Home Essentials Slip-on Trend: Beyond Comfort, A Fashion Culture Accessible to All

Slip-on Trend: Beyond Comfort, A Fashion Culture Accessible to All

Slip-on Trend: Beyond Comfort, A Fashion Culture Accessible to All
Photo credit: Olivia O'Connor| Unsplash

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “slip-on” is a noun for a piece of clothing that is easily put on or taken off. For example, a glove or shoe without a fastener, or a belt that you put on and tighten without having to fasten it.

As for the shoes, these are laceless models ideal for both men and women, which can be put on in no time. The term encompasses a wide range of footwear, from classic loafers to modern laceless sneakers.

Slip-on shoes represent a revolution in the footwear world, because they offer comfort and style without the complication of traditional laces. Their practicality is also evident in the way they adapt to different occasions, from informal moments to more formal situations.

The Historical Journey of Laceless Shoes

The first appearances date back to Ancient Rome, where  the mulleus calceus was worn, a shoe worn mainly by the three highest magistrates, but originally intended for the bedroom.

At the same time, in India, the Mojari were born, the shoes without laces used to show the wealth and power of the Mughals, the last dynasty before the European conquest. These slippers were quite ornate, often woven with zari (gold and silver threads) and embellished with jewelry. They were immensely popular among Indian queens and kings in the richest period for their country. The design is conceived as a shoe to be worn, without laces, with the side and back almost exposed.

Moving forward in time, during the sixteenth century they were often depicted in paintings such as “The Swing” by Jean-Honoré Fragonard or “La Toilette” by François Boucher.

Up to the moccasin. Arriving in the United States from Asia, it was later adapted by Indian tribes and evolved due to the different climates and habitats of North America.

In 1615, Europeans came into contact with this shoe, especially the shoemakers who frequented royal families, and the journey of slip-on shoes continues, marked by different variations by different communities around the world, who invented their own way of untying shoes.

In short, most of the laceless shoes we find today originate in royal residences. Their success intensified with Gucci in 1953. The ambitious Italian family sent a loafer with an Italian touch and unique attention to detail to the catwalk: the Horsebit Loafers.

Later, in the 1970s, they were influenced by California’s skate culture. Precisely because of their freedom of movement, they become synonymous with the easy-going style  and the model becomes particularly popular among ordinary people.

Comfort, versatility and safety: slip-on shoes

Today’s slip-on shoes are still based on the original models, but with updated materials, such as canvas or leather uppers, rubber soles, and cushioned insoles. The versatility of these shoes makes them perfect for any occasion.

The many advantages of these shoes include a softness of the fabrics, since the foot must be able to easily enter the shoe because there are no adjustment possibilities. In fact, it may resemble the feeling of wearing gloves. In the same way, the fabrics promote the perspiration of the foot and the absorption of sweat, which guarantees more and more comfort.

One of the most common and often underestimated reasons for buying this laceless design is security. Especially children, they often trip or fall when walking due to loose or tangled laces. In slip-ons they are absent and therefore the problem does not arise.

Wearing traditional shoes can take some time to adjust the laces. This model is ideal for its practicality and therefore also for saving valuable time.

On the other hand, the purpose of sneakers is to remain comfortable and the elimination of laces has expanded this possibility.

slip-on| shoestechnologies
New Balance slip-on
Photo credit:  Kelly Sikkema  | Unsplash

Kanye West and Vans: the revolution of laceless shoes

The main architect of the transition to slip-on shoes is certainly Kanye West. Most of his productions for the Yeezy brand are slip-on shoes. His rapping and extravagant attire caused a major impact on hip-hop fashion way back in 2004. The rapper’s rise has led him to collaborate for many shoe brands, but also to launch his own.

While working on his third album, Graduation, he began to fulfill his design dreams by collaborating with Nike on his first shoe, the Air Yeezy. The shoes made their official debut at the 2008 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Kanye left the brand for Adidas in the fall of 2013, but taking the name Yeezy with him. Thanks to the support of the brand and the immense creativity of the rapper, the brand grew and in a short time the fame of the new Yeezy footwear models grew. One of the most talked-about models is represented by the Yeezy Knit Runners: furry and sulfur-colored sneakers, which look a lot like house slippers.

slip-on| shoestechnologies
Sneakers Adidas YEEZY Knit Runner Faded Azure
Photo credit: Farfetch website

Other brands such as Vans have been able to give life to the slip-on craze, making this shoe model one of the biggest trends of recent years. After all, these are easy-to-wear shoes, which combine the cultural weight of fashionable sneakers and are as comfortable as slippers at home.

Vans’ classic canvas slip-ons are now available in countless variations, but they were first introduced in 1977. The Old School is an iconic and recognizable shoe, but at the same time the simplest. In fact, the design is able to provide functionality to the wearer and above all ease in wearing it. Vans, in particular, after noticing the growth of the shoe customization scene, decided to take advantage of the trend and implement the checkered pattern on the canvas of its slip-ons.

slip-on| shoestechnologies
Vans, classic slip-on
Photo credit: Vans website

Even though their rise happened in the 80s, Vans’ classic slip-on have retained their relevance well into the 21st century. A design that doesn’t go out of style, thanks to its comfort and durability. They are made of synthetic fiber with a leather texture and a rubber sole that guarantees excellent grip.

Beyond comfort, a fashion culture accessible to all

For many, slip-on shoes are simply shoes that can be easily put on and less annoying than others, but they are also culture! It’s a style statement and a testament to our quest for a balance between fashion and comfort.

Once the stigma of glitz and wealth was overcome, brands made slip-ons accessible to anyone. Their accessibility has helped democratize fashion, allowing people from different walks of life to embrace this trend without having to sacrifice their personal style. These laceless shoes have broken down barriers, turning everyday wear into an opportunity for self-expression.

Slip-ons are much more than just laceless shoes: they are the perfect combination of fashion and comfort. They were a groundbreaking innovation and continue to be today, worn by celebrities and influencers. We often see prominent figures wearing iconic designs, conveying a message of refined and effortless style. Their presence on social media and red carpets helps to keep the focus on this timeless fashion phenomenon.

Everyone can find the model that best reflects their personality, thus helping to consolidate the lasting presence of slip-on shoes in the fashion landscape.

What’s your favorite model?

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