Valenki (felt boots)
Shamelessly cribbing from Nikol on this one. I had no idea you could find these here until I saw her post. I used to have a pair of these from Kazakhstan, courtesy of my high school friend Asel Korzhumbaeva (Asel, if you happen to read this: hi! I haven’t talked to you since 1996, and that was on the day my then-boyfriend happened to break up with me, so I was a bit of a mess. Get in touch, would you?)
Valenki are super-dense 100% wool felt boots that have become fashionable in recent years (see here, here and here, for example). They mold to your feet as you wear them. If you were to wear them out in subzero temperatures, no problem, but you can also get them with little rubber mini-galoshes that fit over the bottoms for more-wet-than-freezing conditions. As Nikol noted, you can get them for wicked cheap here on eBay.
Since they’re 100% wool, they are also very, very dyeable. Although I love natural sheep color, I’m thinking I might just have to pull out the dye AND the needlefelting tools and the felt appliquÃ©. The ones I had from Asel were black with white or grey decorations on them. I’m looking forward to wearing these around the house when it gets colder, though knowing me I’ll probably just end up wearing hem everywhere.
Oh, cool! I looked for these for a while last year when I was really into needle felting but couldn’t find them for sale in English. Yay Nikol, Yay Shannon, Yay Ebay! They’ll be great in Alaska.
So do they fit on the big or the snug side?
I’d go on the small side, FYI. From what I remember of my old pair, they stretched and conformed to your feet rather nicely… your feet “block” them.
i bought a cheap pair on ebay a while back and was gonna say that they fell apart really quickly — though i did really enjoy them while they lasted. i then did some research. at the time i found http://www.akaculture.com and valenkirus. i checked them out and decided to go with akaculture, though they were a little more expensive. i went to a store in NY where the rus valenki were carried and they were the same kind that fell apart quickly — mostly i think because they are really thin. i bought a pair of AKAs from akaculture and have had them now for almost 2 years. i’d recommend those if you want them to last long, but if just going on a trip, then perhaps no need to spend the money on an investment.
I love my Valenki! I’ve never worn the cheap ones, but I swear by the AKAs. I’ve taken them to four continents and back again and they’ve won me compliments and admirers at every ‘step’ along the way. I’m writing a blog which you should check out: http://www.ladyvalenki.blogspot.com which details the stories of my world travels in my AKA Valenki. Glad to see there are other Valenki enthusiasts out there.
Yay Valenki! I love these boots. I wore them to school before break and people were so curious about them. My friend found a discount code online for the AKA ones and we bought ours 10% off from http://www.akaculture.com. I think it still works: AKACH09.
These ones last long too
I knit and felted a pair of there boots. I would like to find the rubber outdoor soles for them. Does anyone know where I can’t get these? Katie Cordellk@comcast.net