Sataedu exports Finnish competence in traditional footwear to the USA


Juhani Männistö, Lecturer in Footwear Design at Sataedu, and Ari Tylli, Visiting Instructor, are travelling to Michigan at the end of September in order to train those interested in traditional Finnish footwear. This training is commissioned by Finlandia University, which is the successor of Suomi College, established by Finnish immigrants in 1896. The training provided by Sataedu is part of the Ruska Festival organised by the university. Besides traditional footwear, the programme of the festival weeks includes construction of a sauna and Finnish folk music.

Ready to go, Ari Tylli (left) and Juhani Männistö.

Traditional handmade high lapikas shoes used to be popular working shoes, owing to their durability and practicality, whereas ladies’ supikas shoes are delicate leather shoes used with national costumes. Sataedu celebrated the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence by presenting Mrs Jenni Haukio, the spouse of President Sauli Niinistö, with a pair of supikas made by students in the Kankaanpää unit.

President Sauli Niinistö (left), Mrs. Jenni Haukio and Juhani Männistö with supikas.


Sixty kilogrammes of leather and waxed thread

Experts in traditional footwear are training in Michigan from 30 September to 9 October. During this period, the studious participants are expected to finish the shoes of their choice.

“Leather treatment and making traditional shoes are demanding processes, therefore the participants selected for the course must already have certain manual skills. Making supikas shoes is also part of the shoemaking studies at Sataedu. Some of those completing the basic vocational qualification in the textile and fashion field are so inspired that they choose to make a pair of lapikas shoes, which is more laborious,” says Männistö.

Travel preparations have kept Männistö busy. He must pack everything needed for making the shoes, e.g. leather, waxed thread and awls. Therefore, he has already booked additional luggage of 60 kilogrammes for the flight.

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