Sámi Crafts

Sámi Shoe Bands – Skalleband

Sámi Shoe Bands –

Shell Bands, Skallebånd, Vuoddagat, Paulanauhat

Sami patterned shoe bands were traditionally woven on a rigid heddle loom. The woven bands were worn wrapped around the ankles and their purpose was to fasten the reindeer leather boots to the feet and to protect the legs against the snow, similar to modern day gaitors.

Sámi Shoe Bands (and other Sámi bands and belts) vary in style, pattern and width. Similar to the tartans of Scotland, each style, colour, pattern identifies the family of the wearer. If you are not a Sámi, it is not considered appropriate to copy or wear the colours/patterns of another family. I am producing a few styles of my own design that can be ordered if you are not Sámi.

All Sámi shoe bands have been woven in the classical tradition using high quality worsted wool yarns imported from Norway, Sweden and Finland. All the shoe bands are woven with 100% wool, not cotton yarns, as the wool provides insulation against the snow. The woven wool band will felt with use, making it thicker and more durable against the snow. The shoe bands can be hand washed in cool water and hung to dry. Please do not place them in a washing machine or dryer.

The woven section of the shoe band is usually 1.5-2 meters in length. One end of the shoe band is finished with a short braided or twined tie – this end is tied to the shoelace of your boots and is finished with a tassle. The other end has a longer length tie of approximately .5 meters in length. This wraps around the top of the band and is tucked into the wrapped band. This woven end of the shoe band is finished with a piece of wool vadmal.

The woven shoe bands vary in width from approx 3 cm to 5 cm depending on the style or region of Sapmi your family is from.

The Sami shoe bands can be ordered in a choice of lengths. Measure around your foot by wrapping a tape measure around from the top edge of your shoe and up around your ankle. The band should be long enough to cover your pant leg to keep the snow out. The shoe band can also be longer and wrap further up your calf.

The bands can be ordered in a variety of designs. The Sámi often wore shoe bands with simple designs for everyday wear, and more intricately patterned shoe bands for special occasions. Some regions of Sápmi wear simple design and others such as the North Sámi used more complex pickup designs.

If you have Sámi heritage and wish to have shoe bands or a belt designed for you please let me know. If you are able to find out the colours that your family wore, we can start from there and develop a design that you can use for your family.

The prices of the Shoe Bands vary depending on the width, length and complexity of design. Prices range from £150 – £350+ per pair. The Shoe Bands take approx. 3-6 weeks to complete depending on the style of band and my current production schedule.

Please contact me if you have questions or would like to discuss a Custom Order. All Custom Orders require a 50% non-refundable deposit. This covers the cost of materials and some of my time, should you change your mind.

Shoe Bands – North Sámi Style Pickup Patterns

Sámi Shoe Bands - Lumi Retki
Sámi Shoe Bands

I am developing a few North Sámi Pickup style patterns for general public use. The pickup style is woven in 2 layers. A fine white wool yarn is used as the ground weave. The pattern weave uses a thicker yarn in the traditional Sámi colours. The pattern yarn floats above and below the ground weave, and creates a mirror image of the pattern on the reverse of the shoe band. Because there are 2 layers of wool yarn, this provides extra insulation and will be warmer to wear.

This method of weaving shoe bands is used in the Sor Varanger, Norway area of my heritage. The pickup designs are quite time consuming to make. Generally it takes about an hour to weave approximately 10 – 20 cm in length, depending on the width and complexity of the pattern.

Sizing Variations

There may be some variation in finished sizing. A variation in the width occurs due to natural draw-in of the warp and weft during weaving. I use different wool yarns depending on what stock is available at the time. This also results in slight variations to the finished size.

The Shoe Bands can be custom ordered in your choice of traditional Sámi colours. I can also weave them with natural plant dyed wool yarns if you wish.
Sámi colours:

  • White – Snow
  • Red – Fire
  • Blue – Sky
  • Yellow – Sun
  • Green – Forest
  • Black – Earth

11 Pattern Threads – Narrow

Lumi Retki – Snow Trails Pattern

This Lumi Retki design is woven using 11 Pattern Threads. The pattern reflects meandering ski trails in the snow.
This is a sample that I wove for one of my grand children. The shoe bands can be ordered using any of the 5 Sami colours.

The 11 Thread Pattern produces bands that are approx. 2.5 cm – 3 cm in width.
These Shoe Bands will be available in 2 lengths:

LENGTHS: 1 Meter £150.00
1.5 Meter £200.00

17 Pattern Threads – Wide

The 17 thread pattern produces bands that are approx. 4.5cm – 5 cm in width.
The design for this set of Shoe bands will be similar to the narrow version of Lumi Retki (but wider of course)

These bands will be available in 2 lengths:
1 Meter £200.00
1.5 meter £250.00

The Shoe Bands are only sold by Custom Order.

Please contact me if you would like to discuss a future order.

The payments will be processed via my shop on Folksy.
“>Paivatar on FOLKSY

WEBSHOP Custom Orders and Paivatar On-line Platforms

I will be selling my handmade products and crafting supplies via On-line Platforms – so that I do not collect any financial information on my website. I only store name, address and any other information required for shipping your items. Please Contact me if you would like to discuss a Custom Order.

Paivatar on FOLKSY

My Folksy Shop will feature most of my hand made products, hand-dyed yarns and supplies for other crafters.

Paivatar on EBAY

My Ebay Shop will have Nalbinding Needles, Natural plant dyes and some hand-dyed or hand spun yarns.

Paivatar on Etsy

Currently I only list a few products on Etsy.