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Defining the humble slipper’s place in society

Defining the Humble Slipper’s Place in Society

Slippers are quite simply the ultimate comfort footwear. Few, I’m sure, will be able to think of slippers without immediately feeling a sense of warmth and comfort. Unless, that is, you are of a certain age, when corporal punishment at school was applied with relish by some teachers and your memories are mildly tainted by the slipper as a way to discipline pupils for misdemeanours at school. Nevertheless when used as footwear the slipper is just about as comfy as it gets in the world footwear and millions around the globe love them.

For ladies there are many styles available from classic slip on mules to full slippers whatever style you want we have got a style to suit you. Traditional warm lined slippers or stretchy ballerina style. In terry material, felt or even leather slippers are made in a huge range of functional and attractive materials. You can lounge around your home in soft, cosy and comfortable style. Like a favourite jumper or an armchair a pair of slippers has a comforting and warming quality like no other footwear. And, with the prevalence of wood laminate and solid wood floors, slippers are still essential even in these times of central heating and well insulated houses. When choosing slippers there are many styles to chose from, like low heel slippers in a mule style, flat mule slippers and full slippers some with Velcro fastening, slipper socks, boot slippers, travel slippers, bath slippers and even novelty slippers. There are very nearly as many ladies slippers as there are women to wear them.

Slippers have been around for many hundreds of years with their first recorded use being in 12th Century India. In Japanese culture where manners and rituals are highly stylised house slippers are an important part of social etiquette and are used to indicate demarcation between clean and unclean areas, like outside your house or toilet areas. Some Japanese slippers are even referred to as toilet slippers and used exclusively for use in that part of the house giving no doubt as to their origin. Transgressions such as entering a house in outside shoes are socially frowned upon and caused many problems in relationships with westerners.

In the UK slippers for women essentially symbolise the fact that you are in your home, comfortable and secure in your warm, cosy slippers. Which for many women can create an emotional attachment, not to the slippers themselves but to the warmth and comfort they impart. Take the connotations in our culture surrounding mens slippers. Think of men’s slippers and the image of pipe and slippers is never far behind. This comfortable albeit slightly sentimental view of slippers for men does to a certain extent belie the truth of men’s slippers today. Men can also choose from a large selection of slippers; again styles fall in to categories such as mules and full slippers in a range of materials.  Soft, comfortable slippers for men are a stylish and practical form of footwear that will never go out of fashion. Key to their success is that they do not have a fastening and offer a much less restricted fit to the foot than men’s outdoor shoes. Mule slippers slip on from the back full slippers are often elasticated to allow the foot to slip in from the top but in each case the slipper is designed to provide warmth, ease of wearing and indoor comfort.

Having their origins back in the mists of time slippers are still a hugely significant part of our lives. Changes in taste for interior design have meant that the old fashioned carpet slipper has been superseded by modern slippers with a nod to fashion that keep the foot comfortable and impart a safe, non slip characteristic to this piece of footwear for those who have hard flooring like wood laminate. Novelty slippers have become synonymous with Christmas gifts and many entertainment businesses will issue character slippers, as they are sometimes called, as part of their lucrative merchandising deals. Martial arts have also lead to developments in slipper design with Chinese styles being adopted from those used for walking from the changing area to the practice and fight mats which have then progressed in to the home.

So when you get home and put on your slippers tonight, take a moment to think about the important place slippers have carved out for themselves. Consider, if you will, as you twitter your thoughts to your group of followers, I have a mediocre 46 by the way, chat on Facebook or play your I Pod or any other piece of 21st Century gadgetry for that matter chances are you will be wearing a relic from the 12th Century on your feet that is enhancing the whole experience in a decidedly low tec/high function way in the shape of your not quite as humble as you thought slippers.

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