Friulane Shoes in Venice

Friulane Shoes in Venice


The ultimate shoe of Friuli, is made from recycled materials like jute coffee sacks for the upper and bicycle tires for the sole. They were worn by women and eventually found their way to the city of Venice where gondoliers adopted them for their comfort and non-slippery rubber soles, which prevented damage to the varnish on gondolas. These Gondolier shoes or Furlane come in various colors, and styles and can range from a simple design to somewhat ornate with  embroidery. 

Why Friulane shoes has become synonymous for Gondolier shoes?

 When it comes to shopping, Venice is famous for its plethora of marbled paper, precious Murano glasses, Fortuny silk, handmade masks made by local artisans but you can also find a variety of unique items that are sure to make a special souvenir. So don’t be surprised to find elegant pair of legendary friulane shoes worn by gondoliers hence their Venetian Shoes definition. There is  something for everyone in this historic city.


The original Friulane shoes were invented by women in the region of Friuli. These party shoes were hand sewn with discarded fabrics and materials, including old bicycle tires for the soles.

Today in Friuli they are still made by hand with local craftsmen in small batches and have become a popular trend in Italian sustainable fashion. They're also lightweight and seasonless, meaning they can be worn all year round.

Who buys them?

If you're looking for a chic and timeless footwear option, Friulane shoes are your go-to.  They are made by hand and many laboratories in Friuli still use recycled materials in the traditional manner, including used bicycle tires for the soles. 

These original Furlana slippers emerged in the region of Friuli in northern Italy, centuries ago  where they were stitched together by women from scraps of fabric, such as jute sacks and old sheets. In the 19th century, a wave of poverty struck the region, and these shoes became a symbol of survival, dignity and resistance.

Yeas later when they start getting  sold on the Rialto Bridge they quickly became popular among gondoliers, hence the name Gondolier Shoes or Venetian shoes.

They were also used by a growing number of nobles and became an icon of the Italian Dolce Vita.

They are perfect for a wide range of occasions - they can be worn with denim or skirts, from a morning coffee to an evening cocktail. And they are genderless, making them ideal for every season.


What are they made of?

Modern but still traditional Friulane shoes are handmade with a rubber sole, originally made for bike tires, and fine velvet for a comfortable, embracing fit. Perfect for a casual-chic style, they can be worn indoors and out. 

They originated from the peasant tradition of Friuli, where everything was precious, and ingenuity stimulated creativity to use whatever was available. Women made shoes for the whole family from scraps of cloth and string, such as jute coffee sacks or old sheets, to make an economical alternative to the leather slippers many in Friuli couldn't afford.

These shoes were crafted by hand with layers of fabric and old clothes, swatches bound together with waxed string to create a reminiscence of a traditional shoe. This manual production, which required the entire family to work, was a labor of love and a way for housewives to earn a living.

The shoes soon spread to Venice, where they appeared on the feet of the gondoliers who appreciated their comfort as they stood up all day. 

Where can I find them?

Friulane shoes, called scarpet or papusse in Italy, are a must have for every fashion lover. They are genderless and look great with everything, from jeans to evening dresses.

They originated in the mountains of Friuli two centuries ago and were made by women in villages, using materials such as jute sacks. 

For these reasons, they’ve never lost their importance and they still stand out in Italy as an authentic symbol of Friuli Venezia Giulia. But the Gondolier were first to adopt them outside of Friuli. Gondoliers  wore them for their non-slip character thanks to the rubber soles made of bicycle tires. 

Today, they’re a must-have in any wardrobe and are often worn by the elite. In fact, they made their comeback in 2017 when Kate Moss and George Clooney  spotted themselves in Italy wearing a pair of Friulane shoes.


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