I want to know about 13th century Mongolian army boots.

I know they used leather for their boots. The leather and the source of the leather is irrelevant to my research for now.

My question is that did they use any type of animal fur ( e.g. cow fur) in making their boots?

If yes, then did they use it on the interior of the boots or the exterior?

This might help you in answering the question.

And this.

If there's any problem in my question please inform me. Thanks!

  • I do not have time nowadays so I can't do the research. But the term for Mongolian boots are gutuls, which might help you narrow down your research. Yes, it is leather-based but cowhide specifically? I do not have any source.
    – J Asia
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 19:50
  • @MarkC.Wallace Could you please give this in the form of an answer including those sources you talked about? Thanks! Commented May 14, 2018 at 9:23
  • Humans have been using animal furs for thousands of years to keep warm so why wouldn’t the mongols - they tend to respect things, as shown by the desire to reduce foot prints...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 19:34

2 Answers 2


According to The Field Museum's Genghis Khan online exhibit...

Man’s Boots

Leather, 19th-20th century, National Museum of Mongolia

enter image description here

These centuries-old leather boots are like those worn by warriors in Genghis Khan’s empire and nomadic Mongolians today.

For battle, these felt-lined leather boots were often covered with armor plates as well. The turned-up toes signify respect for the land by minimizing the mark they left on the ground.

While the boots in the exhibit are not 13th century, the exhibit states they are of a similar style. The leather would likely have come from cattle or yak. So yes, "cowhide".

(As a side note, Discover Mongolia offers a different explaination for the upturned toes: "it's also true that boots are so thick and rigid that if they were flat, they would be almost impossible to walk in.")

Here's a Mongolian tanner describing the process of making traditional leather.

  • Actually I asked this question on Quora too and this is what they had to say, but they said that cowhide were used, quora.com/… Commented May 10, 2018 at 14:25
  • 1
    @AbuSafwanMdfarhan You're asking what specific animal the leather is made from? I'd originally assumed it was yak and "cowhide" was a misnomer, but yes, they had cattle. Bos turano mongolicus is a breed native to Mongolia and was domesticated.
    – Schwern
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 16:48
  • Thanks for your answer btw, but my question was actually that if they had used cowhide on the interior of their boots. They used leather, I know that. The source of the leather is irrelevant for now to my research. So, did they use cowhide (with the hair of the cow still on it) on the interior for comfort? Commented May 11, 2018 at 3:36
  • @abusafwanmdfarhan - please edit that into your question. Please don't let anyone else go off and do research to answer your question only to find out that what you wanted to know was concealed in a comment on an answer. Questions should contain all the information needed to research the question.
    – MCW
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 22:47
  • @MarkC.Wallace I edited it. Thanks for letting me know. Btw, could you please give the answer which you talked about in the comments. Also provide the sources you talked about Commented May 14, 2018 at 13:21

Multiple pictures posted in support of this question confirm that the outside of the boots were slick - the hair-on side could not have been outside. (simple logic dictates that the hair should go on the inside to keep the foot warm - hair on the outside isn't going to trap any heat. Hair on the outside might work for fashion, but the images indicate that the Mongolian fashion was for bright dye.)

Picture of a gutul

There are also an intimidating number of pinterest links that my have further details. I don't use pinterest, and pinterest is fairly hostile to anyone who doesn't have an account, so I'll leave that research for someone who is pinterest friendly

  • Totally agree on pinterest. Commented May 15, 2018 at 5:50
  • I believe too, that 'inside hair' is more efficient for heat retention. But all animals I know keep warm with growing their hair or feathers towards the outside… So, no, simple logic 'dictates' that 'outside hair' also keeps warm (by trapping air/heat/insulating etc…) Now, if going for efficiency, we would benefit from numbers/data… Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 0:13

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