Russia is a cold place. To live there, people have had to adjust, which means they dressed and wore shoes that kept them warm in sub-zero weather, in ice and snow even when clothing wasn’t worn for fashion but for durability and comfort. They wore traditional wool boots of felted wool in all weather. One current company, the Baabuk Co. is making sustainable slippers, sneakers, and booties of wool that are stylish as well as comfortable, that will last a long time and support the feet. Their shoes can be washed. They are durable.
These shoes, warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather were fashioned after those Russian boots, but have been modernized, scientifically designed to support the feet, designed with soles fashioned of durable rubber on the sneakers, and all stylishly made. They do not look like the typical wool boots with the seam down the center or the rough wool with little design of most wool shoes on the market these days. The Baabuk Company is found in Nepal, a country that understands wool and produces many of its clothing in wool for warmth and durability.
Wool is known for its insulating properties but also for its presentable qualities in these sustainable slippers that last and look better for a longer time. Wool contains odors much more than other shoe products. Foot odor would be less susceptible to permeating the wool shoes. Wool is known for wicking water.
This Company’s sneakers are made in Portugal where a company that has developed wool felt for generations produces much of the product.Other projects are produced in Australia and Switzerland where disabled people are employed to do some of the processes.
These shoes are made from wool from Black Nose Sheep in Switzerland, a rare breed that spends winters on the glacial slopes and the summers in the valleys. They are a wild breed tended by shepherds with wool so strongly twisted that it cannot be twisted anymore. This company designed their first equipment and made their first efforts themselves because they believed these were the greatest and most comfortable shoes for all.
The felt for the wool used for their slippers uses a small amount of soap and water to lay the layers of wool one crossing on top of the other and pressing them together. This is wool felt.
For their sneakers, they use felted wool which is wool spun into a cloth then whirled in hot water and dried in heat to make the wool matted and strong. They use a traditional method hundreds of years old to develop the wool.
All their shoes are made by hand using traditional sometimes old tools. If the wool is not blacknose sheep’s wool it is mulesing-free merino wool from Portugal. Mulesing is the practice of taking some flesh from the rear end of a sheep when it is sheared, a practice that causes scarred skin that is free of fur and skin folds that attract blowflies that can cause the death of the sheep. The practice is being tested with a new process that will save the sheep’s lives without hurting them as mulesing does. The sneakers have a rubber sole and a thick wool innersole. The sneakers have some trim of nubuck leather.
A new model features recycled latex, further helping the environment. During this Covid 19 pandemic, the warehouse and shipping center was closed for the safety of the workers, all the stock was sent to the mountain chalet and the owners shipped the products themselves.