During a family visit to Russia, Baabuk's founders Dan and Galina were presented with a pair of "walenkis". These are traditional felted woolen shoes that have been worn by all levels of society there for centuries. The couple was amazed: not only did the shoes feel extremely comfortable, even at minus 40 degrees their feet stayed warm. They recognised the potential and decided to take up this artisanal tradition and modernise the design. No sooner said than done: at the end of 2014, Dan quit his job and they opened a factory in Nepal. Nepal, because the locals are particularly knowledgeable about felt production and they can thus make a positive contribution to local working conditions.
Fast growing interest in original woolen shoe
The next two years became a success - first the slippers, then the sneakers and boots. The demand for a combination of time-tested wool material, modern Swiss design and a sustainable product grew. On top of that, Baabuk received a B-Corp certification (sustainability certificate) in 2016 and the following year they became Gold Winner at ISPO.
Today, Baabuk's employees are spread across three continents. The slippers are produced in Nepal and made of New Zealand virgin wool, while the sneakers are produced in Portugal. The upper material of the sneakers is made of burel, a traditional Portuguese fabric that has been produced there for over 100 years. Burel is first woven and then felted and used to protect numerous shepherds from the weather. The wool for the Blacknose sneakers, in turn, comes from the so-called Valais "black-nosed sheep" from Switzerland - probably the "sweetest sheep in the world". Baabuk uses only mulesing-free wool, which, with the exception of the wool for the Blacknose sneakers, is also Ökotex certified.
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