Valenki or Russian felt boots used to be very popular in winter. They're not so widespread today in big cities but are still common in the countryside. Valenki are among the warmest footwear that can be used in severe winters, today valenki are usually worn by little kids.
The name of the boots literally means "made by felting". They do not resist water; if the weather is slushy they are usually worn with rubber over boots. The tradition of making valenki was borrowed from Mongol tribes, but until 19th century they were quite expensive and only wealthy people could afford to wear them. Even tsars and tsarinas liked to wear valenki in winter, it's know that empresses Catherine II and Anna Ivanovna had valenki to match their luxurious ball gown.
During your Moscow tour
you can visit the museum of valenki and lear more interesting facts about the Russian felt boots. The biggest valenki ever made is of the size 130 and the smallest are only 0,9 mm long.
Today in Russia you can see not only dark brown or grey felt boots but also numerous designers' valenki that differ in style, color and shape. Valenki may be decorated with fur, painting, lace, curly crop and many other elements that make them not only convenient and useful, but also extremely beautiful and stylish.