The Rich History of Leather Shoe Manufacturing in Russia: Traditions and Techniques

In the course of excavations at Nerevskij End remnants of beamhouses and shoemakers’ shops were discovered. There were also finds of leather shoes dating back to the 11th-16th centuries.

The process of preparing leather for shoemaking starts by soaking. The hide was then cleaned of any flesh that was left and subcutaneous tissues using iron adzes.

Russian shoemaking traditions

Shoemakers began to use different kinds of baste around the 12th century. The bark from birch, oak, linden or elm trees was removed and mixed with bast. It was then stored. Then, it was split into strips which were used to weave the lapti. The strips were woven with either straight or diagonal weaving, and the shoes were embellished with embroidering or stamping.

Lapti was the primary shoe for the commoner. They were characterized by their simplicity and comfort, as well as the fact that they could be manufactured quickly and at a very low cost. They were used until the beginning of the Civil War in Russia. After that, leather shoes were mass produced to replace them.

Porshni shoes were low-heeled and were popular in the 16th-17th centuries. The type of shoe was discovered only in the urban excavations. They were also made out of rawhide from ox, however they combined a felt upper with a leather bottom.

The leather shoe industry in Russia

The 10th–11th centuries were when Novgorod tanners created rawhide [Rus. The rawhide was not tanned, but rather it was kneaded with fat before being soaked. The leatherworkers used it to create belts, tackles, and a basic style of footwear known as “bog shoes”. porshni]. The symmetrical shoe (left and right) found in the dig indicate that the shoemakers employed a special last to shape the material.

It is important to note that the earliest bog footwear had printed patterns on their sides like the ornamental design of a pouch (Rus. kosheliok, koshelek). It was a popular way to embellish leather. Later, the designs were stitched with silk or wool thread.

The earliest preserved leather shoes in Russia were found in Novgorod. They differed from one another. Some were low and ascended to the ankles; while some were fitted with a collar around the ankle like boots. There were a number of pairs of these shoes belonged to nobles and boysars as depicted on monuments of art.

Lapti was a popular kind of shoe among the Russian peasantry in the middle ages. Old, worn-out lapti were usually hung over fences and in homes to block the evil ideas that a stranger could bring to a house. Old lapti can also be used to transport domovoi, or the house spirit, from one house into another during a move.


The evolution of Russian leather shoes

Archaeological evidence indicates that Novgorod shoemakers produced shoes for all classes of people such as peasants and artisans. They also produced shoes for the wealthy boyars and princes depicted on monuments to art. In the 11th-12th centuries, shoemakers’ craftsmanship significantly improved. Early shoes were characterized by simple designs and embroidery. They were replaced by more intricate designs.

The 13th century witnessed the appearance of soft shoes [Rus. porshni]. Shoes with soles that were flat were found in burial mounds at Vjatichi. These shoes were characterized by the fact that the upper, bootleg, and the heel quarter were constructed of a different leather (more pliable) as opposed to the sole. A lined [podnariad], podnarjad] was sewn between the two upper halves.

The Russian leather (lapti) used in the shoes is a distinct feature and visit the page It was derived from animal hides that were tanned using barks (birch, linden, oak, and many others) together with bast. This leather was famous for its durability, a distinctive aroma and unique hatched texture.

The 17th and 16th centuries saw the advent of different types of footwear in Europe. These boots became the standard winter boots of Russian peasants in the 19th century. They remain a component of traditional Russian attire and are now a symbol of the country’s cultural heritage. They are constructed of high-quality natural leather and feature an asymmetrical last that corresponds to the shape of the foot, leaving space for toes.

Russian shoe brands

Leather shoe production in Russia makes up more than 10 percent of the footwear industry. It is one of the most important industrial sectors that is constantly developing due to the rising demand for high-quality leather shoes. To satisfy the growing demand several companies have emerged in the field of manufacturing leather shoes in Russia. These include the Vakhrushi-Litobuv and Technoavia companies, which are both based in the city of Yoshkar-Ola.

Vakhrushi-Litobuv specializes in safety footwear made from leather and is the largest provider of these kinds of products in the Russian market. It supplies its shoes to Mosvodokanal>> Management Company LLC and North-West>(formerly known as PJSC and Bashkiravtodor>> JSC. It also sells a selection of casual leather shoes.

Technoavia has been in business since 1992. The facility in Yoshkar-Ola includes four injection molding machines Desma, which allow it to make footwear using soles that are PU/PU or PU/TPU. Technoavia also makes the sole insulated leather safety boot in the country.

The company is one of the first companies to utilize “Russian leather”, which is made from the hides of Southern German cattle and is protected with wax and oil. This leather has a rich color, varying from deep claret to sienna. Additionally, it has a distinctive sweet scent. It is extremely durable and stain resistant.

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