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Footwear for Arctic: Nanotechnologies vs traditions

February 03, 19:51 UTC+3 NOVOSIBIRSK

The new footwear produced in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk replaces the earlier imported boots

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© Lev Fedoseev/TASS

NOVOSIBIRSK, February 2. /TASS/. A major footwear company in Novosibirsk has designed special boots for the Arctic and northern territories, where it used enduring nano materials which can be used in extremely low temperatures, but the North’s indigenous peoples still prefer their traditional footwear - mukluks, and revive successfully the ethnic traditions.

Nanotechnologies in footwear

"Most parts of Russia have cold winters and unfriendly conditions in autumn and spring, with ice and sleet, thus footwear qualities like frost-resisting, warm-preserving and water-proof are valuable in any region," director of the company, which designed the new footwear, Sergei Yung, said. "Technologies and innovative materials we have used for the Arctic footwear will be used also for every-day and special footwear."

The footwear innovation materials were designed by the company. For example a galosh is made from EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), which has very good thermal insulation. The used nano materials make footwear life longer. Producers say, the footwear they offer is equally good in frosts and in sleet: it keeps warmth in cold weather, and it is waterproof unlike felt boots, and at the same time the material is breathable.

The new footwear produced in Novosibirsk replaces the earlier imported boots: it is cheaper, for example, than Canadian footwear for hunters, fishermen and for extreme weather conditions, and at the same time the quality is not worse. The company gave a few samples for tests at the Barneo ice station of the Russian Geographic Society. After the tests, the producer made necessary improvements, and a first consignment will be produced shortly. The company says the Arctic footwear will be on sale in the second half of this year.

Revival of traditional crafts

In Dudinka, there is a company which produces traditional northern footwear of reindeer skin. Its head, Aksinya Porotova, said such boots are equally good for tourists and those who come to the north to work in shifts. At the same time, she added immediately that for indigenous peoples in the north there is nothing else but mukluks. "We all wore them in childhood, never got cold, and now it is the traditional footwear in the tundra. Both for reindeer herders in the tundra, for a hunter or for a fisher - nothing is more comfortable than mukluks. They are light, and even if they get wet, they dry up very quickly."

"My husband has always been a hunter and fisher," she continued. "We sold meet, but skin was at that time of no use."

"Thus, we got the idea to open in Dudinka a small shop producing mukluks."

Fifteen years ago, they were not considered fashionable, she said, "but we decided to revive the art of making mukluks, like our predecessors made them."

"Everything returns to the beginning, and now having mukluks is fashionable and prestigious," she added.

Mukluks are not cheap - they cost between 17 and 20 thousand rubles ($286-336), but the production is not an easy process. Seven people in the company can make (by hands) only one pair a day. The company owner said, the reindeer footwear has only one drawback for producers - it is worn for too long - five to ten years.

Selling produced footwear is not a problem - one in two in Dudinka wears mukluks made by the company. The masters made mukluks also to present to Vladimir Putin and to other outstanding visitors to Taimyr. However, the company’s head said, businesses in the north still lack skills in promoting their own, natural.

"Have a look at the Chinese uggs, which are heavily advertised -the flat sole causes foot deformation," she said in conclusion.

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