behind the scenes at Manitobah Mukluks

Jul 16, 2013

Remember the other day when I wrote about discovering the company Manitobah Mukluks for the first time and how much I loved the moccasins I ordered? Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit their Gatineau office to get a behind the scenes glimpse of the company. As you can probably guess I was in heaven the minute I walked through the doors, beautiful vintage and modern moccasins on display everywhere! Seriously, I died!! The office is located in a renovated bungalow just outside of Ottawa and happened to be only a few minutes away from my place. I arrived bright and early and after getting a latte and meeting some of the staff, I got a tour of the building and learned about the history of the company and how they go about running their business. 

Even though Manitobah strives to maintain tradition, like hand-etching their deerskin products, some things have been adapted to make their footwear more compatible with urban living. Instead of using crepe to make the soles of their footwear they've partnered with vibram to create soles out of modern material that won't wear out as quickly on the pavement and concrete.

One of the most interesting things I discovered yesterday was the traditional mukluks made of smoked hides.  Time consuming to make, this method involves the use of the animals brain to tan the hide. There are enough tannins in the brain to do an entire hide, it's a way of preserving the environment by leaving the littlest footprint possible. Very few modern artists use this method as it's extremely time consuming, but there are a few left that do. The mukluks looked no different from others tanned the modern way but they had a very strong and pleasant smoky smell to them!

As I mentioned in my previous post I have a lot of respect for the values Manitobah Mukluks promote and it was nice to learn that the companies they work with share their outlook. The snowboarding company Burton approached them about working together to design a Mukluk type boot, because they didn't want to appropriate Aboriginal culture. Burton partnered with Manitobah because they respected to companies values and the community they support and together they designed a snowboarding boot that was functional yet looks very traditional without being cartoonish.

Now that I've had an in-depth look at how things are run and am a bit more knowledgable of the company history I'm really proud to support this Canadian company! You can order Manitobah products online or find them locally at Town Shoes, Quichua World Market and a few other stores, all listed on the Manitobah website. 

15 thoughts:

  1. Those moccasins are so adorable! Love the colors! They look super comfortable, yet stylish :)


  2. I love them all! Did you about DIE? They are alllll gorgeous! The boots are my favorite!

  3. What a store! I love the rusty orange pair!

  4. em k, what an exciting opportunity for you to see it in person! all those shoes look divinely made.

  5. oooooh Mukluks! :) I'm totally digging those cute colored moccasins. perfect for everyday wear!

  6. OHHHH, I'm just drooling over these beauties!

  7. How fun that you got to visit the store! I'm loving the bright moccasins. :)

  8. I absolutely love this! So, a funny side note: I was just working on tomorrow's post about Native American inspired style when I took a break to check out your blog and saw this. Ha! How awesome is that? Anyways, I love your cute little blog! I can't wait to read more of it!

    ~With much love,
    Rebekah @

  9. great inspiration! love the first pic!

    thanks for sharing!

    I have been following you for a long time via bloglovin.
    if you like we can follow each other on bloglovin :)

    let me know!


  10. so super chic and great for fall and winter!

  11. these images are beautiful, I love this post!

  12. getting this up close & personal look into their shop has me swooning away. yah to Canadian Co.'s who do things the right way. love their style and the sentiment behind their brand. so amazing you got to go there and explore the goodness! ♥

  13. I adore Manitobah Mukluks. Thanks for the sneak peak into their office.

  14. I've never heard of them before but they look lovely! Maybe they should expand over to alberta......


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