FAQs

1. Why are these vests “works or art”?

Altaika vests are works of art, i.e., they are the result of creative artisanship, with strong, unique, imaginative or aesthetic appeal. Our vests represent the soul of the artist, which makes for very intricate detail and an attractive presentation. Our vests offer you a certain aesthetic that is above and beyond its uses or applications.

2. Why are Altaika vests unique?

Each vest is the only one of its kind. They are made of so many different pieces of sheepskin, each having a multitude of shapes and sizes, that no two are alike. It will make you stand out in the crowd. It will make you feel connected to something particularly remarkable, special, and distinctive, your own unique individuality and freedom.

3. Are Altaika vests handmade?

Altaika vests are made by hand. This gives them something human which a machine cannot reproduce. Altaika Uplanders are handmade and sewn with needle and thread. Check it out!

4. What are Altaika Mosaic Vests?

Mosaic vests are pieces of art made from many small pieces of sheepskin. Each one is a different color. They blend together to make something that will look truly exceptional on you! Just as it has been used in decorative art, you can now use it to showcase the many pieces that make up you as a unique individual!

5. Why are Altaika Vests made of so many pieces?

That is what makes these works of art. Art communicates freedom, gives character and individuality, and sets us apart from the run-of-the-mill vests that everyone else produces. We are unique. Some of our vests have over 300 pieces – that is a narrative hard to beat.

6. How long does it take to make a vest?

The greater number of pieces, the longer it takes. If the vest has 300 pieces, it might take 3 to 4 days to make a single vest. No vest takes less than one full day for a single artisan.

7. Where do the sheep who supply the materials for the vests come from?

The sheep come from either Central Asia or Anatolia. In Central Asia, either from the steppes or mountains, including the Tien Shan, Pamir or Altai.

8. Where is Central Asia?

The central region of Asia, extending from the Caspian Sea in the west to the border of western China in the east. The region consists of the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.

9. What is Central Asian Steppe?

An extensive plain, especially one without trees, in Central Asia and beyond. The vast grasslands extending from Mongolia and China all the way to Ukraine.

10. How do you get the sheepskins for the vests?

Just like cowhide is used to produce materials throughout the world, so is sheepskin in Central Asia and the Middle East. Sheep are also the main source of proteins in Central Asia, and has been a major source of food for millennia!

11. Who makes these sheepskin works of art?

They are made by two adult artisans in Kazakhstan.

12. Can I purchase an item as a gift and have it shipped to someone else?

Yes. After filling out your billing information you may fill out a different name and address for the recipient of the gift.

13. How can I place my order?

You can place an order online through www.altaika.com.  We also have exclusive offers on Amazon.com.

14. What payment methods can I use?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards, as well as most bank debit cards, and Paypal.

15. Do you accept PayPal?

We accept Paypal.

16. Shipping and processing?

Our shipping and processing charges include the costs for processing your order, handling and packaging, and delivery. Plus extra care and attention is put into the effort to make sure we get your order right and on time.

17. What shipping methods can I choose from?

At this time, all of our shipping is done through FedEx.

18. Can you ship to an international address?

Yes! When you order your vest click the box that says, “International Shipping.” Once you have completed your order you will receive an order number. Please send a request to customer.service@altaika.com. Please include the address you’d like to ship to, and the order number you received when you placed your order. When we receive the go ahead from you, we will ship your order. Any applicable duties, taxes and brokerage fees are not included. Such fees, if applicable, are the responsibility of the purchaser.

19. Will I receive an email confirmation when my order ships?

Yes, if your email address is on file with us, we will send you a confirmation email with your tracking information once your order has shipped.

20. How do I track my order online?

This is done through the shipping service. If we have your email on file, we will provide you with a tracking number, and you can track your order on the shipping services website.

21. What is the difference in sheepskin & shearling?

Sheepskin & Shearling are two words for the same material. A shearling is a sheared sheepskin. Depending on the type of sheepskin, some is heavier or lighter. Generally, our sheepskin is heavy and thick for all kinds of outdoor use.

22. How do I make sure to get the right size?

Go to the sizing chart. https://altaika.com/sizing/ Measure yourself before placing your order. The measurement of each vest is indicated next to the vest; it is the only one in the world. For your convenience, each vest has a regular size (S,M,L,XL etc) associated with it. We recommend that you purchase a vest one size larger than your regular size. This is done to accommodate for wearing the vest over a sweater or jacket.

23. Why are the vests made out of many pieces?

From the mountains, steppes, and glaciers of Central Asia, we bring you a thousand-year-old tradition—a tradition we have dubbed “Altaika.” Altaikas can be made of hundreds of different pieces of genuine sheep leather. They are handcrafted by expert local craftsmen living at the foothills of the Tien Shien Mountain Range. These are not just used for keeping warm they also reflect the individuality and freedom of the wearer. Just as there are many pieces in an Altaika, there are many pieces that make up each one of us.

24. Shopping cart won't let me proceed?

After you have added your item to your basket. You will be asked to select size. KNOW – If you select the vest, that is because you like it and it fits. Remember that each vest is unique. What you see is what there is. There is no other! You selected it because you already measured and know that it fits. Remember to select one size larger than your regular size to accommodate for wearing a sweater or coat beneath your unique Altaika.

25. Can I place an order by phone?

If you would like to speak to a customer service or sales representative on the phone please email customer service at customer.service@altaika.com.

26. Can I purchase an item as a gift and have it shipped to someone else?

Yes. After filling out your billing information you may fill out a different name and address for the recipient of the gift.

