Ötzi’s shoes - the Similaun mummy

The history of footwear is as old as the history of man and has gone hand in hand with his path towards modernity

to make the laces and uppers. The first graphic evidence of human footwear dates back about 15,000 years and was found in Spanish rock paintings.
The best example of a prehistoric “wardrobe” is that belonging to the Similaun mummy, Ötzi. This “ice man”, who lived 5,300 years ago, was discovered in 1991 in an Italian alpine glacier in South Tyrol, on the border with Austria.

After being recovered, the mummy was still wearing its right shoe, which was later removed by scholars to be analysed and restored. Only the mesh part remains of the left shoe.

Ötzi’s shoes were made with several layers of easily decomposable natural materials: the interior was made of a linden net, which held the dry grass padding in place with the function of thermal insulation. The upper was made of deerskin and, like the mesh, was sewn to the sole, also made of leather but turned inside out.
The shoe was tightened to the foot and closed with raffia laces.



Ötzi - mummia del Similaun


Scarpa Ötzi - mummia del Similaun


Experiments conducted on faithfully reproduced copies of these shoes have shown that they can be comfortably used even for fairly long journeys. Moreover, the thermoregulatory and permeable natural materials used keep the feet at a constant temperature in all seasons.

The modern footwear market is currently moving towards a concept of using specific natural products for the foot’s well-being. Consumers are also increasingly conscious and want to use recyclable and biodegradable products

Companies which have invested in the search for new future construction materials are increasingly aware that the right choice is to abandon fossil sources, i.e. those from which we extract raw materials to produce synthetic ones (i.e. plastic).


IMPRONTASANA® is a company in South Tyrol that has adopted these principles as its mission. It continuously researches and creates ECO-insoles, made with natural materials from renewable sources, that can be inserted into any footwear. The goal is also to raise collective awareness of conscious consumption choices, modifying our shopping habits to preserve our planet and protect future generations.