Everything You Need To Know About Wool Slippers - Flexible, Warm and Comfortable
After all, the wool of a black sheep is just as warm. - Ernest Lehman
On a cold winter morning nothing is better than slipping your feet into a pair of warm comfy slippers. But lately you may have noticed a new footwear trend, wool. Wool slippers and shoes have become one the biggest must haves in the last couple years thanks to their astonishingly soft and cozy feel. This innovative footwear material has dozens of incredible properties that make it perfect for your daily slipper yet many people are still unsure whether it is the right fit for them. For that reason we have created the following guide to wool slippers in an attempt to answer some of our patrons most frequent questions.
Table of Contents:
The Life Span of Wool Slippers
Wool has traditionally been used in high end clothing due to its ability to hold its shape and last a long time. This ability to hold up and resist worn patches has made it a tailors favorite over traditional fabrics like cotton. Further the process of boiling wool to create felt creates a robust, lightweight fabric which is great at insulating heat. Perfect for Slippers.
How Many Years Can You Expect?
The two most popular brands for wool slippers are New Zealand's Glerups and Germanies Haflingers. A deep dive into some online forums and talking with previous owners about their experience with wool slippers confirms that many people have owned theirs for years, and that most people getting somewhere between 3-5 years out of each pair.
What Is Most Likely to Break
In our experience Haflinger, Glerups, and Wool Slippers in general are most likely to break in the front left of the toe box where the hallux ("big toe") contacts the felt. Luckily if a hole does form in the felt of your slippers it can often be repaired by flipping the slipper inside out and sewing it closed. Regardless this is rare and may be indicative of a improper fit.
Wool Slipper and Odor
Part of what makes wool so incredible for slippers is its natural ability to clean itself and resist odors. This is thanks to wools absorption qualities which allows it to absorb twice the water vapor as cotton and over 20 times as much as polyester. This absorption stops your skin from building up sweat reducing the bacteria growth that causes odors.
Are Wool Slippers Worth the Price?
A pair of high quality wool slippers from a reputable brand such as Glerups or Haflinger will cost you about $99.00 to $160.00 CAD. This can be a substantial increase from slippers most of us are use to. So it begs the question are they worth it? Simply put, yes.
What Goes Into the Price
Wool Slippers especially higher quality pairs offer large advantages over your standard pair of slippers. The first being, of course, the wool. The layered felted wool that brands such as Haflinger and Glerups use is more durable, molds to your foot better, and is more comfortable than a standard fabric slipper.
Glerups which cost in the area of $100.00 to $130.00 CAD are handcrafted with features such as Calfskin lowers that are stitched and glued to insure durability, rubber soles for indoor and outdoor wear, and quality wool from New Zealand farmers.
Haflingers are equally impressive in their material and build quality. With high arch support designed to maximize foot health, contoured cork footbeds that continues to adapt to your feet as you wear it, and 100% pure wool felt uppers.
Wool Slippers and Itchy Feet
A main concern we hear from our patrons interested in purchasing wool slippers is "will it itch?". The answer is generally no. The treatment and processing of both Glerups and Haflingers wool makes them incredible soft. These slippers do not feel like a old itchy wool sweater!
The Manufacturing of Wool Slippers
The basic process for manufacturing wool slippers is as follows:
Once the wool has been sheared it is washed in soft water. The washed wool is then carded and felted. The felt is then formed into a sock and steam-felted for the perfect fit. The steam-felted sock will then be glued and sewed to the sole.
Glerups have produced an incredible video on the production of their wool slippers. We recommend you give it a watch to better understand the craftsmanship that goes into each pair.
Where Are They Made
Wool slippers are made all over the world. But we will discuss the two largest and brands Glerups and Haflinger.
Glerups are designed in Denmark and manufactured at at the company owned factory in Romania.
Haflingers are designed in Germany and manufactured at factories across Europe with most being constructed in Ukraine, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Poland.
Materials Used in Wools Slippers
Wool slippers use felted wool to construct the upper part of the shoe. Wool is used because it wicks moisture and sweat away from your feet. This property keeps your feet dry, reduces bacteria buildup, and resists odors. In addition, wool uppers provide stability, durability, and a sturdy but breathable material. The wool used in the construction of slippers is usually washed to interlock the fibers into a thick layer 5mm which is formed to fit the foot.
Leather & Calfskin Soles (Glerups)
Glerups are made with only two main materials wool and calfskin leather. The calfskin leather is is sourced from European tanneries to ensure that it meets all environmental requirements in the EU. Glerups also uses the most environmentally friendly methods for tanning their skin so you can be comfortable knowing they are free of PCP, AZO dyes and Chromium-VI.
Cork & Rubber (Haflinger)
Haflinger constructs its footbed and sole out of rubber and a cork-latex mixture. The cork-latex mixture is anatomically shaped to promote proper foot health while simultaneously cushioning your steps. An incredible property of this blend of cork and latex is its ability to mold and adapt to your foot overtime. The cork layer is protected with a rubber slip-resistant sole which provides further shock absorption as well as versatility. Haflinger can be worn inside or outside thanks to this design.
Keeping Your Feet Warm With Wool Slippers
We often get asked by our patrons "are wool slippers going to be too hot?" or "will wool slippers really keep my feet warm?". Well, we can confidently say your feet will be neither too hot nor too cold in a pair of wool slippers. This is thanks to wools natural wicking and insolating properties. Wool retains a very moderate temperature while also wicking moisture away. This leaves your feet warm but not sweaty. Many wool slipper owners we talk to find the mix of socks and wool slippers to be the perfect balance of warmth, many also prefer slippers and nothing else. Regardless of your preference slippers such as Glerups and Haflinger will be a treat for your feet!
How to Wash and Maintain Wool Slippers
Glerups has great instructions on how to properly wash and maintain your wool slippers. We have included it below: