far north to the far south. The North American Indians wear the same type of shoes, called the moccasin.
From the 19th century, special type of built opanci started to be made with their toe tip turned up. People call them the pointy ones. After the WWII, a new technique was started in making these shoes of old car tyres. They are called the Pirot opanci, as Pirot was the centre of the car tyre industry in the 20th century, so those shoes were mostly made there.