Organic Russian Wool Shoes

Sep 30 , 2021


Organic Russian Wool Shoes

Allow me to take a moment and briefly take you through the journey of how all of this came to be.

I am an immigrant from the former Soviet Union and now an American citizen. I am incredibly grateful to America for welcoming me and my family over 30 years ago. Every now and then I visit my former homeland to see distant relatives and to take in the sites. On one such trip I got invited by my friend, let’s call him Ivan on a fishing trip. I cannot for the life of me remember the details of that trip, but something else did stick in my mind from that day. On the way there we had stopped by the side of the road where grandmas were selling whatever they could. Please understand that the Soviet Union had only collapsed 5 years before and the retirement system which they were told would take care of them disappeared overnight. Some were selling berries that they picked in the forest, mushrooms, apples, etc. One grandma, however, was selling something that I did not expect to see in the summer. She was selling traditional Russian footwear called Valenki.

I remembered wearing them in the cold Russian winter months as a very young child and remember how unsightly and uncomfortable they were for me. I talked to her briefly and found out that she does not make them herself, but she does embroider them with various designs of birds, berries, and even beads. Naturally I was impressed by her embroidery skills and felt her pain as an elderly retired grandma is forced to stay in the proverbial rat-race and forced to resell Valenki in order to make ends meet. Such is the unfortunate truth of her story and the effects of the collapse of the CCCP or USSR in English.

Many years have since passed, but her strength of character and perseverance stayed with me as well as her entrepreneurial spirit. Please understand that all of my grandparents were not alive by the time I was born. Some never came back from WWII, others had died of medical ailments that were not easy to cure or manage 50 years ago.  I would have liked to think that that they were as strong as was that grandma. However, the thought of that traditional handmade Russian footwear stayed with me and I continued to research how felt footwear could have benefits in today's fast-paced modern world.

The breakthrough came once I started reaching out to small shops and found an engineer and designer who had found a way to keep the incredible benefits of felt footwear while overcoming many of the drawbacks.

I am proud to introduce you to Cozyz -- an homage to a warm Cozy feeling of being comfy during a cold Russian winter. Here are the PROs and CONs of traditional Valenki:


1) Can be worn in any season (Winter, Fall, Spring and even Summer)

2) Keeps feet warmer than most other footwear

3) If natural wool is used, it allows for moisture to evaporate (feet do not sweat)

4) After wearing it a couple of times will mold to your foot, like a custom shoe

5) Incredibly lightweight for footwear, especially in light of its warming properties


1) Unsightly

2) Rough if worn without socks

3) Did not have a sole, so during wet weather goulashes had to be worn

4) If worn without sole and goulashes until soaked, even when dried would lose some of its warming properties


Luckily, the engineer and designer were able to maintain the PROs while getting rid of the CONs. This is the product we would like to bring to your attention today. 

What I eventually came to understand is the beauty of the process. You see, felt boots are made from completely natural, green products and self-sustaining processes. Sheep/goats/llamas are sheared (or given a haircut) and this process is completely harmless to the animals.

Video - making Felt Footwear, the traditional way

Video - benefits of Shearing Wool.

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