Skip to content Skip to navigation


Object Monday: Alaskan Mukluks

Mukluks (MMA 87.37.8)


These adult mukluks (Yupik, kamiks in Inuit) were made by an unknown Native Alaskan in the 1960s or 70s.  

The soft leather soles of these mukluks wrap around the bottom of the wearer’s foot and are attached to the seal fur sides with cotton or sinew thread. Leather straps near the ankle could be used to tighten the footwear around the wearer’s feet. A fur band (possibly rabbit) sets off an ornamental strip near the top that is decorated with sequins and birds of prey and floral ornaments. The  boots’ upper edge is trimmed with maroon corduroy and these mukluks are lined with a floral patterned cloth fabric.

Women prepared hides and sewed the mukluks using of a variety of materials and fashioning them for individual members of their families. Warm and flexible, mukluks are sometimes worn in layers. Their light weight and ability to breathe helps to prevent frostbite in cold Arctic temperatures, while their soft soles allow hunters to move quietly across the landscape and be more successful in hunting prey. Mukluks are also worn in ceremonies.

These mukluks were transferred to the Maxwell Museum from the Navajo Tribal Museum (now the Navajo Nation Museum) along with other non-Navajo objects in 1987.

Name: Seal Fur Mukluk
Artist: Unidentified
Dates/Period: 1960- 1970
Culture: Unidentified Alaskan Native
Collection: Ethnology
Object: #87. 37. 8
Post by: William Hamel and Montana Chester


Further Reading:

Valerie Kern [September 11th, 2019] of Alaska Public Media; “By Making Mukluks, This Alaskan Woman is Preserving The Inupiat Tradition”

Visit for an image of another Alaskan Native mukluk at Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian