Russian Valenki


What's the secret of their popularity? Why is the soul, as well as your feet, warm when you're wearing them? Find out in this new program from Russian Travel Guide.

Valenki, the name of traditional Russian footwear made from sheep wool felt. The technology for making these winter warmers has remained unchanged for centuries. The main secret is in the special way the wool is piled up and compressed with the aid of water, steam and brute force. The entire process employed to turn raw wool into a pair of warm boots can be seen at a specialized factory in Kalyazin. But if you want to find out about the history of valenki boots you have to go to Moscow, to the Russian Valenki Museum. To this day, Valenki remain the best footwear for the harsh Russian winter. Every year, 5 million pairs of valenki are produced in Russia! In different regions within Russia, these felt boots are made in different ways: in Vologda, they're made with long legs, allowing you to wade through deep snowdrifts; in Ivanovo they're made with coarse wool, so that they'll last longer; in Chuvashia they're made with long piles of wool in order to prevent them getting soaked through. Several years ago, fashion designers began taking an interest in valenki - they decorated this folk footwear with embroidery and fur and put them up on the cat-walk. What's the secret of their popularity? Why is the soul, as well as your feet, warm when you're wearing them? Find out in a program from Russian Travel Guide - Russian Valenki.