Home Essentials Le Friulane: A Dive into Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Footwear Tradition

Le Friulane: A Dive into Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Footwear Tradition

Friulane, a shoe that embodies tradition, comfort, elegance, delicate step.

Credit: Oakley Official Facebook Channel
Credit: Oakley Official Facebook Channel

Each pair of these shoes is a testament to the passion and craftsmanship of the master artisans; to wear them is to carry a piece of Italian history and culture. Friulane are depopulating the web, especially on various social networks such as Instagram and TikTok.

A journey through the history of the Friulane, an ancient craft tradition

Friulanas originated in Friuli during the 19th century and were mainly worn by farmers as a durable footwear; what is interesting is their versatility, as they were also used as bridal shoes during weddings. They were made using reclaimed materials: the uppers were composed of scraps of cloth, while the soles were made from old bicycle tires, pressed into a horizontal shape.

friulane | shoestechnologies
Gondolier in Venice Canal

These shoes were also associated with Venetian gondoliers who, in the early postwar period, used to make use of them because of the non-slip rubber of the sole, which, in addition to allowing good balance, did not damage the valuable wood of the boats. Another of the advantages for these workers was the insulation the foot gave by the shoe and thus the possibility of warm and dry.

The only difference in this area lay in the name:

In Veneto, they were renamed ‘papusse‘. Later, these shoes were also adopted by the nobility as elegant indoor slippers, which allowed them to move around inside their homes without making noise.

The heart of Friulian creation is the material itself:

Wool felt and fabric. These materials, carefully selected by craftsmen, give the slippers their characteristic durability, warmth and comfort. Wool felt, made of natural fibres, is the ideal choice to keep the feet warm during the cold seasons and gives a rustic look reminiscent of the rural traditions of the region. The fabric, chosen with equal care, can be embellished with intricate embroidery or fine weaves, which lend a touch of elegance to the footwear.

Friulanas are characterised by a charming and functional design. Thanks to their closed toe and thin sole, they are perfect for use at home, ensuring warm feet during cold winters. However, it is in the details that these slippers really shine. Traditional colours such as grey and brown are combined with delicate embroidery and weaves that tell stories of traditions handed down from generation to generation.

friulane | shoestechnologies
Artisans of the Sciuscià brand.
Credit: Sciuscià

Despite their humble origins, Friulanas are extremely comfortable as flat shoes due to their wide shape; moreover, without distinction between right and left, they fit the wearer’s foot perfectly.

The production of these shoes has remained mainly concentrated in Friuli and continues to be handmade from recycled materials, maintaining the same workmanship as in the long tradition.

A new trend

Friulanas are the most chic model of the summer, they have kept their original shape, low and without a heel, and are characterised by the ‘ondina’ neckline on the instep, with a soft indentation that differentiates them from ballerinas.

In addition to being comfortable, they are very versatile and can be worn at any time of day, both for indoor and outdoor use, where one has the pleasure of being very comfortable on one’s feet.

They have come back to life thanks to various brands in the fashion world, which make them in different materials: coloured velvets, but also silk, linen and raffia.

In 2015, two Italian sisters, Viola and Vera Arrivabene Valenti Gonzaga, created the ViBi Venezia brand. The two Venetian girls used their origins and their connection to tradition to give the world the chance to experience the same passions by supporting the work of artisans.

friulane | shoestechnologies
Viola and Vera, the two founding sisters of the ViBi Venzia brand.
Credit: ViBi Venezia

But they are not the only ones, another brand is Papusse Milano. Papusse revisits the traditional Friulian shoe model, giving it a more refined touch with slightly rounded toes and meticulous attention to detail, reinterpreting the long tradition of Friulian footwear with high quality standards. These velvet shoes embody the excellence of Made in Italy and a style suitable for every occasion.

friulane | shoestechnologies
Some of the iconic Papusse Milano models
Credit: papusse

Also very popular in the fashion world, celebrities and models have chosen them as their favourite footwear; for example, the beautiful Kate Moss who chose the two sisters as her brand

How to wear them this summer?

The friulane are a passe-partout, perfect for both formal and informal outfits, in fact versatility is their strong point.

In fact, they can be worn with everything from jeans and classic trousers to long dresses. Another feature that differentiates them from ballet flats is that they are unisex shoes.

They come in all colours and with many embroidered motifs, from darker, classic shades such as blue, black and forest green, to more summery colours such as yellow, orange, red, fuchsia and purple.

friulane | shoestechnologies
LE PAPÙ – Friulane Brown Velvet Friulane
Credit: Pellizzari
friulane | shoestechnologies
LE PAPÙ – Friulane in bottle-green velvet
Credit: Pellizzari

These comfortable shoes are so versatile that they can be combined with practically all the garments in our wardrobe.

In conclusion, Friulian shoes represent a heritage of craftsmanship, style and tradition that has been rediscovered in recent times, thanks to their ability to instantly transform a simple, casual look into something more sophisticated.

Friulanas prove to be authentic passe-partouts, suitable for both formal and informal occasions, and this versatility is their distinguishing feature. Their adaptability is reflected in their clothing: from denim to classic trousers to long dresses, Friulanas go with any outfit.

These shoes are available in a wide range of colours and embroidered motifs, ranging from classic shades such as blue, black and forest green to bright, summery ones such as yellow, orange, red, fuchsia and purple.

These comfortable shoes are so versatile that they can be combined with practically any outfit in the wardrobe. Moreover, they represent a true heritage of craftsmanship, style and tradition, rediscovered in recent times thanks to their ability to instantly elevate a simple, casual look to one of greater sophistication and refinement.

Wearing Friulians is not only a fashion choice, but also a tribute to the culture and craftsmanship behind it.

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