Celebs love them – so is it OK to wear slippers outside?

"Late Night With Jimmy Fallon">> at Rockefeller Center on July 20, 2011 in New York City.
Chatting about slippers?
Source: Nick Verreos
The majority of us might associate a pair of comfy slippers with a night on the sofa, feet up, watching the telly, but not so for the star studded showbiz elite.

These days, you’ll see Taylor Swift wear slippers on the red carpet. The irrepressible Ryan Gosling appeared on the US chat show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, wearing – yes – carpet slippers.

So what’s going on? Are outdoor slippers cool? Or are the stars out of step? Here we find out.

The Albert slipper

velvet slippers
Slippers that hiss style
Source: The Funshion Mistress
Prince Albert’s eponymous slippers were a 19th century invention that had their origin in the majestic stately homes of the aristocracy. Lords of the manor sought footwear that didn’t damage their expensive floors but could cope with the outdoors. Enter the leather soled slipper.

Prince Albert refined the design with the addition of velvet and satin, and many added personalised embroidery.

These men’s slippers were the epitome of luxury and were worn at elaborate black tie dinners. In America, they became known as tuxedo slippers.

The Churchill slipper

Winston Churchill was not a man to be messed with, even in his pyjamas. A serial napper and a habitual wearer of slippers, he proved that casual slip-on footwear can be worn for nearly every occasion.

In the 1960s, velvet Albert slippers became popular with America’s elite, and RFK was no exception. Here he is with his children, on the steps of his family home – look at his feet – he’s wearing Albert slippers.

A man not scared by slippers
Source: Bull and Tassel
The most famous outdoor slipper wearer is rarely seen without his jim-jams. Rich, yes. Saintly, no. His behaviour may be questionable, but his sense of style is undoubtedly unique. Say hello to none other than Hugh Hefner.

Not all slipper wearers are saintly
Source: Flickr

Taking the bins out

Outdoor mule
Warming up for outdoors
It seems it’s acceptable for the elite to sport outdoor slippers inside and outside their homes, but what about us mere mortals?

Taking the bins out is a job few people enjoy. But some mens leather slippers are sturdy enough for the rigours of a pebbled path and won’t be worn down too quickly.

Slip-on mules made from nappa leather and with tough man-made soles, are much sturdier than traditional fabric slippers. With their smart looks, mules are perfect footwear for a quick natter over the fence with the neighbours, or a potter around the garden. And they’re equally at home – in the home.

The case against

tesco bans pyjamas
You should have bought some shoes
Source: My Moans
While there are some occasions where it’s fine to slip on your slippers, sometimes PJs and slippers are a definate no-no.

A Cardiff Tesco banned shoppers from wearing pyjamas and slippers to “avoid causing offence or embarrassment to others”. School headteachers in Middlesbrough evidently share the same view, writing to parents to ask them to not wear pyjamas when dropping off their kids.

Seen as lazy and a poor example to children, authorities from Louisiana to Shanghai have adopted anti PJ and slipper policies. Perhaps we’re seeing a return to more formal morning attire.

So are the celebs right? Is it OK to wear your slippers in public. We think the answer is yes – as long as you choose the right ones. For red carpet affairs, pick a pair of luxury Albert slippers, for taking out the bins, Churchill slippers or outdoor mules. For a trip to Tesco stick to loafers.

Bonkers men’s slippers

When most of us think of slippers, we think of keeping warm around the fireplace, kindly old grandfathers, and a nice cup of tea.

However, some people like their slippers to make a statement. Here are our favourite slippers for men, women and children who like to keep their feet warm in unusual ways.

