Why is the “Mukluk” becoming Canada’s most iconic winter boot?

This year, Manitobah Mukluks – an Aboriginal owned business – has become one of the fastest growing shoe companies in Canada, competing with other major label brands in the coldest places in Canada! So we ask: why is Canada turning to mukluks to keep them warm?


To truly understand the phenomena, let’s dive into some mukluk history.




What is a Mukluk?  

Mukluk [Muk’ Luk’] noun

1. A soft boot traditionally made of sealskin, reindeer skin or another hide and originally worn by arctic Aboriginal people.
2. The term can be used for any soft boot used in cold weather, but the origin is Yupik meaning bearded seal.


Photo: Mark Read
Photo: Mark Read


Why are Mukluks considered the warmest boot for cold winters?

The key component of the Mukluk’s success in cold weather is it’s ability to breath. In general, natural insulators like sheepskin, hide and fur have superior insulating powers to synthetic insulators due to the ease of air exchange and the ability to wick away sweat. This is a great advantage in extremely cold conditions where perspiration may become a factor in frostbite on feet.

In addition to our sheepskin insulation, the next magic ingredient for warmth is the ability to bend one’s foot with ease. Being able to flex your foot the way it’s supposed to, considerably improves circulation of warm blood to your toes. Manitobah Mukluks worked with Vibram to develop a high-profile, flexible, light-weight and durable sole for urban wear that preserves the age-old functionality of hide-soled mukluks. Wearers often describe the feeling of mukluks as “walking barefoot” as though they aren’t even wearing winter boots at all – all the while, being perfectly warm and comfortable.


Photo: Ireva Photography
Photo: Ireva Photography


Things to consider… 

The caveat to warmth is waterproofness. Natural materials, although superior at insulating, are porous. Similar to down and wool jackets, you want your winter boots to be breathable at below freezing temperatures when the ground is cold and dry. Keep your rain boots handy for warm, slushy days, but use your mukluks for everything else, especially the cold and snowy days!


Why Manitobah Mukluks? 

As an Aboriginal company, our product was inherited from thousands of years of tradition. We use designs that allowed our ancestors to survive in the coldest places on earth and have evolved them for modern wear. It’s our vision to build a vibrant, global brand that makes functional products and a significant impact in Aboriginal communities at the same time.