Mukluk

Mukluk

[muhk-luhk]

Mukluks or Kamik (singular: kamak) are a soft boot traditionally made of reindeer skin or sealskin and were originally worn by Arctic natives, including the Inuit and Yupik. The term mukluk is often used for any soft boot designed for cold weather and modern designs are often similar to high-top athletic shoes. The word "mukluk" is of Yupik origin, from maklak, the Bearded Seal, while "kamik" is an Inuit word. In the Inuipiaq language the "u" makes an "oo" sound, and so the spelling "maklak" is used with the same pronunciation.

Another type of boot, sometimes called an Inuit boot, originating in Greenland and the eastern part of Alaska, are made by binding them with animal cartilage and have a centre seam running down to the foot of the boot.

Mukluks weigh little and allow hunters to move very quietly. They may be adorned with pompons and beads and may be lined with furs such as rabbit, fox and raccoon.

Modern mukluks based on the traditional design have become an upmarket fashion item in the United States and Europe. Notable wearers of mukluks include supermodel Kate Moss, movie actress Gwyneth Paltrow and celebrity Paris Hilton.

Another kind of mukluk is knitted with a soft leather sole. These are worn primarily by ballet dancers in place of leg/foot warmers.

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