Why is a slipper called a slipper… and other things

Lazy Dogz Women's Dachsund Slipper

We have a nice simple answer for you! A slipper is called a slipper, because you ‘slip’ it on. But, we can’t just leave it at that, so we’ve answered some of those rambling questions that keep you up at night too.

Who invented slippers?

Well… that’s a long and convoluted story. There are multiple accounts and different countries would like to claim responsibility for this comfy invention. Countries such as Vietnam and India can show records going back to the 12th century and the 15th century in the Western hemisphere. So that’s the end of the argument, right?

Well… that’s open for debate. The slipper has evolved over the centuries and has varied in function depending on where you are. In the earliest notes in Vietnam, the slipper was akin to what we in Britain now know as a flip flop. Here, “a Southern Song Dynasty Officer where he describes two types of slipper he saw in what is now Vietnam. These slippers had a thong to fit between the toes or a leather strap across the foot and the outsoles would have been made of leather.”

Slippers as we know them today didn’t really appear until the Victorian era. This time period saw the introduction of the ‘Prince Albert Slipper’ which were comprised of a velvet slipper with a quilted silk lining and a leather outsole. These were specifically worn amongst the aristocracy during black tie, all men dinners, but later found their way into the public. Then they were worn in smoking rooms and clubs across the country, which led them to eventually becoming known as ‘smoking slippers’. Today, smoking slippers are worn by both men and women, but they aren’t the only slippers we have to choose from!

Smoking slippers aren’t all we have today. Now we have mules and mocassins, driving style slippers and boots. Materials are just as varied. Suede, faux fur, synthetic materials, wool… You get the picture.

What are driving shoes called driving shoes?

This sentence autocompletes in Google, that makes me very happy. We went to the men’s style bible that is GQ for an answer, and it’s a relatively simple one. They were and are “leather or suede moccasins with rubber-grommet soles — were invented for men who wanted extra grip while driving seriously gorgeous Italian roadsters.” (GQ)

We wouldn’t recommend driving in our ‘driving shoe style’ slippers, ours are designed for when you’re indoors, but who knows what you’ll get up to in them! With a real suede upper and faux fur lining, putting on a pair of Percy’s is like taking your feet on a little holiday without all the hassle of catching a flight. The TPR sole is hardwearing and is durable enough to protect your soft slippers and your feet if you venture outside from time to time.

With all that said, let’s move on to mule slippers, because the story for the mule is weirder.

Why are mules called mules?

The slightly odd name comes from France, but originally it’s from ancient Rome! Mulleus calceus (how do you pluralise that?) were worn by the 3 highest magistrates in ancient Rome and were painted either red or purple to denote their high status. There are some frescos remaining which show these ancient mules, but they don’t look much like the mules we know and love today. Technically, a mule is a (usually) closed toe shoe with an open back, and the heel can be any height; but that’s as specific as it gets. So a mule can be a formal shoe which is covered in gems, or it can a fluffy slipper that you slide into after a long day at work.

Personally, we’re bigger fans of the slipper mule. Lazy Dogz have quite a few to choose from but the … is a truly stunning example of comfy luxury. With a double brushed faux fur lining and memory foam footbeds it’s like walking on a cloud (but with a cuter design!)

Let’s go further afield than Europe, and look at the slippers we’ve adopted from across a bigger ocean.

Why are Moccasins called Moccasins?

Moccasins are derived from Native American cultures, clothes varied from tribe to tribe, but moccasins were nearly a universal element. Original moccasins were made with soft leathers, usually deerskin, and stitched with sinew. You can find out more about traditional Native American moccasins, here. Thanks to subtle differences in the patterns, tribes could identify each other by the patterns on their shoes.

Today, we don’t use moccasins to identify groups, but you can identify them as a mark of classical and timeless styling. And, more often than not, in the UK they’re not made of deerskin; but we still love them. At Lazy Dogz, we make our moccasins with genuine suede uppers and luxurious faux fur linings. Then we finish them off with hardwearing soles and put them in a branded gift box, ready to be presented to a loved one (or enjoyed all to yourself!)

We’re going to leave the slipper stories there for today, but not without asking you a question… What are your favourite kinds of slippers? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below!


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