The Larousse defines the slipper as a “light, flexible, comfortable, often warm shoe, made for indoors”. However, this has not always been the case: the slipper has not always been a shoe as such, nor an indoor shoe. In addition, even today, the customs surrounding the slipper vary from one country to another.
Here are 5 slipper stories that will change your perception of them.
The slipper is an oriental invention
The oldest slippers that have been found to date have been discovered in Egyptian tombs dating back to the 2nd century. Originating from the Orient, the slippers would be a derivative of the slippers and were used for a long time in the Eastern world before making their way to the West.
Indeed, it was at the end of the Middle Ages that they reached Europe. It was then the peasants who would have taken advantage of them first, using them as socks to put on their wooden clogs for more comfort. This is how, little by little, slippers were invited into our homes, first used by women before gaining popularity with men.
The slipper has therefore not always been only an indoor shoe.
At one time, the word also referred to a shoe intended for the outdoors. Thus, for example, at the time of the kings of France, it was customary to adorn oneself with one's most beautiful slippers to participate in court receptions!
As for France, it was in 1795 that it saw the first slipper factory appear on its land, the Amos Establishments. Located in Alsace, these employed nearly 2,000 people during their best years. However, they definitively closed their doors in 1987, almost two centuries after their creation, following competition that had become too strong.
Cinderella's slipper might not have been glass after all
The slipper that Cinderella wears to the ball has been talked about a lot. Before being written down, the story of Cinderella was a tale passed down orally from generation to generation. However, some claim that, at the time of putting it on paper, Charles Perrault would have been the victim of a homophony of the French language: in reality the shoes would not be made of glass but of vair, which is none other than gray squirrel fur.
Several studies have been carried out on this issue. One of them looked at all the international versions of the tale, which amounts to more than 300 variants. Conclusion: only a handful of versions describe the slipper as glass. A large number of versions claim that it is made of gold, although others describe it as being made of silk or adorned with diamonds, among others. Finally, some versions leave the debate aside by not giving any details on the material of the slipper.
More recently, English students have demonstrated that, scientifically, Cinderella's glass slipper as depicted in Walt Disney's film could not exist. Indeed, the glass would make them too fragile and reluctant to support Cinderella's footsteps. In order for them to withstand the weight of the heroine, the shoes would have to have a heel of only a little more than 1cm, and it would still be difficult to walk and dance in them.
Cinderella's slipper is therefore only a symbol, although it was chosen with care. Indeed, not only does the fact that it is made of glass make it impossible for anyone with a higher shoe size to fit in it, but it also gives a delicate image to Cinderella, who would be the only one who could use them without breaking them. .
In any case, one thing is certain: Cinderella's slipper is far from resembling those we know today, like the Caussün and that we only wear at home!
The charentaise, the French slipper, was created to be slipped into clogs
Invented in the 17th century, the Charentaise is a type of French slipper originating from the Charente region. However, if its name is known to all, few know that it has not always had the same shape as the one we know today.
Indeed, originally, it was created to be used with clogs, continuing the practices of the Middle Ages. Made from scrap felt used in paper mills, it looked more like a big, comfortable sock that kept the feet warm when wearing clogs.
It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that a shoemaker in the region decided to add a rigid sole, thus giving rise to the current model.
It is also said that the slippers were nicknamed “the silent ones” because they allow you to move in silence. So, for example, servants used them to walk around their masters' rooms without them waking up.
In Japan, there are special slippers for the toilet
In many countries, such as Russia and the Czech Republic, it is customary to take off your shoes when entering a home, whether it's ours or someone else's.
However, the Japanese go even further. Indeed, they all have their own slip on slippers at the entrance to their house, and usually have slippers for guests. Their entrance hall, which is the place where you take off your shoes, is called “genkan”, a term originally used to designate the entrance to a temple. It is often separated from the rest of the house by a step. Shoes are only accepted before the walk, and it is therefore imperative to remove them to take the walk.
When they are ordered, the Japanese have the habit of putting their shoes back to the step, towards the front door. This makes it easy to put them on when going out. In the same way, the slippers are on the step, with their back to the shoes, so that they can be quickly put on without ever touching the place reserved for the shoes.
But that's not all: when it comes to using the toilet, it's important to change slippers. In fact, the Japanese have slippers provided especially for this part of the house.
Moreover, the house is far from being the only place where it is obligatory to remove your shoes. This is also the case with the doctor, but also sometimes at school, in restaurants or in the fitting rooms of stores. In this case, you will always find lockers at the entrance in which to put your shoes during your visit.
Even better: many offices ban shoes, forcing employees to work in slippers. Which brings us to the next point…
Working in slippers would make us more productive
Working in slippers would increase our well-being in the office. Indeed, not only would it increase our comfort, but it would also improve our relationships with our colleagues, bringing us closer and allowing us to know them better. We would then be happier, and who says better mood says better efficiency in general!
In any case, this is what Shoegarden and the digital communication agency Camarey claim, but a serious study on the subject still needs to be done. Perhaps you could ask for this to be carried out in your company?
Caussün is the first eco-responsible slipper that offers personalization services for companies.
And you, do you prefer shoes or slippers at home?