As the days turn colder, the wooden floors in our Victorian house become distinctly draughty. I’ve just mended my Shepherd of Sweden sheepskin slippers, but my man’s feet are getting chilly so I’ve been on a hunt to find him some stylish slippers. It’s pretty hard to find slippers that are attractive, and when you are buying footwear for a loved one, the last thing you want is to make them look fusty and old.
The top results in a quick image search reveal some rather dubious tastes. Novelty slippers abound. If you fancy warming your toes in a real-life representation of the ‘poop’ emoji, or want to sink your feet into Homer Simpson’s mouth then you are in luck. Maybe you’d prefer to ‘add some magic to your morning’ with some light-up unicorn slippers? All these things are possible, but will not be happening in our household.
During my research on microplastic pollution caused by teabags (see this post for more) I found an article about whether it’s OK to add lint to compost heaps (it’s not advised due to microplasics from synthetic textiles). I’d never really considered this issue, and always thought that people with a ‘natural-fibres-only’ mentality to be a bit extreme—the sort of hessian-loving hippy who eats hemp seeds by the bucket-load and drinks Barleycup. But now I get it. Synthetic fibres are plastic, and when your clothing is washed, they shed microfibres which cause the ‘teeny-tiny’ plastic pollution that is damaging the environment and entering our food chain. With this in mind, I’ve been on the lookout for a pair of slippers that is 100% natural.
Haflinger are a German company who only work with natural materials such as felt, boiled wool and cork. They have a huge range—their felt clogs are gorgeous, but I just didn’t think my partner would like the style. I chose a pair of their Alaska slippers from Shoegarden, which were good quality, but I wasn’t happy with the look and returned them for a refund. After also trying some slipper socks from Falke (which annoyingly contain 30% polyamide) I finally decided it was time to show the slipper shortlist to Joe. He settled on some purple beauties from Glerups, which I ordered through Manchester menswear legends Oi Polloi. Glerups promise high animal welfare standards for their wool, and use vegetable-tanned calfskin for the soles. They also offer a natural rubber sole for some of their styles.
Whether sheepskin, wool and leather can be considered ‘ethical’ is another question. The conundrum of considerations with environment and animal welfare is tricky. I’ve got many vegan friends and would be super interested to know whether anyone has found an environmentally friendly vegan slipper option.
When my sheepskin slippers have finally bitten the dust, I’m dreaming of a pair of these Glerups slipper boots with a rubber sole.
Cosy feet all round!