December 11, 2023

Made in Mongolia Wool Felt Slippers: a legacy of heritage craftsmanship

Made in Mongolia Wool Felt Slippers: a legacy of heritage craftsmanship

A LEGACY OF HERITAGE CRAFTSMANSHIP TO CREATE POSITIVE CHANGE

We’re delighted to be partnering with Asral, a very special NGO from the remote Mongolian steppes in the heart of the Gobi desert to bring you the warmest, toastiest, 100% natural wool felt slippers for when it’s too cold to be barefoot indoors.

MIM, which stands for Made in Mongolia, makes these snug slippers as a non-profit social impact business under the umbrella 
of the wide range of work undertaken by the Asral organisation to help children and their families living in one of the poorest parts of the world.

Asral, which means ‘care’ in Mongolian, was founded by Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche in 2001, and has since then built its headquarters right where the need is greatest,  providing training programmes, community spaces, 
a Hot Meal project and a social work programme as well as housing the Made in Mongolia (MIM) slipper felt-making project.

CULTURAL HERITAGE HANDCRAFTED EXCELLENCE

The MIM project not only celebrates their cultural heritage but also breathes life into the thousand-year-old tradition, now blended with contemporary design and function to keep bare feet warm all over the world.

Handcrafted excellence, each pair of MIM natural wool felt slippers has been meticulously handcrafted by female artisans who have honed their skills through training provided by Asral. The process involves cutting, sewing and assembling, with careful attention to detail to ensure the highest possible quality.

The result is a snug, super-soft slipper ideal for the whole family to wear indoors during the colder winter months. The wool shapes around the foot and, with no insole and only a supple leather outsole for grip, they have ideal barefoot feeling.

Created for centuries to withstand the harsh Mongolian winters, the design is also renowned for durability and longevity, while the locally-sourced sheep wool is exceptionally warm and breathable – super cosy without getting sweaty!

SUPPORTING WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE GOBI DESERT

Vivobarefoot initially ordered 2,000 pairs of MIM slippers last year, and they were so successful this year we have ordered a further 6,000. And with all profits going straight back to benefit the community where they are made, it is a collaboration we are incredibly proud of.

The project has employed around fifty people to date, including 11 full-time, 8 temporary and 31 part-time workers, providing not only employment but also opportunities for skill development.

Funds raised from sales also support Asral’s Hot Meal project which provides 55 children with a nutritious hot meal every day, as well as their sustainable skills training programme, an emergency aid fund for families in challenging times, support for women and young people in detention and supporting 101 children in three state-run orphanages, providing medical assistance. The organisation also regularly runs community workshops in conjunction with the local medical healthcare centre for disease prevention.

At Vivobarefoot we know ancient footwear-making was barefoot, and so supporting Asral and the MIM slipper project brings joy to our hearts – and warmth to our feet! Know that when you slip your bare feet into a pair of MIM natural wool felt slippers you are connecting to the rich heritage and craftsmanship of women living on the other side of the world. Choosing these slippers creates a ripple of change that extends far beyond your cosy pair of slippers. So, slip into MIM slippers and experience the warmth, craftsmanship, and compassion of this hidden gem in the heart of Asia.