Bast shoe


Bast shoe

Bast shoes are shoes woven primarily from bast of the linden tree or from birch bark, a kind of basket fit to the shape of a foot. It is an obsolete traditional footwear of forest areas of Eastern Europe used by poorer population of Finnic people, Balts, and Slavs. They were easy to manufacture, but not very durable.

Bast shoes have been worn since prehistoric times: wooden foot-shaped blocks used to shape bast shoes are found in neolithic excavations. Bast shoes were still worn in the Russian countryside by the beginning of the 20th century. In modern times bast shoes are sold as souvenirs and sometimes used in the attire of ethnographic music or dance troupes.

In Russian, they are called lapti ("лапти", sing. "лапоть"); this word is used as a derogatory term for cheap and short-lived footwear and for uneducated people ("лапотник", "lapotnik": one who is too poor to afford good shoes, and wears bast shoes instead).

In Lithuanian they are named "vyžos" (vyzhos, sing. "vyža").


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