Grown, not sewn
Your Voyloks come from a wild past, hundreds of years ago, when life in Russia was considerably different than it is today. That said, the way they are made hasn't really changed – local craftsmen and women collecting wool, using water from the Volga and Kostroma Rivers, and crafting boots that keep them warm in winter and cool in summer.
Stepping into the modern day, we've added a removable rubber overshoe to help you navigate today's world (and mud).
The felted wool in Voyloks is created by compressing wool fibres and matting them together using heat, moisture, and pressure. Our craftspeople start with a ball of sheep's wool, comb it out, and begin growing and sculpting the boot, layer by layer. Think of it as 3D printing, except done by hand over the course of a week.
No seams. No chemicals. No bleach. No dye. Wild, right?
When the boot is ready, it is dunked in hot water and dried in a wood-fed oven fuelled with waste from local forestries. Because we don't use any chemicals, if you're lucky you might even find a tiny piece of hay in your VOYLOK. It also means the wool still contains natural lanolin, which is great for dry skin on your feet.
Because each and every pair is handmade, they will also be unique. From variations in the shades of grey, to the exact height of the boot and the width of the cuff, you can feel smug knowing that you've got one-of-a-kind boots on your feet.
To get your hands onto some Voyloks, make sure you keep an eye on your email on 15th February 2022. And if you haven't signed up to our emails yet, then do so below!
If the overshoe fits, wear it outside
While we go wild for our felted wool boots, when things get wetter, we think it's better to slip into some protection. That's why Voyloks have a modular design, with a removable rubber overshoe. Super easy to take on and off, it's waterproof enough to splash in puddles but we wouldn't go wading through any rivers just yet.
By popping into an overshoe, you get rain boots, snow boots, trekking boots, garden clogs, and casual shoes – protected from wetness and the wear and tear of walking on tough surfaces. They are never cold or clammy in the winter, or overheat in the summer.
The best part? When you get home, just pop the overshoes off and your Voyloks become cosy indoor slippers.
Boots loose, supply chain tight
We aim to be as transparent as a Siberian winter sky (or a shot of vodka) when it comes to our supply chain. As a direct-to-consumer brand that works exclusively with local workshops, it isn't very long.
For our boots, we source our wool from small-scale herders in Northern Russia that allow their Romanov sheep to graze freely. This also empowers us to have more oversight and ensure there is no animal cruelty or industrial farming in our supply chain – ever.
Next, the wool is brought to our workshops nearby where it is combined with hot water, and then individually shaped by human hands – that's it.
From there, the completed boots are brought to our warehouse in the UK – where they are shipped directly to you using reusable RePack packaging.
What about our overshoes? We take natural rubber from plantations across Asia, blend it with compounds that give it the stability and performance you need from an overshoe, and then mould it with our partner Louis and his team in Southern China. From there, it’s 80km to the port of Hong Kong and a long, slow boat ride to Felixstowe on the east coast of England where we pick them up.
The next step
The authentic techniques used to create Voyloks have been passed down for generations in Russia, and take up to a year for our local craftspeople to master.
Creating our boots by hand in two small workshops, one along the Kostroma River and the other on the Volga, it is our goal to employ these artisans year-round – allowing them to provide for their families, while doing something they enjoy.
Why? Because we couldn't do it without them. It is their skilled hands that make Voyloks with (tough) love, and we want to show them some love back.
Check out their handiwork below.