Old World Craftsmanship: The Kyrgies Story
Svens seeks out the finest textiles made the world over. We source world-class products that are made the right way. Kyrgies by Sven are simply the finest slippers you can buy.
The Kyrgies Source
Kyrgies are born of a tradition that is thousands of years old. Kyrgies are produced in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, where wet felting with sheep wool is both a tradition and a necessity. No other textile withstands heat in the summer and the cold, wet winters as well as wool felt. Because of this, the Kyrgyz people have been felting for centuries, passing this skill on from one generation to the next.
The people who make Kyrgies today are paid a living wage, working in a factory run by women, largely for women. Your purchase of Kyrgies helps these artisans thrive, while providing opportunities to more and more people in the region.
Aside from being a green supply chain and ethical working environment, Kyrgyzstan is where we choose to source our slippers for a simple reason: The Kyrgyz people are the best wool felters in the world.
Kyrgies are made from sheep’s wool. The wool in our slippers all comes from local sheep in Kyrgyzstan. Those sheep are shorn once a year. The rest of the year, they like to walk around, take naps, play, eat a lot of grass, and hang out with their sheep friends.
Wool Being Dyed
Their raw wool is brought to our factory, where it is cleaned, then combed, then dyed, and then combed more and more, matting it together. The wool is then weighed, sorted out into each individual pair of Kyrgies, and your slipper begins to take shape as it is pressed together using water and natural soap. This practice of wet felting with wool, hot water, and soap remains unchanged for centuries.
Rolling Out Felt By Hand
Now the felt for each pair of slippers is rolled out by hand, formed and forced into shape, over and over and over. This process requires great strength and stamina, and years of experience to know when the slippers are done and ready to be placed on lasts, where they form into a hardened, but slightly pliable, shape.
Felt Drying on a Last
Finally, they take their form on lasts, where they dry. On the lasts, the slippers are molded by hand a bit more, pushed into form. They then go onto a rack where they dry. After they dry, the felt is cleaned, removing excess fibers.
The outer soles, which are cut out separately from a different piece of felt, are then put through a machine that attaches a silicon tread to the outer sole. We use this silicon tread so your feet have a nice safe grip and don't go slipping around on your hardwood floors. Those outer soles are then attached to the original felt shape, and your Kyrgies are finished.
The entire process takes six weeks, and is done more or less entirely by hand, using wool, soap, and food coloring. It has remained unchanged for millenia simply because it works. The slippers that we call Kyrgies are a world-class product made by the finest felters on earth.