I am a slipper slut. I admit it. I love slippers the way many women love shoes which is to say….a lot. If I had my way I would have a walk-in closet with two huge racks holding a complete wardrobe of slippers. This wardrobe would hold an explosion of colors and comforting styles. I would have a pair for whatever mood my feet were in.
Well, a girl can dream.
For now, I have two pairs of slippers. I wear one pair without socks and the other with socks. It’s not that I am finicky – it all boils down to comfort. The barefoot pair are divine right up next to my skin. The socky pair are a bit big and thus feel best when the socks take up some of the extra space.
My love of slippers began with a simple pair of Chinese slippers that I bought for $6 at Pearl River in New York City. They were mules that had Chinese embroidered fabric on the tops and simple cotton soles. I loved them because after awhile the footbed would form to your foot and they felt like gloves on your feet. I wore my first pair so long that they ended up falling apart and it was then that I discovered that the inside of the footbed was made of a thin pile of newspapers. Who needs memory foam? The Chinese has figured out how to make slippers truly comfortable while also recycling! Long ago, slippers in China were called “Jixie.” It is believed that they originated in the Han Dynasty (206BC-23AD) and were often embroidered with auspicious patterns, such as images of dragons and phoenix. My Pearl River cheapies weren’t nearly as fancy as that, but they pulled me into a love of slippers that will last a lifetime, I am sure.
Many people love moccasin slippers, which have a wonderful history. The Native Americans first created moccasins with the stiff skin of the animals they killed for food. The softer leather was used for clothing but the stiff skin was great for footwear as it was both durable and lasting. Moccasins were often decorated in accordance with tribal colors and customs, using bead work and fringing to make each pair unique. They were also often hand painted, depicting scenes from nature and Native American life. Here is a gorgeous, historic pair that can be seen at the Brooklyn Museum.Recently, there’s been an fantastic explosion of handmade slippers coming out of Latvia and Lithuania and available on Etsy. When my sister had an important birthday recently, I bought her the pair pictured below and they are incredible. My sister reports that they are supremely comfortable and her only problem with them is that sometimes, they are actually too warm. (Didn’t know that could even be a problem!)
When talking to people about falling into Slipper Love, I always say this: know yourself, both your lifestyle and your feet and then don’t stop until you’ve found the perfect slippers. They’re out there, those slippers. Go forth and search! Your feet will thank you for it.
Lorne Holden is an artist and author of the Bestseller “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/ The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” She is currently at work on her next book “MAKE IT HEALTHY” which will be out later this year. And yes, she writes in her slippers.