27. Can I receive my item (s) gift wrapped?

For sure! Just shoot an email to customer.service@altaika.com with your request, and we’ll wrap it up, place it in a nice gift bag, and ship it to you! No extra charge applies for this service. It is our pleasure!

28. An overview of Altaika Sheepskin Vests

Altaika vests (Waistcoats in UK) come in various styles, colors, and shapes – each vest unique and unrepeatable. Active fit provides for a full range of motion; non-chafing seams (100% sheepskin, cowhide or deerskin) lets you move comfortably whether on their own or under a shell jacket or sweater. Altaikas work well as an outer layer for any outdoor activity. Perfect for most any outdoor activity! We use 100% Central Asian or Turkish sheepskin. Trim is deerskin (for soft look), sheepskin, or cowhide. We use materials that are otherwise thrown away or burned. We let nothing go to waste and make absolutely unique one-of-a-kind products. Details:

  • Made with 100% sheepskin. No polyester or non-organic materials except for the zipper
  • Number of pieces: each vest is unique with minimum number of 10 and maximum of 500 individual pieces. Exception: some items have fur that is facing outwards, and are often made with just a few pieces. Each vest is carefully sewn together by hand
  • Many have a high collar for protection against the cold
  • Traditional left and right pockets; some vests have hoods.
  • Cuffs and hems reinforced with genuine leather (garment quality sheepskin, deerskin or cowhide); a few vests have interior lining.
  • Some vests have the original markings from the tannery visible on the outside or an occasional other mark
  • Other individualized details depending on the master craftsman

From Central Asian to the Belukha Mountain region at the cross roads of Kazakhstan, Siberia, Mongolia and China, we bring you these exceptionally rugged, rustic vests that will keep you moving comfortably when the cold weather hits. No two patterns are the same nor geometrically symmetrical. Colors will not be uniform and are mismatched. Most vests are scruffy with scratches and marks as was the case 1000 years ago. We do all this on purpose to give character, spice and distinctiveness. There is no machine-like perfection in our vests. Each vest/waistcoat is sewn up using many different pieces of sheepskin. In some cases, we use vintage leather pieces. The vests are durable, and hold up under pressure.  The good news is that if a seam eventually starts to come undone (as with any clothing), you will have the unique opportunity to participate in this thousand-year-old tradition by doing a re-stitch, further making that vest authentically yours! Ideal for camping or hiking, fishing or birding.  Whatever your adventure, please tell us about it by emailing customer service!

Altaika Men’s Sizing chart (Centimeters)
XS S M L XL 2XL 3XL
Chest 77 – 82 87 – 92 97 – 102 107 – 112 117 – 122 127 – 132 137 – 142
Waist 67 – 72 77 – 82 87 – 92 97 – 102 107 – 112 117 – 122 137 – 132
Hips 77 – 82 87 – 92 97 – 102 107 – 112 117 – 122 127 – 132 137 – 142
Altaika Men’s Sizing chart (Inches)
XS S M L XL 2XL 3XL
Chest 30.3 – 32.3 34.3 – 36.2 38.2 – 40.2 42.1 – 44.1 46.1 – 48.0 50.0 – 52.0 53.9 – 55.9
Waist 26.4 – 28.3 30.3 – 32.3 34.3 – 36.2 38.2 – 40.2 42.1 – 44.1 46.1 – 48.0 50.0 – 52.0
Hips 30.3 – 32.3 34.3 – 36.2 38.2 – 40.2 42.1 – 44.1 46.1 – 48.0 50.0 – 52.0 53.9 – 55.9
Altaika Women’s Sizing chart (Centimeters)
XS S M L XL 2XL
Chest 81 – 84 86 – 89 91 – 94 97 – 102 104 – 109 112 – 119
Waist 63 – 66 68 – 71 73 – 76 79 – 84 86 – 91 94 – 101
Hips 88 – 90 93 – 95 98 – 100 104 – 108 111 – 115 119 – 125
Altaika Women’s Sizing chart (Inches)
XS S M L XL 2XL
Chest 31.9 – 33.1 33.9 – 35.0 35.8 – 37.0 38.2 – 40.2 40.9 – 42.9 44.1 – 46.9
Waist 24.8 – 26.0 26.8 – 28.0 28.7 – 29.9 31.1 – 33.1 33.9 – 35.8 37.0 – 39.8
Hips 34.6 – 35.4 36.6 – 37.4 38.6 – 39.4 40.9 – 42.5 43.7 – 45.3 46.9 – 49.2
Altaika Boys’ and Girls’ Sizing Chart (Centimeters)
S M l
Age 3-4 5-6 7-8
Chest, cm 56-58 61-64 66-69
Waist, cm 52-53 55-56 58-60
Hips, cm 59-61 64-66 69-71
Height, cm 97-104 112-119 127-132
Altaika Boys’ and Girls’ Sizing Chart (Inches)
S M l
Age 3-4 5-6 7-8
Chest, in 22,1- 22,8 24,0- 25,2 25,9- 27,2
Waist, in 20,5- 20,9 21,7- 22,1 22,8- 23,6
Hips, in 23,2- 24,0 25,2- 25,9 27,2- 27,9
Height, in 38,2- 40,9 44,1- 46,9 50,0- 51,9

Sorry, there are no available payment methods for online store purchase at the moment. Please contact us at customer.service@altaika.com if you require assistance or wish to make alternate arrangements. Dismiss