“Нет ничего более исконно русского, чем валенки. Сохранять их – значит сохранять русскую культуру.” (“there is nothing more Russian than Valenki. To proserve them means to preserve Russian culture.”)
These are the words one visitor left after visiting the Valenki museum (2-й Кожевнический переулок, дом 12).
This is a tiny museum, located on a quiet lane not far from Paveletsky train station, consists of one room fill with boots, photographies and production tools. For 50 roubles (just over 1€), you will learn the history and the process of fabrication of those unique boots, and admire some beautifully decorated ones. The museum is opened on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 11am to 5.30pm.
Some of the tools used for the fabrication of valenki
Валенки (valenki) are very warm and confortable traditional Russian high boots made from wool felt. Those boots appeared in the early 18th and largely spread during the 19th century. Before the 1917′s Revolution, they were mainly manufactured on the western part of Russia.
Valenki are not waterproof, so they are commonly worn with galoshes to keep them dry. In the second half of the 20th century, urban population began to loose interest in valenki, mainly due to their rustic aspect.
To keep alive the tradition, manufacturers are now using rubber soles to protect them from getting wet. They also make valenki available in many different colours, while they traditionally were black, brown, grey or white.
On the right you see the first cut of the boot, which after several passages in boiling water will harden and reach it’s actual size 6.5
Those valenki are more than 100 years old!
Modern valenki, to make your feet happy!
New colours and traditional designs.
“I’m a happy man!”
Ready to follow the transsiberian road!
Those huge valenki are welcoming visitors.
You can also find a small display of clothes.