The Perfect Shoes

Svetlana Keren Gorzhaltsan


These are “valenki” – traditional Russian footwear. Very practical and warm, until recently, they were popular in Russia’s colder regions. As a graduate engineer sent to work in a fish factory in remote Kamchatka, my dad had to sacrifice his newly-bought leather business shoes for valenki for five long winters between 1953 and 1958. Plain, black and knee-high, but not elegant, they kept him warm in the harsh northern climate. (Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum) 

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