Behind the Design | House Slippers

June 01, 2015

Growing up in a Japanese (American) household, it was pretty much a given that shoes left your feet at the doorway. Our family didn't actually use house slippers much, but in any case, it was still a very prevalent thing in my early life. If you've ever been to Japan, you'll relate. Slippers lining the entry of every house. Slippers in restaurants. Slippers basically anywhere indoors.

This was actually an idea that I've had for several years now, with the first iteration dating back probably close to four years (see picture below, pair to the right). I distinctly remember hand cutting and sewing these up on tour—in the dressing room at the Howard Theatre in Washington DC—to be exact. These have seen a lot of wear since then but you can see—even in this primitive version—that the leather has distinctly formed to my feet for a super custom fit.

Fast forward several years to the second pair (to the left). We started discussing product ideas for the Quarterly Subscription and decided it was a perfect outlet to try these out on a broader scale. We drafted the patterns into CAD, scaled for sizing, and fired off a pair to test. The design is fairly unchanged from the first attempt. Again, if you compare these to a brand new pair, it's super apparent how much they've form-fitted. This starts become apparent even just a few days in.

The thing that was most up-in-the-air was how to attach the sole. Even with the first pair, I tried two different methods; and again, with the second pair (hence the stitching on one heel and not the other). 

For the final subscription version, we ended up going with a sturdier 9oz sole, with the upper and insole at 5oz. We stitched the upper onto the insole and cemented the outsole to it, effectively covering up the stitching, saving it from wear. If used correctly, the contact cement will have a stronger bond than the leather fibers itself, and is the same stuff shoemakers use to glue their soles. So with the sole securely glued and stitching relatively same from harm, these guys should be slipping around your home for quite a while.

There's a good chance we'll play around and expand on this idea in the near future!

P.S. If you're interested in having a pair made for yourself, let us know by filling out this form. And don't forget you can hop aboard the Quarterly Subscription train if you'd like to be a part of future surprise radness delivered to your door!