How Covid-19 has glorified the house shoe

Written by Hannah Cole

The house shoe. Never so revered as during this unique moment in time. From Birks to Suicokes, we share our new-found loves.

Covid-19 has tarnished almost every touchpoint of life — from the very serious health precautions, down to the more trivial in the way we dress. Regarding the latter, loungewear and tracksuits have become much sought-after wardrobe staples. We’re leaning into the whole ‘business up top, relaxed down below’ aesthetic, i.e. Zoom appropriate attire. Personally, my greatest sartorial change has been the addition of the house shoe, or glorified slipper, if you will.

No, no, these are not your ordinary UGG boots spotted at campgrounds and within awkward early 00s photo albums. These shoes are so much more.

The new realm of slipper-hood perfectly marries high fashion labels and sleek aesthetics with optimum comfort. They are cosy and snug — a warm blanket for your tootsies — yet maintain an essential sense of put-togetherness. When at home (working or otherwise), the idea of lacing up chunky sneakers or donning leather boots is laughable: Why bother with the accoutrements? It’s not like my soles need protection from the grime of the outside world when they are merely padding back and forth on the floorboards. As I have learnt — much like the jeans vs. activewear argument — shoes can make a difference when it comes to productivity and alertness. The house shoe is my fool-proof solution.

I must admit that I didn’t come into this awakening all on my own. I found inspiration in my preferred nutrition-meets-fashion Instagrammer, Bianca Valle, who readily sports a house “chew” (as she affectionately calls it). She gets down to business in an assortment of options: classic Adidas pool slides, sporty Hoka One One recovery slides, etc. A cute sock and slide combo and she is ready to go.

“Lauren Manoogian offers the Mono Mule — an alpaca wool dreamboat for toast feet (think of them as the fluffy Crocs you will actually want to be seen in).”

Although my original stream of thought was untainted by Covid-19, the house shoe does have more relevance than ever. The Japanese are known for advocating this tradition: removing shoes at the door, swapping for a pair of indoor slippers. The whole idea of this being that the ‘dirty’ outside world is symbolically left behind. Only now it is not so symbolic; it is quite a realistic and potentially health-conscious notion. Stories have emerged — particularly from the US — of those who leave the house for groceries quickly changing into “house’ clothes and shoes as they re-enter and sanitising the pieces that made it out.

Considering how incredibly lucky we have been in Australia and New Zealand so far, this idea hasn’t become widely necessitated. In saying that, even on an everyday level, it makes sense to keep our outside shoes clear of our clean interiors. I finally understand the relevance of the genkan; it’s so much more than a space to change our shoes (somewhat begrudgingly at times). It’s a practice I’m content on keeping, regardless of how quickly normal life resumes.

The house shoes winning factor, though, is that it doesn’t need to be relegated to homely events alone. If you revert to your standard ways, there is no reason why you cannot let your slippers make a public appearance. They are high fashion, after all. Repeat after me: if The Row can do it, so can I. Fun socks, an anklet or two, and an air of confidence will get you almost anywhere.

Not sure where to start shopping? I found my true love in Suicoke’s calf-hair slides which strike a balance between sporty aesthetic and utter cosiness. Lauren Manoogian offers the Mono Mule — an alpaca wool dreamboat for toast feet (think of them as the fluffy Crocs you will actually want to be seen in). French label, Fur Deluxe, uses vintage recycled shearling to craft the most luxe little slippers. Birkenstocks are, of course, a mainstay in this realm. Whether you stick to the classics or indulge in a pair from the Proenza Schouler collaboration is entirely up to you. Or take a turn toward the techy and check out the OG Visvim Christo slides – embrace the cool dad trend and dig into a more masculine aesthetic.

Cosy on up — in health, and in style.

house shoes

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