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Kyrgies All-Wool House Shoes (I Also Wear Mine Outside)
A couple of weeks ago I receive an email from Kyrgies because I am on their mailing list.
I discovered them when I was doing Debra’s List (as Debra Lynn Dadd) and loved their wooly shoes. So much so I bought several pairs for myself and a pair for Larry and his Mom. And a lot of my readers loved them too.
Basically, Kyrgies are “house shoes” made of 100% wool (with or without more sturdy soles). My favorites are the all-wool shoes which I happily wear around the house all day and outdoors (unless it’s raining) and even out-and-about (though they provide no protection if you step on something sharp. The only drawback is they do wear out, but I don’t mind purchasing a new pair every year or so.
What excited me about their email was that it contained what they call the “8 Elements of Kyrgies”. As I scrolled down the email I saw that each element was an aspect of the lifecycle of how they make their shoes.
I was so excited because I had asked them these questions back in 2019 and had helped them put this information together for a project I was doing at the time called Zero Toxics Product Registry, where I listed products that had given me full disclosure of their materials. You can see my Kyrgies Materials Disclosure Statement here .
Every product should show their story like this.
The only thing not included here is the beautiful dyes are low-impact dyes "akin to food coloring for textiles”.
I love my Kyrgies. It’s walking barefoot except your feet are cozy and warm.
Now, I would say this is a Lifely product because they are rooted in Nature:
- the materials are all renewable
- they are handmade by humans using simple hand tools
- they biodegrade back into the ecosystem
- and especially...because they are bringing an ancient tradition forward into modern time.
Kyrgies are made by hand in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, a mountainous region in Central Asia. The making of Kyrgies continues the embodiment of the ancient, essential connection between the sheep that roam the hillsides and the Kyrgyz people that raise them for their wool.
Kyrgies wool felt slippers have a cultural history and a social justice mission. Felt is the oldest textile on earth, and Kyrgies are made exactly the way the Kyrgyz people have been felting for thousands of years. The felt upper, which is the part that touches your foot, is made of 100% sheep’s wool. It’s then rolled out by hand, formed into shape, and stretched over a last where it dries and takes shape. Once set, the outer sole is sewn on. This is truly an ancient shoe.
In Scandinavia, Japan, Thailand, and elsewhere around the world, people remove their shoes and put on slippers when they enter a home. But in the United States, we tend to wear shoes in the house. Skipping this cherished ritual means tracking in dirt and the toxic chemicals your shoes have picked up. There is an untapped wellspring of wellbeing in the simple act of removing our shoes and slipping into natural indoor footwear.
The only thing that is not Lifely about these shoes—for those of us who don’t live in Kyrgyzstan—is that they are not local. But I am reviewing and recommending these shoes even despite this because they are a model for shoes that could be made in this way anywhere in the world. Sheep are raised in many parts of the world, including the USA and this could easily become a regional product in almost any region.
Just as I was about to publish this post this morning I received an email announcing that Kyrgies has now be certified Climate Neutral. "We've spent the last three months working with Climate Neutral to measure our 2020 carbon footprint. We've calculated all of the emissions that it takes to make and ship our products to your doorstep. We then offset all 1,628 tons of carbon by investing in climate change solutions, including investments in renewables, cookstoves, and landfills."
Kyrgies come in different styles. My favorites are
- Classics - made with a sheep’s wool upper with an outer sole made of nontoxic polyester. A silicon grip is attached to prevent sliding (I like the low-back style because they are easy to slip on and off).
- All Naturals - made with a sheep’s wool upper with an outer sole made of chromefree leather. The leather wears in as opposed to wearing out, won’t slip on hardwood floors, and will last forever.
- Insoles - made from the same wool felt used to make the uppers, these soft insoles give an extra layer of softness and cushioning. I like to put brightly-colored soles inside my darker-colored shoes. Insoles make the shoes last longer.
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