The Elements of Kyrgies
We keep our recipe for Kyrgies simple. 8 elements combined to make one perfect pair of house shoes. Craftsmanship this precise calls for the best materials and the best practices, and each pair is shaped by a process honed over generations by Kyrgyzstan's traditional felters. There, wool is the material of life, used to build homes, to clothe families, and yes, to create shoes. Our Kyrgies use their minimalist approach, combining quality materials and workmanship to create a beautiful house shoe, made to last.
The Kyrgies process begins at the source with raw wool that is collected from family-run farms across Kyrgyzstans's vast and mountainous country. Kyrgyz wool is ideally suited for felting due to the especially long fibers found on its sheep.
Wool felt is created by four things—moisture, heat, agitation and soap. In our felting process, we use a natural, cottonseed oil soap to shrink and condense the fabric. The result is a warm, durable sheet of felt ready for cutting and shaping.
The power of water is an essential element to our Kyrgies’ recipe. It shrinks and condenses our carded wool, taking it from loose, airy fibers to a compacted, thick wool felt. It’s water that makes our house shoes durable and warm—a simple ingredient that results in an amazing transformation.
Breathable, warm, and moisture-wicking, our wool felt doesn’t fray or pill. Once finished, our wool felt has a smooth, buttery finish ideal for hand-sewing.
At Kyrgies, we have a mantra—not one gram of wool is wasted. As we handcut our wool felt into the perfect shape, we make sure that all of our materials have a purpose. All of our wool remnants are saved and used as residential insulation.
Every foot is different. And each pair of Kyrgies will break in and mold to your feet with wear. But all of our house shoes start with a last— a foot-shaped form that helps us create Kyrgies’ comfortable shape and fit. What you do to make them yours is up to you!
(Disclaimer: No kyrgies were injured in the making of this post.) When we say Kyrgies take a beating, we mean it. The wool used in our felt house shoes is cleaned, pulled and pressed, cut, sewn and soaked, and finally shrunk, dried and beaten into shape over a mold. All those mallets= one durable house shoe.
We want our house shoes to wear like iron. So for our leather soles, we use the natural extracts of mimosa and quebracho (“axe breaker”) trees in the tanning process for durability and comfort. Hardwood tree essence equals two tough soles!
Finally, we sew it all together. Felt body and outsoles come together in the final stage of our handmade process. How we make shoes is how the Kyrgies people have made shoes for millennia: with care, and with craftsmanship, simply because it works.