Russian Leather Shoes: A Historical Journey Through Craftsmanship and Innovation

During the excavations at Nerevskij End remnants of beamhouses and shoemakers’ workshops were discovered. There were also finds of leather shoes that date back to the 11th-16th centuries.

Preparing leather for shoemaking begins with a soak. The hide was then cleared of any remaining flesh and subcutaneous tissue with iron adzes.

Russian shoemaking traditions

Shoemakers started using various kinds of baste in the 12th century. The bark of birch oak, linden or elm trees was removed and mixed with the bast. It was then stored. Afterwards, it was divided into strips, which were then utilized to weave the lapti. The strips were made by either straight or diagonal weaving as well as the shoes were embellished by embroidering or stamping.

Lapti were the main shoes of the common man. They were characterized by their comfort and simplicity, as well as the possibility of being produced quickly and at a very low cost. They were worn until the start of the Russian Civil War. Following that, leather shoes were mass produced to replace them.

In the 16th-17th centuries, there was another type of footwear that was popular among ordinary people — porshni, which were low shoes. The remains of this kind of footwear have been discovered in urban excavation layers but were rarely found on the ground. The shoes were constructed from rawhide ox but they also featured a felt top as well as the sole was made of leather.

The leather shoe industry in Russia

In the 11th and 10th century, Novgorod’s tanners made rawhide. syromiatnaia, syromjatnaja], that was not tanned, but made into a paste and then was soaked in fat. With it, leatherworkers created tackles, belts and a basic form of footwear called “bog shoes” [Rus. porshni]. Based on the symmetrical models of these shoes that were found in excavations (for the left and right foot) the shoemakers formed the material on a special last.

It is important to note that the first bog shoes had printed patterns on their sides, similar to the ornamental designs on pouches (Rus. kosheliok, koshelek). It was a very popular method to decorate leather. Later, the patterns were stitched with silk or wool thread.

The oldest leather shoes in Russia were discovered in Novgorod. The shoes were different: some were very low and only reached the ankles, others had a collar that was affixed to the ankle, similar to boots. They were worn by the aristocratic class, boysars, and other characters depicted in monuments.

Lapti were a very popular type of footwear worn by the peasant population of medieval Russia. Old, ragged lapti used to be hung on fences or inside houses to ward off the evil spirits that an unwelcome guest might bring. Additionally the old lapti were often used to transport domovoi (house spirit) from one house to the next when the family moved.


The evolution of Russian leather footwear

The evidence from archaeology suggests that Novgorod shoemakers produced shoes for all classes of citizens, including artisans and peasants. They also made footwear for wealthy boys and princes depicted in monuments of art. The shoemakers’ craft improved noticeably between the 11th and 12th century. Early shoes were distinguished by smaller embroidery and carvings. They were replaced by more intricate designs.

The 13th century was when soft shoes were introduced (Rus. porshni]. In Vjatichi burial grounds, remains of shoes with flat soles were discovered. These shoes were characterized by the feature that the upper, bootleg, and the heel quarter were made of a different leather (more flexible) as opposed to the sole. Between these two halves of the shoe, a lining [podnariad or podnarjad] is stitched.

The Russian leather (lapti) that is used in these shoes is an distinctive feature visit this website It was made from animal hides that were tanned by using barks (birch, linden, oak, and others) along with bast. This leather had a long lifespan, an unforgettable scent, and an unusual hatched surface.

In the 16th and 17th centuries new types of footwear were introduced in Europe (valenki). These boots became the standard winter shoes of Russian peasants in the 19th century. They are still a part of the traditional Russian attire and are now a symbol of the country’s cultural heritage. They are made from high quality natural leather and have an asymmetrical final that corresponds to the feet’s posture and provides room for toes.

Russian leather shoe brands

Leather shoe production in Russia makes up more than 10% of the industry for footwear. The increasing demand for shoes made of leather that are high quality has made this one of Russia’s most vital industries. To satisfy this growing demand, several companies within the leather shoe industry have sprung up in Russia. This includes the Vakhrushi-Litobuv as well as Technoavia companies, which are both based in Yoshkar Ola.

Vakhrushi-Litobuv is a specialist in safety footwear made of leather and is the most prominent manufacturer of these products in the Russian market. It delivers its products to Mosvodokanal>> Management Company LLC, North-West>> PJSC and the Bashkiravtodor>> JSC enterprises. The company also sells an extensive selection of casual leather shoes.

Technoavia has been in business since the year 1992. The plant in Yoshkar-Ola is outfitted with four Desma injection molding machines, which allow it to make footwear with PU/PU or PU/TPU bottoms. Technoavia is also the only manufacturer of an leather safety boot that is insulated the nation.

The company has been a pioneer of using “Russian leather”, which is made from the hides of Southern German cattle and is sealed with oil and wax. The leather is a rich, deep color that ranges from sienna to deep claret. It also has a distinctive sweet scent. It is extremely robust and resistant to staining.