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Ultima ratio: Photo of Putin helped Russian boot-maker score Guinness world record

Ultima ratio: Photo of Putin helped Russian boot-maker score Guinness world record
It took a woman from St. Petersburg over two years to get the Guinness World Records to acknowledge her work as worthy of an entry. A photo of the Russian president played a key role in the battle for recognition.

Valeria Loshak’s quest for her 15 minutes of fame started in 2016, when she made a giant felt boot and put it on display in a tourist village near St. Petersburg. The enormous piece of footwear was swiftly recognized as the largest of its kind in Russia, but getting the same achievement globally proved to be harder than she expected.

“I filed a claim in the category ‘largest winter footwear’. But they rejected it. The people in the Guinness World Records didn’t know felt boots were even a thing,” Valeria told a Russian newspaper. “The commission decided that my boot was a sock.”

So to prove that her woolen creation is a bona fide boot rather than a mere sock, she collected evidence. This included Russian state standards for felt boots, samples of quality certificates, a historical file, and a description of how it is produced.

The ultimate proof may have been a photo of Vladimir Putin wearing a pair of felt boots, Valeria jokes. The Russian president was pictured in the traditional winter boots in January of last year, when he was taking an icy water dip during Epiphany.

Whether it was Putin’s image or something else, Guinness World Records ultimately agreed that felt boots were not socks and recognized the record, Valeria said on her Instagram account last week. Actually, they decided the boots deserved a category of their own.

So exactly how large is the world’s largest felt boot? It’s measured at 3.02m (9 feet 11 inches) in height, 2.53m in length, and 4.86m in circumference at the top. Valeria said it took 400kg of wool to make.

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