7 / 2005

Finland - Plaited birch bark shoe with tassle - mid 20th century

Wherever the material is available in Norway, Sweden and Finland, shoes and boots are also made of Birch bark. Up till the end of the nineteeth century and in Karelia-finland even in the early part of the 20th century, women wore them daily with cloth foot wraps. They were also used as overshoes to protect the more costly leather shoes against mud and snow. In rural areas of the Russian lowlands, inhabitants wore similar shoes called "Lapti" in an oblique or straight weaving depending on ethnic tradition. These could also e made of linden or lime-tree bark. The lifespan of bark shoes is limited to about one week only.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland