A Brief History of Slippers
You come home, throw yourself on the sofa and get ready to relax in the warm whilst the winter battles away outside – the only problem is, your feet are still cold and feel isolated without protection, even inside. The solution as we know is to wrap them up in a pair of slippers, but how did they come about, and why do we wear the same designs now?
We don’t have the answer to the first question, as what we know as slippers today can be traced back through to the beginnings of human history. What we can tell you though is how they have been influenced through different cultures and developed into what they are today.
Royal Approval & Darker Beginnings
The ‘Albert’ slipper was first popularised in Britain during the early 1800’s as a fashion choice for the elite. Worn at stately dinners and important events, the formal quilted and luxuriously designed footwear option became something of a fashion craze and worn all the way up to the 1950’s, with Hollywood stars of the time being seen in them.
Slippers however, were not always this glamorous. The Mule variation of slippers are said to have developed from the necessity to avoid the concubines of rich Sultan’s from escaping, as they were unsuited to the outside grounds and paths.
Moccasins are hand-stitched Native American designed shoes traditionally made from dear hide. These shoes were highly decorated with tribal designs that were unique to each pair. The hard wearing outer material makes for slippers that are perfect for daring outside, and have become the perfect balance between the inside and outside footwear choice during winter.
The Moroccan ‘Babouche’ style has spread continents due to its incredibly soft construction and unusual appearance. Its slip on design allowed the wearer to take them off and on with minimal effort, especially important for religious areas where wearing shoes is seen as disrespectful. Due to the importance of trade in North Africa, this style has spread to France and beyond, cementing its place in the fashion world and becoming a decorative ornament for the wealthy today.
The earliest recording of slippers in text was found in 1478 – yet Spanish cave paintings show hunters wearing animal skin and fur around their feet thousands of years prior, although, we imagine they weren’t as comfy as their modern counterparts.