After a hard day’s work, there’s nothing better than taking off your shoes and putting on a comfortable pair of slippers.
But do you know your jutti from your mukluks? Across the world, footwear traditions vary according to culture and climate.
So put your feet up, and read on for our very own men’s slippers world tour.
Clogs are typically associated with the Dutch, but this form of footwear was once worn right across northern Europe. Cheap, practical and surprisingly comfortable, designs vary enormously between countries. In France, clogs are called ‘sabots’ and it is thought that from this word comes ‘sabotage’.
It is not clear exactly why the footwear of the French peasantry should be linked with industrial skulduggery, but suggestions include disgruntled workers throwing their clogs into the machinery – the equivalent of putting a spanner in the works.
The ubiquitous slipper of choice across the Pyrennean region, the name derives from the word ‘esparto’ – a tough grass from which rope for the soles was made. Canvas topped, the espadrille is the ultimate in light weight breathable footwear.
Modern espadrilles are brightly coloured slip-ons with soles made from jute. The originals were secured to the feet by laces that were wrapped around the ankles.
The Greeks are famed for their spectacular national dress. The full sleeves, embroidered waistcoat and pleated kilt worn by the Evzone guards are finished with a pair of Tsarouhi, the pompom adorned Greek slipper.
The shoe originated in the mountainous regions of the country. It has a pointed toe and the fabulous woolen pompoms, now decorative rather than functional. They were originally a rather unique way of water-proofing the shoe.
The plains Indians opted for the hard soled variety owing to the rugged nature of the terrain and the existence of cacti in the South. But the soft soled moccasins that make such comfortable slippers, were worn by the tribes from the Eastern side of North America.
These peoples typically travelled on foot across the leaf and moss padded forest floors. The footwear was particularly versatile as it offered the hunter gatherers protection for their feet while maintaining the ability to feel the ground through the sole.
Made from reindeer or seal skin the mukluk is soft soled and incredibly light weight; the ultimate ‘Santa’ slipper. Its design is useless in temperate areas where water from wet ground would soon soak through the supple hides, but in the high arctic regions the mukluk is an invaluable piece of kit.
The key lies in the garment’s breathe-ability. In conditions of extreme cold, any perspiration that is not kept away from the skin becomes a dangerous contributor to frostbite, but the mukluk is dry as well as toasty.
In Northern India and Pakistan, the discerning slipper wearer wouldn’t be seen dead without his jutti. A highly distinctive item of footwear, jutti are traditionally made from leather. They are highly decorated with embroidery, bead work and an extended toe that curls up at the end.
It is impossible to put your jutti on the wrong way round because rather than having a left and right slipper – both are the same. Over time, the leather conforms to the feet of the wearer.
The Japanese geta may not look particularly comfortable but their high rise design certainly has an advantage in wet or snowy weather. The traditional geta is formed from a flat piece of wood with two wooden blocks attached beneath.
A cross between a clog and a pair of flip flops, the geta are attached to the foot via a thong which passes between the big toe and first toe. The design was very practical for wearers of the ankle length, Kimono, keeping the expensive garment clear of mud and dirt.
What could be more British than the Churchill slipper? Made from the finest nappa leathers with a cushioned leather sock and real leather sole.
The epitome of elegance and style, we’re sure that however far you travel, you’ll agree that the most comfortable slippers are those designed at home!