BAABUK is a Swiss company founded in 2013 by a dynamic couple, Galina and Dan. Passionate about wool, they have always dreamed of creating a product that combines tradition and modernity, trend and originality.
It all began when Galina’s parents, returning from a trip to Russia, offered a pair of “Valenkis” to Dan. In the past, these Russian felted boots were essential to fight the Siberian cold. Not only are they part of the Russian culture, but also part of Galina’s childhood as she grew up there. After trying them out in the snow on the night before Christmas, the couple decided to share this tradition outside Russia.
The first BAABUK chapter started with the slippers. Living temporarily in Asia, Galina developed the initial prototype. The slippers are now produced in the country of wool, Nepal, where Galina & Dan founded their own workshop from scratch. Handmade thanks to ancestral know-how, the Baabuks are ethically produced. The process using three main elements: wool, water, and soap, the BAABUK slippers are environmental friendly.
Full of ideas, the second chapter of Galina and Dan was to come up with a sneaker made of wool as well. After a year of hard work, the Urban Wooler, “a sneaker that you can wear from the beach to the city and from work to the gym”, was launched. The sneakers and Urban Woolers are made in Portugal. This country seemed to be the right place to produce these sneakers due to their knowledge and experience in shoe making. Redesigning tradition, these outdoor shoes will please amateurs of non-mainstream fashion and will be of great comfort.
The very last project of Galina and Dan was the Baabuk Unisex Wool Boot that was also crowdfunded on Kickstarter. This boot is a combination of tradition and innovation and keeps your toes extremely warm during the coldest winters! Baabuk reinvented an ancestral know-how to produce a boot made of a single piece that is modern, comfortable, and made of wool. Moreover, the Baabuk Boot has been awarded with the GOLD WINNER award during the biggest outdoor trade show ISPO with more than 80'000 visitors from all over the world.
The couple strongly believes in wool and plans to keep on surprising you with new products in a near future.
Crowdfunded on Kickstarter
Both projects were successfully financed on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. The first project regarding the slippers was launched in January 2014. The Urban Woolers, the second Kickstarter campaign, was launched in September 2015. The third Kickstarter campaign, the UNISEX WOOL BOOT by Baabuk, was launched in February 2017 and was successful as it raised 67K (CHF).
Comment from the jury @ISPO: "Tradition reloaded. Sophisticated manufacturing with natural, skin-friendly materials for excellent wearability characteristics."
More on the Valenkis…
“All new is a well-forgotten old.” (Russian Proverb)
Throughout history, the need to cope with the cold climate in Russia’s countryside has produced some interesting inventions. After trying several ways to keep their feet warm, Russian peasants came up with the idea of using sheep’s wool to produce felted boots, now known as "Valenkis".
The production of Valenkis began at the end of the 16th century. It was a result of scrupulous and time-consuming handwork. At that time, these wool shoes were both expensive and fashionable. Valenkis were worn inside and out, and served to protect feet even in the -40C Siberian cold. They are a part of Russian traditional dress that transcends classes – Russian leaders, soldiers, kids and peasants have all worn valenki.
What is unique about how we produce Baabuk : like traditional shoes, Baabuk shoes are felted in one piece, without seams or stitches. It makes the production process more complex but the shoes more durable and more comfortable.