Once upon a time, slippers were reserved for the hours spent around the house before and after work. But dress codes have changed for the masses working from home this year – business casual, who? – including shoes. Farewell, heels; Hello, fuzzy slides.
Cloud-like open-toe shoes have become a cozy quarantine staple. “They cover all of these reasons and are good for wearing around the house, but you can also go out and be okay in them,” said Beth Goldstein, general manager and industry analyst for fashion, shoes and accessories at NPD Group. (They can also save you a trip to the podiatrist.)
The fuzzy slide trend has been going on since at least 2016 when Rihanna released a Fenty x Puma sandal with faux fur straps. This year’s highlight was Fluff Yeah: Ugg shoe company slippers that were discovered on several celebrities, including Selena Gomez, Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid.
According to Ms. Goldstein, sales of slippers increased by 50 percent from March to November this year compared to 2019, while sales of mules and clogs rose by 25 percent over the same period.
Many of the year’s popular slides have crisscross supports, like the one on Mayberry from EMU.
EMU Australia’s slipper business has grown significantly, said Keith Barnett, president of EMU North America, largely thanks to the sale of the Mayberry. “Wearing slippers outdoors is becoming the new norm,” he said. “And I think it’s here to stay.”
Steve Madden also saw an increase in demand for slippers, which accounted for 9 percent of the company’s sales this year, compared to just 1 percent a year ago, said Karla Frieders, Steve Madden’s chief merchandising officer.
Styles with materials such as faux fur and lambskin were particularly popular, wrote Ms. Frieders in an email. “These weren’t your typical slippers as we designed them for outdoor use on soles as well,” she said.
Likewise, Crocs did well during the pandemic. Heidi Cooley, director of global marketing for the company, said sales increased in wholesale, retail and e-commerce in the third quarter of 2020. The brand has been recognized for working with Bad Bunny and Justin Bieber, as well as donating 860,000 Crocs pairs to frontline health workers. But mostly it was a shoe that reflected the moment: no frills, functional and unusual.
“What we are seeing now is a casualization of the market which, coupled with the increasing shift towards convenience, enables us to meet consumers where they want to be,” Ms. Cooley wrote in an email. “This means comfort, but also simplicity, versatility, self-expression and value – everything that we as a brand are very good at.”
Casual shoes have long revolved around the psychology of relaxation. “When you think about putting on slippers or slipper socks, it always means it was time to relax,” said Ellen Lynch, professor in the accessory design department at FIT, in a telephone interview. “You didn’t have to get dressed for work. You could really enjoy yourself. “
In 1980, when the transit strike stopped subway and bus traffic in New York City, people began to pair work clothes with comfortable shoes that would allow them to walk miles to the office, where they then put on their evening shoes.
When Crocs was founded in 2002, ideas about indoor shoes began to change compared to outdoor shoes. “When they started they were really called the ‘Sunday Times shoe’ because people were comfortable enough on a Sunday to go out in Manhattan, have a cup of coffee, and have a look at the New York Times, and they didn’t have to worry Don’t worry about changing shoes, ”Ms. Lynch said.
Faux fur shoes were popular in earlier decades such as the 1950s, but were largely limited to putting on shoes and mules. Only recently, Ms. Lynch said, fuzzy slippers have “transformed into a more comfortable, durable, but not work-related shoe”.
Who knows that these days workwear is loosely defined and getting back to the office is in the air? Fuzzy slippers could stay here.