The traditional fulling sock/shoe have a long history in most arctic cultures, and are known under many different names; valenki, katanka, lobber eller kartanker. The last name originating, we think, from the times of the pomor trade between the Russians and the north Norwegians up until the russian revolution in the start of 1900s. The hand made socks/shoes that you might be holding in your hand are part of an at least 8000 year long tradition, some think even older than the art of spinning - even Roald Amundsen and his men used kartanker when they conquered the south pole in 1911.
Traditions and sustainability
At Arctic Moments we have been wearing and working with wool and wool products for years. Since we like it so much we are now in the developement of a webstore that we hope will make it easier for people like us, and others, to enjoy handcraft from the arctic regions. The goal is to gather a good collection of traditional wool products from the region, and at the same time show their practical value.
Not only do we like to keeps traditions alive, we also belive that wool is the perfect product in a time where we all have to think of more sustainable solutions. First of all, wool is a 100% natural-and renewable product that does not shed microplastic. Another good thing is that you do not have to wash your wool products as often as other fabrics, simply lay it in the wind for a while to air. Other benefits is of course that wool can retain water equivalent to c. 35% of its weight and still feel dry - your foot sweat would be pretty severe if this was to happen. Wool is also flame retardant, nice to know when your foot gets a bit close to the fireplace.
Nordic slow adventure
The kartank in particular, but wool in general, is in the heart of the nordic slow adventure philosophy that our company is trying to live by. The slow and personal encounters in- and with nature that is only achivable if you sit down for a while and listen. These shoes are just perfect for exactly that.
We have of course tested these shoes in many different situations. We have had them with us on walks and long skiing trips; on mainland Norway, on the north pole and Svalbard, but most of all in camp and in the sleeping bag on cold winter nights. Some choose to wear them inside special designed skiiboots from for example Alfa, and tests have proved to keep your feet warm down to minus 40 degrees. We have also used the kartank indoors in cold cabins, or just to walk around in camp. In dry snow conditions the shoe is strong and tight enough to use without a protective outer layer. One of the big advantages is of course that they are light and easy to pack in the backpack or on the pulka. So if you are planning a trip to the very north or south, or just want something warm to walk around in the house in - it does not get any warmer than this.
Did you scan a QR code?
If you got to this page by scanning a QR code on one of our products, than the shoes that you are holding right now are hand made in the heart of the arctic, in the northernmost county of Norway -Finnmark. Here they have long traditions using wool shoes as inner boots in bigger shoes made of reindeer skin, while hurdeling thousands of reindeers over the Finnmark platau in winter temperatures.