Every year, we have a few companies that approach us to ask if we’d like to highlight their products around the holiday season. Usually they’re some outdoor gizmo or gadget, and I politely decline. But this year, when I got an email from a company I’d never heard of before called Kyrgies, my interest was piqued. How often do you find a company that has an environmentally sustainable product, created using heritage processes and natural materials, that manages to be super comfy and affordable priced? Not that often, and so I happily said ‘yes’ to a mini-review of the wool slippers from Kyrgyzstan-based Kyrgies.
Kyrgies Wool Slippers Features:
- Hand made in Kyrgyzstan using traditional methods
- Sustainably harvested wool from happy sheep
- 100% wool without blending
- Prices range from $69-129
From Kyrgyzstan to your feet
The Kyrgies backstory is what really shines for me. Each pair is made by hand in Kyrgyzstan, using methods that date back centuries. Their sheep roam freely, much the same way that the sheep that my Basque ancestors used to roam in Northern Nevada. The sheep are sheared, and the raw wool is cleaned and processed before being needled into sheets of felt. The felt is tough and thick, a technology which predates woven technologies by centuries.
That felt is then formed into house slippers, slip-ons and little house booties. You’ll also be happy to know that Kyrgyz sheep are also “mulesing free as they are not prone to flystrike.” (I had had no idea what that meant until I googled it – it’s worth a google.) There are other aspects of the Kyrgies story to love, too: all of Kyrgies’ factor managers in Kyrgyzstan are women, and 80% of their artisans are women, too. Kyrgyzstan is not exactly a haven of women’s rights, so it feels good knowing that purchasing a pair of Kyrgies slippers is supporting real women who are working and are independent.
But what about the actual slippers? Well, they’re pretty fun. Between Kelsey and I, we have three pairs: the Tengries Walkabouts, the Wool Slippers with All Natural (Suede) Soles, and the Nomads. Kyrgies basically offers three different soles. One is a plain wool sole for indoor use; there’s also a chrome-free suede, and then a textured rubber sole that’s adhered to the wool.
Kyrgies are pretty comfortable out of the box, with soft fabric and a pliant shape. One thing that I discovered with use, though, is that the wool gradually molds itself to your foot shape. Within just a few uses, the Kyrgies fit like a glove. I have a really wide forefoot, and the size 11’s that I wear (my normal size) have graciously accommodated my big fat foot. Kelsey’s two ladies’ options have responded similarly.
The model that I’m wearing, the Nomads, have a rubberized sole stitched on with a very slight heel. I chose these to wear in the frigid, 10-20 ºF winter days at ski resorts. I wanted something that I could wear inside, and for very light outside chores or standing around the fire. I feel comfortable doing that in very cold snow with the Nomads. The Nomads are built with a cuff that you can flip up or down depending on how much coverage and warmth you want, and I love that I can flip it up for a little extra protection against snow sliding in.
The bottom line on all of the Kyrgies products is that they are not meant to get wet. 100% natural wool like this will completely change shape and shrink if it gets wet. That means I’m flirting with danger when I choose to wear these in the snow, and I only wear them outside when I feel that it’s cold enough that the snow will stay frozen. You can think of them best as house slippers, but if you’re feeling bold I think it’s reasonable to also use them in cold, dry snow: essentially, the perfect post-ski cozy footwear.
From a reviewing perspective, I don’t have a great deal more to stay about the Kyrgies. The backstory on the company is excellent, and totally makes me feel good about supporting them as a company. The product that they make is really good, and with the caveat that they can’t get wet, I expect to enjoy them for years. They are really well made.
With reasonable starting prices, great ethics and a comfy-yet-durable product, Kyrgies totally get my seal of approval for a thoughtful gift and stocking stuffer.