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What Are Smoking Slippers?

March 28, 2022

What are smoking slippers? This style of footwear was first made popular back in the 1800s. Today, the smoking slipper is still regarded as one of the most comfortable shoes for lounging in. Incredibly versatile, you can wear these slippers for far more than just relaxing in the home, though.

Because so many people are still asking the question - what are smoking slippers? - we have decided to put together some background information on these shoes for you today. We'll explain the inception of the smoking slipper and how it has evolved to the present day. We’ll also talk about their characteristics, and what makes them so special. You'll even learn what to look for when shopping for your own pair of smoking slippers, including where to buy the best smoking slippers online - for men and women alike.

Let's dive in with a brief explanation of this style!

So, What are Smoking Slippers?

So - what are smoking slippers? Are these just slippers you wear when you waltz outside for a quick smoke? Actually, yes - that is one aspect of these slippers. Back in the early 1800s, gentlemen wore smoking slippers as their shoe of choice for at-home entertaining. If a man wanted to excuse himself outside - or to another room - for a smoke, he'd slip on these shoes to do so. Unlike traditional soft-bottomed slippers, smoking slippers feature a much harder sole that makes outdoor wear more feasible and practical.

While some agree at this is where the term "smoking slippers" originated from, there are others who believe the name has other origins. The powerhouse fashion brand Yves St Laurent (YSL) introduced a women's tuxedo and coined the piece "Le Smoking". Shortly thereafter, these loafer-style slippers were introduced as a classic menswear staple.

Wherever the name came from, one thing is for sure - smoking slippers are here to stay. And for good reason - they're incredibly versatile and practical. You can dress them up or down with ease, and they remain the premier choice for men and women alike seeking a lounging slipper. While they were originally only for the affluent men and women of the 1800s, things changed when they made a resurgence in the 1990s. In fact, without Tom Ford - we may not even be here talking about these slippers today.

Why Smoking Slippers Made A Resurgence In The 1990s

Tom Ford is yet another fashion icon today in the 21st century. But before he was recognized by his own fashion house, Tom Ford was the creative director at Gucci. Here, he was responsible for setting trends and capitalizing on them. One of his greatest feats while at the helm of Gucci was leading the charge on the resurgence of smoking slippers.

He helped make smoking slippers the go-to choice for lounging around the house after work. It was around this time that a popular and polarizing figure, Hugh Hefner, picked up the reigns on this trend and helped make these slippers more mainstream. In Playboy publications and other news outlets, Hugh Hefner would commonly be seen strutting his smoking slippers. This was a turning point where smoking slippers became more mainstream.

Just as the style waned after the 1800s, though, the turn of the century was not kind to smoking slippers. They once again fell out of favor, much to the dismay of the brands and figures who worked so hard to popularize them.

Smoking Slippers Are Back - And They're Here To Stay

In recent years, smoking slippers have made yet another powerful resurgence. This time, though, they're here to stay. Smoking shoes are more popular than ever as designs are far more inclusive than they once were. These days, women and men alike sport the smoking slipper as their preferred choice for not just lounging - but really anything.

Unlike smoking shoes of the past, today's styles are more vibrant and feature various textures, prints, colors, and embroidery. There are so many different styles out there to choose from. Men and women love wearing smoking shoes around the house, to work, to brunch or dinner, or really any event. This classic style is an effortless way to show off your personal sense of style in a comfortable, unique slipper.

Now that you know where smoking slippers came from and what they look like today, let's discuss the characteristics of this shoe.

What Are Smoking Slippers Characterized By?

We've talked a lot about the history of smoking slippers - but what do these really look like today in 2022? How can you identify them on the rack at your favorite retail stores? What makes them so special? In this section, we'll answer all these questions and more.

This distinct type of slipper features a loafer-like appearance with a hard-sole bottom. They can be slipped on, which is part of why people love them so much. They're incredibly comfortable and fashionable all at once. It's incredibly rare to find a shoe that offers the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and style - but the smoking slipper does just that. Here are some of the other characteristics of smoking slippers:

  • Quality, Rich Materials: most smoking slippers are crafted from vibrant, luxury velvet or stunning, premium leather. While these are certainly top-notch materials, the slippers themselves are incredibly comfortable at the same time.
  • Versatile Wear: our favorite thing about the smoking slipper is how versatile it can be. You hear the term "slipper" and may assume these are casual wear. And while they certainly can be, they are not to be put in one single box. You can dress these up and wear them to any sort of event - from weddings to boardroom meetings, and anything in between. You can wear them with or without socks, too!
  • Different Styles: One final characteristic of smoking slippers we want to explain is how many different styles there are. These aren't the same smoking shoes from the 1800s - these days, the footwear type can range from open-heel slippers to more of a loafer-like appearance. And, they can range from basic, plain slippers to elegant, sequined slippers that command attention. You can even customize your own slippers to create a one-of-one model!

Where Can I Find Quality Smoking Slippers?

So, you're probably ready to get your own smoking slipper collection started with your first pair. Where should your shopping journey begin? At Del Toro, we offer an unparalleled collection for men and women alike. Our handcrafted Italian shoes collection features the most luxurious, stunning footwear available online. We have a wide range of velvet slippers men and even offer a full range of velvet slippers for women.

Not only do we offer a wide array of stunning styles - but unlike most Italian shoe brands, we keep sizing simple. All our shoes follow standard US sizing so you don't have to play the guessing game sizing your slippers. For more information on how Italian shoes fit, read our complete guide.

With publications like GQ, Vogue, Refinery 29, and more singing high praise of our footwear, you don't just have to take our word for it - the slippers we offer are as good as it gets in this industry! We take great pride in offering shoes that don't just look good but are also comfortable. Using the time-honored traditions of Italian shoemaking, we still craft each pair of shoes by hand using the best material possible - right in Naples and Milan.

Head over to the site and get yours to experience the Del Toro Difference firsthand!