Momma Told Me: Don't go messing up your new shoes!
As a child one of our first reactions to a new piece of clothing is to show it off. If the article in question just happens to be a new pair of shoes, chances are we're enamored and will refuse to take them off, even for bed. I had a friend who felt this way about her hot pink rain boots, in the 3rd grade, and recall she wore them for months on end with pride. In our house, we typically went shoe shopping once a year, right before the new school year, or when my feet seemed to magically outgrow the last pair. Because of the rarity of this event, I was always especially proud of my new 'kicks', which had a tendency of being white in hue. I'd, never fail, to find the muddiest patch of our school lawn and kick up enough dirt and mud to bring them home in a different color. Momma, furious as she scrubbed them in the sink, would warn me she wouldn't be 'buying another pair' when these looked like they'd been through a marathon in just a week. I'd scrunch up my nose in disagreement, as my shoulders fell back, and whine, "But MOM, shoes are supposed to be worn!"
With origins as far back as the 1630 fur trade establishment, the Metis founded a strong relationship for handmade fur based clothing and shoes, with local settlers and Aborigines. When Manitobah became a part of the Canadian provinces in 1870 Metis artisans learned to spread their handmade goods in an effort to solidify relations and important relationships outside their tribe. Today, in the same spirit, the 1990 based Manitobah Mukluk's brand fosters lasting opportunities for Metis tribe elders, through the commercial integration of authentic materials and designs. While each and every elegant pair of authentic Mukluks are instantly captivating, the story of these shoes continues far past fur and tread, to their very soles. Mukluks are build to be functioning art. Though you may never feel quite comfortable trekking through snowy drifts and backwoods in such masterpieces, Manitobah has designed them to be as flawlessly functional (and comfortable) as the people which inspired them.
Beginning with a highly durable, and technically devised, Vibram sole, each pair of Mukluks is visually engaging and functional. As the leader in high performance, rubber based, soles, Vibram is the perfect translation of authentically rugged wear and city ready elegance. Their durable, low profile, sole is the perfect canvas for the Aboriginal story, which appears in 2 forms across the collections; TIPI and TURTLE. While Momma recently reviewed the Manitobah NAPPA Mukluks, I received a pair of (SZ 11) Women's Tall wrap, in Charcoal, for feature during Christmas Wishes. As it turns out, I had received my pair prior to Momma and quickly 'phoned' ahead to anxiously share my first impressions. When I had initially shopped the brand I was advised that, despite the size range cutting off at 11 (women's), the fit ran on the larger end and was most appropriate for feet like mine.
What had arrived at my doorstep was an elegant Black and White Manitobah box, housing a complete Certificate of Authenticity. This piece of 'paper' not only serves as a proof of purchase for the discerning consumer, but outlines the brand's connection with Aboriginal-owned companies. In addition to the stockholding and partnership program, Manitobah extends their friendship with the Aborigines through authentically inspired design, with in-house artists of native descent. You'll find everything from the soles, to the hand laid bead work, is carefully consulted with ties in tradition and purpose. And, if you don't see something 'authentic' enough for your tastes, their artist, Dorothy Grieves will design a commissioned pair of one-of-a-kind Storyboots, through special order.
If you're unaware of the company's roots it might be natural to overlook the treads' story upon first glance. So artistically woven into the very soles of these shoes, are the traditions, trademarks, and stories of Aboriginal people. The TIPI soles showcase the Sky, with it's life giving water from rain and snow, Western Mountains, Woodland People, and progression of modern hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Fire at the base symbolizes the perseverance of the native people, and the Swirling Four Winds, the cleansing as the Sun circles our Earth. While the Mukluks and Moccasins are designed for consumer intent, those looking to have a more personal and impactful connection to the Aboriginal people can commission Manitobah's Edna Nabess designed Storyboots. Storyboots are truly one of a kind works of art made from authentic materials by hand.
Available in Tall and Short, the Charcoal Wrap Mukluk is a very rustic, and authentic, visual expression of nomadic footwear. Manufactured in Chocolate, Charcoal, Black, and Olive, these Cowhide Suede, and Rabbit Fur boots feature an ultra plush (and insulating) Sheepskin Shearling lining that gives the effect of walking on air. Surprisingly, the Vibram soles are incredibly flexible in walking and movement as well. The company suggests sizing down 1 entire size when ordering, and as a natural 12, I was glad to find these (11s) fit quite well in the foot. However, the Tall Wrap has a tie up assembly, which seems to be less kind on my toned calves. While the wrap itself closes to the seams, they're best worn over jeans or leggings for a more casual look. I should also note here that Manitobah does make every effort to work with sizing (as far as stock, or custom order) for those outside the current selection options.
Some may be mortified to find I chose to take my Charcoal Tall Wrap Manitobah Mukluks to the local beach; but I desired a more natural footwear experience. After all, the Aboriginals wear their second skin footwear through extreme conditions and through long days. In honesty, I can't blame them, they're impressively comfortable! I am typically not a fur person, and often go the Vegan route, but the authenticity of Aboriginal design and practice, coupled with the ethical luxury is a very strong argument for Manitobah elegance. I love the casual tie up wear, and the minute details of beauty (such as the beaded accents and pops of turquoise). Mukluks are truly the perfect surprise for any discerning recipient on your list this holiday season!
What Daughter Says: Mukluks will withstand daily wear with durability and rugged elegance. They're the story of an entire people, and the pride of any footwear collection!
One very lucky Momma Told Me follower will win a pair of Manitobah Mukluks of choice (SRV up to $389)!