ushanka hat

Flapped hat from Russia

A Ushanka, translates as literally ‘ear hat’, is a Russian fur cap with ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears, jaw and lower chin from the cold.

The thick dense fur also offers some protection against blunt impacts to the head. While no match for a helmet, it offers protection far superior to that of a typical beanie cap should the wearer fall and hit his or her head against ice or packed snow.

In 1934, the ushanka became a part of the uniform of the Navy of the Red Army and took on the form known by everyone today. It was still made of black cloth, but in 1939, the cloth was replaced by leather. The ushankas of the highest and senior command staff were made of black lamb fur, and caps of medium command staff and conscripts were made of black sheep fur.

The word ushanka derives from ushi, ‘ears’ in Russian.

Famous Ushanka wearers

  • The Red Army
  • President Brezhnev
  • President Ford

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