WALK­ING

Whanganui Chronicle - - Family Notices | Local Classifieds -

As freez­ing tem­per­a­tures set in, Rus­sians are re­dis­cov­er­ing an old win­ter sta­ple — felt boots called valenki.

Valenki are tra­di­tional win­ter footwear in Rus­sia, prized for their abil­ity to en­dure frosty con­di­tions and a dry win­ter, which is typ­i­cal for most of the coun­try.

Dat­ing back to the times of no­mads in the windy steppes of south­ern Rus­sia, valenki didn’t be­come wide­spread un­til the 19th cen­tury, when they started be­ing pro­duced on an in­dus­trial scale. They were quickly adopted by all classes and ev­ery­one wore wear­ing valenki — from the czar to the peas­ant in the most re­mote vil­lage. The felt boots, how­ever, went out of fash­ion in the 1950s, when Rus­sians got wider ac­cess to warm, West­ern-style footwear.

These days, Rus­sians still wear valenki on trips in the coun­try­side, and one can spot a pair of “de­signer valenki” on a cold day in Moscow. The Rus­sian mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment per­son­nel still get them as part of their stan­dard gear.

A re­cent ex­hi­bi­tion in the Rus­sian cap­i­tal dis­played his­tor­i­cal footwear, like the valenki worn by Mar­shal Ge­orgy Zhukov as he led Soviet forces through­out World War II.

Dolls dressed in valenki, tra­di­tional Rus­sian footwear, are dis­played next to a photo of Red Army soldiers dur­ing world War II.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.