We don’t know if this label is the next evolution in sustainable footwear, but at least Voylok’s boots have a long tradition being inspired by Russian ‘valenki’ felt boots that have been made and worn by families in the North for over a century. They started slipping out of public consciousness – until now. Today’s Voylok boots are basically made with wool and hot water. There are no seams or stitches, no dyes and therefore no waste.
Each pair comes with a rubber overshoe that can be slipped on and off, making Voyloks suitable for both indoor and outdoor wear. Without the rubber overshoe, they work as slippers that have thermoregulating properties. Because they are easily separated, Voylok claims that the end-of-life solutions of its boots is simple: the wool boot can be composted, and the rubber overshoe goes in any rubber recycling.
Voyloks are crafted by workers based in the north of Russia where they have been working with felt for centuries. Their iconic boot - the Kostroma Classic - is made in a small workshop on the banks of the river Volga. This factory only produces 80 pairs of this boot per week – with each pair taking a full five days to craft by hand.
Petrov is a serial entrepreneur who splits his time between Russia and the South of England. Voylok was born as a Kickstarter in 2021, gaining the attention of an external investor and therefore made it possible to enlarge the team. On board came Toby Darbyshire and Bronwen Foster-Butler. Darbyshire is the COO responsible for overall delivery of the business. Previously he was the co-founder and CEO at Heist and before that co-founder and CEO of Engensa, a consumer solar energy business that is now the basis for Ikea Solar globally. Foster-Butler joined as marketing director–a role she recently held at material science brand Pangaia. Before that, she led brand and digital marketing in EMEA at Lululemon and Burberry.
The first batch of Voyloks will be available online starting February 15. There will be approximately 400 pairs available across two colorways, light grey with a red or black overshoe. Voyloks retail for £195 (€233).