Russian folk footwear Lapti

Russian folk footwear Lapti in painting. 'Husband lapti weaves, wife spins a yarn' (the first half of the 19th century, author unknown)

Russian folk footwear Lapti in painting. ‘Husband lapti weaves, wife spins a yarn’ (the first half of the 19th century, author unknown)

Everyone in Russia knows what lapti (plural) are. Russian folk footwear Lapti (Bast shoes) are part of the national costume, national footwear. They are made of special fibers – from the bark of a tree, and quite adapted to the shape of the foot. Braided sandals, worn by peasant population not only of Russia, they were shoes for Finnish peoples, the Balts and the Slavs. It is believed that they are easy to make. Lapti have been used since prehistoric times: they were found in the excavations of Neolithic. In Russian and Belarusian villages lapti were worn even in the early 20 th century.

Russian folk footwear Lapti

Russian folk footwear Lapti

Lapti weaving was considered an easy job. No wonder there is a saying about the drunk man that he “does not weave bark” This means that a person is so drunk that can not do elementary thing.

Russian folk footwear Lapti

Russian folk footwear Lapti

Lapti were woven from bast, birch bark and leather straps. The most beautiful were considered lapti of elm bast, and the most shameful – from willow bark. Lapti from tala bark were called “shelyuzhniki” and from oak bark “duboviki” (oak is ‘dub’ in Russian). Lapti of hemp rope, tow were called chuni and worn in hot dry weather. In Kursk province lapti were made of straw, which were stronger, did not get wet and frozen.

Russian folk footwear Lapti

Russian folk footwear Lapti

In different regions lapti were weaved differently. Russian lapti feature a rounded toe, very low and high bumpers backdrop, on top of that made a hole for the Equi. The sole was made in two or three layers for strength. Ancient vyatichi and Novgorod Slavs preferred lapti bias binding of birch bark and lower bumpers.

Russian family weaves lapti

Russian family weaves lapti

Some braided lapti bast four (quadrangle), five strips of bast (pyateriki), the other six (Shesterikov) or seven (Semerikov). It was important both – to properly weave Lapti and to wear them. That’s what needed to do: 1. Wrap your feet in a linen footcloths. 2. Wear lapti. 3. Secure lapti with leather rope.

How to wear lapti

How to wear lapti

Frau Macht Strohschuhe weaving straw Swiss bast shoes

Frau Macht Strohschuhe weaving straw Swiss bast shoes

Gely Korzhev - Chuvelev. Flyer Yegor

Gely Korzhev – Chuvelev. Flyer Yegor

Khohloma and lapti. Artist Gely Korzhev - Chuvelev

Khohloma and lapti. Artist Gely Korzhev – Chuvelev

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky (Russian, 1868 - 1945) 'At a class door', 1897

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky (Russian, 1868 – 1945) ‘At a class door’, 1897

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky (Russian, 1868 - 1945) 'Mental calculation. Folk School of SA Rachinsky', 1895

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky (Russian, 1868 – 1945) ‘Mental calculation. Folk School of SA Rachinsky’, 1895

Pavel Wolfson (Russia, 1955), 'Meeting with the past'

Pavel Wolfson (Russia, 1955), ‘Meeting with the past’

Peasant wearing lapti

Peasant wearing lapti

Peasants of Penza province

Peasants of Penza province

Peasants of Penza province

Peasants of Penza province

Peasants of Pskov province. 1844. Artist Solntseva

Peasants of Pskov province. 1844. Artist Solntseva

Peasants of Smolensk province. 1844. Artist Solntseva

Peasants of Smolensk province. 1844. Artist Solntseva

Peasants of Vitebsk province. 1844. Artist Solntseva

Russian folk footwear Lapti. Peasants of Vitebsk province. 1844. Artist Solntseva

Pskov province, 1836. Artist Solntseva

Pskov province, 1836. Artist Solntseva

Russian folk footwear Lapti in Lubok drawing

Russian folk footwear Lapti in Lubok drawing

Tambov province peasants

Russian folk footwear Lapti. Tambov province peasants

Trading lapti on the market in the village of Mordovia. Photo from the archives of Mordovia regional museum, 1926

Trading lapti on the market in the village of Mordovia. Photo from the archives of Mordovia regional museum, 1926

West Polesie. End of XIX - early XX century. Youth clothing Residents Pinsk province

West Polesie. End of XIX – early XX century. Youth clothing Residents Pinsk province

Alexey Venetsianov (18 February 1780–4 January 1847) Sleeping Shepherd, 1823-24

Alexey Venetsianov (18 February 1780–4 January 1847) Sleeping Shepherd, 1823-24

Russian folk footwear Lapti. Key ring Lapti

Key ring Lapti

Caricature on a peasant walking in lapti along the street in St. Petersburg

Caricature on a peasant walking in lapti along the street in St. Petersburg

Russian folk footwear Lapti

Russian folk footwear Lapti

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