We've heard of 'loaf-ers', but these bread slippers are just what you knead
The original ‘loaf-ers’? We think these bread slippers are just what you knead
Source: Transition Edinburgh Uni
Panzer tank slippers
Image source: Paint Crochet
Slippers for the aspiring Panzer tank driver
Slippers you can drive?
Slippers you can drive?
Source: Tesla motors blog
Cute animal slippers are common. Not many people choose earthworms...
Cute animal slippers are common. Not many people choose earthworms…
Source: Etsy
Clean the floor with these mop slippers
Clean the floor with these mop slippers
Source: Allee Willis
Rasta man slippers
Rasta man slippers
Source: Ebay
LED light slippers
LED light slippers
Source: Toxel
These are supposed to look like sushi, what do you think?
These are supposed to look like sushi, what do you think?
Source: Sushi Booties
Split windscreen VW campervan slippers
Split windscreen VW campervan slippers
Source: Wikipedia
Fold your own: origami slippers
Fold your own: origami slippers
Source: Project X
Homer Simpson slippers
Homer Simpson slippers
Source: Flickr
Take your lawn to the beach
Take your lawn to the beach
Source: TechJi

OK, we know these are technically flip-flops, but in Hawaii flip-flops are called ‘slippers’. That’s good enough for us. Aloha.

Pimp my slippers — patents pending

Slippers have been keeping our feet warm and comfy for centuries, but have you ever felt that they could do more? Well you’re not alone…

In this age of modification, even gentlemen’s slippers haven’t escaped the ingenious and sometimes bizarre pimping skills of footwear designers. Take a look at some of the actual patents pending for men’s slippers.

Puppet / slipper combo

Puppet slippers
Image source: Yastremska
You could be the next Rod Hull, thanks to your slippers

There’s a patent pending for a slipper that also functions as a puppet — yes you heard it correctly. If the conversation is boring you or you’re feeling mildly insane, simply put your slippers on your hands and hey presto — you’re the next Rod Hull.

Made with a flexible sole the slipper easily becomes a puppet with a moving mouth. Gimmicks — don’t you just love/hate ‘em!

Lighted slipper

Do you keep bumping into your furniture at night? Do you have problems seeing around your own house when it’s dark? Well just turn on the lights or a lamp — right?

That’s probably why a patent filed in 2001 for a lighted slipper — that’s a slipper with small ambient lights attached — has expired. An invention needs to solve a problem, but in this case light switches and normal slippers are much better than dark rooms and lighted slippers. Doh!

Skull slippers

Skull Slippers
Image source: Maxoidos
Just what you want on your feet

This patent has already been granted so expect to see this design on sale in underground slipper stores around Halloween. The design is simple and consists of the slipper looking like a skull — the mouth of the skull being the place where you insert your feet.

These skull slippers are sure to steal the show at the Mexican Day of the Dead Festival, but could be a bone of contention in most respectable households.

Shoe / slipper combo

This patent was aimed at women, but the concept of the idea isn’t gender specific, so we’ve included it. It’s basically a slipper inside a shoe.

So you’ve been on a long walk around the city in your shoes and now you want to relax beside a roaring fire. Only you forgot your slippers. No you didn’t! They’re inside your shoes. Wow — this is surely a must-have item for those people that transport their car inside their camper van when they’re on holiday.

Heated vibrating slipper

Warm slippers
Image source: oocoskun
This is so early 2000s. Where is the electric motor and heat-emitting wire and battery pack?

The proposer of a patent for a heated, vibrating slipper has been left hanging since 2007. If we were to speculate why then it would probably be because there isn’t really enough room in a slipper to house an electric motor and a heat-emitting wire and battery pack.

We’re pretty sure there would also be some serious health and safety issues with a fur-lined slipper housing a heating mechanism. Though what a flaming great training tool for Olympic sprinters — Water!

Musical Slipper

What could be a better addition to this uneventful world than a musical animal slipper? You’d be the talk of the party with these bad boys on your feet. What’s that noise? Well, it’s my musical slippers that are shaped like puppies.

Actually the 2001 application for a patent hasn’t been granted yet and doesn’t look like it will be either. We’re really sorry about that one, chaps.