Lahtiset Family, Masters of Felt Boots

Jämsä, Central Finland.

In Good Company with the Lahtinen Family. Eero, Riitta and Jukka.

Meeting the family company Lahtiset was quite something in the begging. Aamu visited them with 1:1 scale model of Ground Pants made out of chicken wire with train to Jämsä in the middle of Finland. Surprisingly no one in this family laughed. They instead decided to help and made this pants 3 pairs.
They are now third generation of making Felt boots and sleepers in Finland. This foot gear is eccential in Finnish life indoor and outdoor, specially in the dry and cold winter. Their founder is father of Eero (still at work, and he is the Vuoden huovutaja, the felt maker of the year of 2007) who started to make felt shoe. In their own little museum, there is this first little shoes made by Eero’s father. Riita and Jukka are Eero’s daugter and son, and they work very hard to make their factory run well to keep the tradition alive. When we first met them, Riita and Jukka had little child and babies. There are lots of dogs around there too. Tipsu was Aamu’s favorite dog and Rasmus was Juuso’s. Cats also we’ve seen looking at us.

Factory building is wooden barn filled with steam and the smell of sheep. First they cut big felt with shoe shape, and sew two layers into two dimentinal giant shoes. This shoes measurement is around 70 x 100 cm. Then this go into hammering and steaming process. Wet and shrunk felt is finally human scale. Then skillful master put it around shoe mould by hand hammering. Then this will be cooked in oven and dry. They look more like little warm cakes from the oven rather than shoes. In these shoes, there is no seam or glue. It is a little dangerous because they are so warm and comfortable that you get addicted. They produce shoes for small children to big size adult. We combined two sizes and created Dance Shoes for father and daughter. New classic Finnish Family style was born. This product has been made since 2007, and still one of our good product to make everyone smile even to the one who just look at.

Because of this felt shoe company, we always pray for very cold and dry winter with lots of snow!

Eero Lahtinen gathering sheep wool into the carding machine.
The giant 2shapes are sewn together. Then they are tumbled and boiled so they shrink to a third of their size.
Then a last is hammered inside the shoe and a seamless felt shoe is left to dry.

Work of the Masters