Entirely handmade by a traditional wet felting process with no use of machines.
Slipper components are organic materials and are biodegradable: Merino wool and genuine suede.
Dye-free wool colors are available and dyed colors are made with a natural, AZO-free dye.
Nootkas slipper packaging is plastic free. (Please note: 3rd party fulfillment partners may require the use of outer plastics for shipping.)
Nootkas shoe boxes are made from 98% post-consumer recycled cardboard.
Any plastics or plastic sheeting required for international shipping is recycled in Oregon via Ridwell. All cardboard used is recycled locally as well.
Our Nepalese supplier is Fair Trade USA Certified. They practice equal pay for equal work, where workers are paid equitably regardless of gender. They pay a living wage and provide their artisans with medical benefits and a retirement plan.
Nepalese facility is powered entirely by solar & zero water is discharged into the environment from the felting process.
Our slippers are hand felted from 100% Merino wool. The Merino wool for Nootkas Astoria slippers is sourced exclusively from New Zealand. Our Mongolian made slippers and house shoes are felted with locally sourced Mongolian Merino wool.
As a country New Zealand has banned mulesing and has passed a number of strict anti-cruelty laws making it among the safest places in the world to source raw wool. Our Mongolian wool is purchased from nomadic sheep herders. These herders depend on sheep for their livelihood and treat them like part of the family. They relocate their families each season to find new grazing areas for their sheep. We work closely with our suppliers to ensure our wool is coming from humane, cruelty free farms and nomads.
While most of our wool slippers contain wool that has been colored prior to felting, we do carry a selection of colors that is 100% natural and completely free of dyes. The colors of these slippers represent the natural color of the sheep's wool and we call these slippers "Nootkas Naturals." Visit the Nootkas Natural Collection.
How our slippers are made
Before felting begins, the wool is cleaned using with very gentle soap, removing dirt and other impurities; leaving many of the natural oils and lanolin in the fiber. Strips of raw wool are placed in a cross hatched pattern and are rubbed by hand with soap and water to combine the layers. This process is repeated dozens of times per slipper and creates a thick piece of wool called a "sock." The wool "socks" are again felted using agitation and water. This creates a virtually indestructible, thick textile that can be shaped into a slipper by stretching it around a wooden shoe form called a last
These newly felted slippers remain on the shoe last and are set out to dry in the sun for 3 days. The result is a slipper that is thick, seamless and has some special properties that enable it to hold in heat exceptionally well. The felting process creates a dense textile that has tiny micro-pockets of air all throughout. Air is nature's greatest insulator. This old world method keeps the wool as close to its natural state as possible, passing along all the benefits of natural wool to you!
All production on our Astoria slippers happens in a Fair Trade Certified facility in Nepal. Our facility is very clean, treats employees well, pays a fair wage and provides stable employment in a remote region where good jobs can be hard to come by. Our Nepalese workshop is committed to eco-friendly, sustainable production and utilizes solar power for all of its energy needs. Our partners in Mongolia are also Fair Trade certified and pay a pair, living wage, providing much needed jobs and fine wool products for the local economy. We are proud to work with felting companies who value human rights, safety and the environment as much as we do.
Nootkas (pronounced like foot-kuhs) found its inspiration thanks in part to the rainy Pacific Northwest and its grey, drizzly seasons that are spent inside. Similar in climate to many Nordic countries, but with more rain. The Pacific Northwest inspires a certain satisfaction with warm, inviting indoor spaces - a sentiment akin to what the Danish call "Hygge, and the rest of us think of as just plain Cozy.
While we're not associated with the Nootka tribe (now known as The Nuu-chah-nulth) of western Canada, we hold deep respect for their history, heritage and the beautiful area that carries their historical name.