Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lapti - or Bast Shoes

Since I was on the topic of Valenki boots, I remembered another kind of foot wear I heard
about reading Tolstoys' books. Peasants used to wear lapti, even in winter, when they would wrap their feet up with cloth.
I never knew exactly what Lapti looked like so I decided to look it up and came up with this picture from Google.

Apparently they were very comfortable but I could never see them being worn in winter. I could see the Dutch wooden shoes being worn in winter before these.

Lapti were made from bast of linden or birch bark or some other tree materials. To make them, 7 pieces of 2 meter long bast was needed. They took a wooden plank the size of a woman’s or man’s foot and then bent and twisted the bast, until lapti were ready. The technique is the same as in the modern bread basket, only more complicated.I wonder if our American Indians made them or did they stick to leather and fur?

The bast shoes didn’t last very long. 60 pairs could be used in 1 year. To wear lapti you had to use a foot wrap. People wrapped a piece of cloth around their foot and lower part of the leg, then put on bast shoes and wrapped these sort of bast braids that were attached to the back of lapti around their legs. It was similar to what ancient Romans wore. I can see the need for a foot wrap before putting them on. Otherwise you would end up with huge blisters. So why do they say they are comfortable?

Nowadays, lapti are a part of Russian folklore: childrens' folk stories mention them, and in the colloquial language lapotnik means an uneducated person. Maybe that’s because lapti were mostly worn by peasants, who were thought of as stupid.Then again, how are you stupid if you could design a pair of shoes like this? It's Ingenious.

Bast shoes are not worn now, except for some dance or theatrical performance. They are still available as souvenirs in Russia.

Interesting. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Nothing is impossible


Two Mexicans are stuck in the desert after
crossing into the United States, wandering
aimlessly and starving.
They are about to just
lie down and wait for death, when all of a sudden Luis says...

"Hey Pepe, do you smell what I smell. Ees bacon, I theenk."

"Si, Luis, eet sure smells like bacon.
With renewed hope they struggle up the next sand
dune, & there, in the distance, is a tree loaded with bacon.
There's raw bacon, there's fried bacon, back
bacon, and double smoked bacon ... Every imaginable kind of cured pork.

"Pepe, Pepe, we ees saved. Ees a bacon tree."

"Luis, maybe ees a meerage? We ees in the desert don't forget."

"Pepe, since when deed you ever hear of a
meerage that smell like bacon...ees no meerage, ees a bacon tree."

And with that, Luis staggers towards the
tree. He gets to within 5 metres, Pepe crawling
close behind, when suddenly a machine gun opens
up, and Luis drops like a wet sock.

Mortally wounded, he warns Pepe with his dying breath,
"Pepe... Go back man, you was right, ees not a bacon tree!"

"Luis, Luis mi amigo... What ees it? "
"Pepe… ees not a bacon tree. Ees




a ham bush..."


Akelamalu said...

They look pretty but I can't see them being very comfortable.

A Lady's Life said...

Akelamalu - You are soo right.
Can you imagine people wearing them in winter?

Mama Zen said...

I've never seen a pair of those before.

A Lady's Life said...

Mama zen neither have I lol
Imagine wearing a basket on your feet.

George said...

Somehow I can't imagine these shoes being comfortable, but I guess they could be readily made from the materials at hand.

A Lady's Life said...

George yes I agree but this is why they said that they wrap the feet in material before putting them on.
I always thought lapti were shoes made by wrapping cloth over ones legs, sorta like a cast is wrapped.
but I guess they also wore these shoes. over the wrapping.lol
I would much rather wear the Dutch wooden shoes. They are very comfortable and I bet healthier to wear than rubber.