13 Luxury Slipper Brands Making The Highest Quality Slip-Ons
From toasty warm loungewear slip-ons to impossibly smart eveningwear options, slippers are diverse and surprisingly versatile.
Slippers, as you’ll soon discover, can mean many things to many men. The defining image the word conjures up for most is typically an oversized wool- or shearling-lined loafer (or backless mule) that is worn around the house to keep one’s feet warm.
However, for others the slipper means something quite the contrary: a thinly soled shoe of sophistication and, in some cases, a degree of formality. They share very little in common apart from their origins, but somewhere along the line their shared evolutionary trajectory forked to create two very different species of shoe.
One of the few things they do share is a typically thin sole and a very minimal structure, which means you wouldn’t want to be walking for any length of time on uneven ground. Loungewear slippers can come with chunkier proportions, but generally speaking, the slipper is lightweight and designed for indoor use. But that ‘use’ varies wildly.
Types of luxury slippers
With a thin sole and backless construction, mules are the most casual of slipper styles. Just slide your feet in and off you go.
Yet while the silhouette is simple, the variety of mules you can get is pretty expansive. Fur-, shearling- and felt-lined styles are common and a godsend padding across cold stone floors on a morning. They can be crafted from a number of different fabrics, including leather, suede and even cotton and linen when it comes to lightweight summer styles.
Luxury brands have recently dabbled in the mule slipper, not least Gucci whose furry maximalist leather mule was doing many a round a few seasons back. You’d struggle to style out the average mule slipper anywhere but the warm confines of your home.
Whether you’re a sleek leather mule kind of guy or of the chunky fur-lined persuasion, you’ll find plenty of great options in our brand list below.
The aforementioned oversized moccasin falls squarely into the closed-back loafer genre of slippers. However, it is joined by much smarter species of shoe that was originally invented for indoor use but has since broken out of those confines to become a popular outdoor shoe for natty sartorial types. It’s called the Belgian loafer.
It differs from the classic penny loafer in its construction, which is far more flimsy and unstructured, with a very thin leather sole and a low profile that skirts the ankle. The Belgian loafer has become very popular in recent years, catalysed by brands such as Baudoin & Lange, whose quite divine lightweight suede models are regularly seen on the feet of discerning sartorialists.
You definitely wouldn’t fancy running after a cab in them, but for sophisticated events where all you need to do is stand around looking interested with a glass of champagne in hand, they are just about perfect.
Prince Albert slippers
When slippers aren’t padding around the house or pretending to be loafers, they are usually lording it up in the shape of the Prince Albert slipper (not to be confused with the piercing), so called because Queen Victoria’s royal consort was rather partial to them.
The Albert slipper is a slip-on style with a heel, usually constructed from velvet and featuring an altogether firmer leather sole, wooden block heel and quilted lining. They were originally worn by Victorian aristocrats as house shoes, as a means of keeping the dirt out of their homes.
A leather version of the Albert is actually called a Churchill, if you wanted to bore anyone with a useless fact, but for the most part, black velvet is the standard. Many modern styles now also feature embroidered motifs across the toes, such as martini glasses, skulls and crossbones, or one’s initials.
Numerous different colours are available today, but the most popular are black, navy and burgundy.
Rarely seen these days, opera pumps are another type of formal slipper that is worn outside the home. As the name suggests, these slippers were originally designed to by worn to the opera, given it was a strictly high society event. The trend was catalysed by Beau Brummell, who took the rather ostentatious slippers of the time and minimalised them by removing the typical silver buckle and replacing it with a simple black bow.
Today’s opera pumps retain the bow, albeit in grosgrain silk to match the lapels of a dinner jacket, which sits atop a black patent leather vamp.
How to wear formal slippers
There are no styling suggestions to speak of when it comes to casual slippers, but formal slippers are an entirely different beast altogether. The most obvious scenario for the formal slipper is black tie or cocktail attire. With the former, the slippers add something of a personal touch and much more character than your typical patent leather Oxfords, especially if you opt for slippers with embroidered motifs on the vamp.
Black velvet styles would be the preference for black tie, but you can afford to be more flamboyant when it comes to cocktail attire. They are typically worn with black silk socks but in the summer months you could certainly go sockless with an unstructured linen suit, for example.
Prince Albert slippers have made many an appearance at Pitti Uomo over the years, often styled with relaxed denim jeans and a blazer. It certainly ticks all the sprezzatura boxes, but it’s a look you need to be confident in wearing, given that it has modern dandy vibes.
The best men’s luxury slipper brands for 2023
Velasca is an Italian shoemaker that is democratising luxury footwear, cutting out the middleman with its direct-to-consumer model to offer premium shoes and boots at a fair price. Each of its designs are handmade by artisans in the famed Marche region of Italy, ensuring quality and attention to detail.
Its slippers sit on the formal side of the spectrum, with the brand offering both opera pumps and Friulane shoes. The former have been designed by menswear influencer and all-round sartorialist Fabio Attanasio (@fabioattanasio), coming in black calf leather or suede with traditional bow detailing, while the latter are elegant slip-ons produced in suede or velvet and available in a wide range of striking colourways.
As the name might suggest, Mulo is best known for its backless shoe styles, especially its diverse collection of super-comfortable slippers. No matter the style, each slipper starts life in London where it is designed, before entering reality via artisans in the brand’s Portuguese workshops.
From suede sheepskin slippers perfect for cold-weather climates to soft leather mules and corduroy house shoes, Mulo’s designs are decidedly contemporary and look right at home in a modern setting.
Loungewear specialist Derek Rose is famed for its premium pyjama sets, but you’d be missing out if you didn’t consider the British brand’s slippers when searching for some luxury slip-ons to wear around the house.
Rose’s handmade styles include both closed-back and mule options, crafted from soft suede with a sheepskin lining, or calfskin leather with a suede lining, as well as a few Harris Tweed options.
Stubbs & Wootton
Launched in 1993 in Palm Beach, Florida, Stubbs & Wootton are a specialist formal slipper maker, with one of the broadest and most eclectic collections in the world. Being from Florida, the brand’s style naturally has a fun and playful aesthetic, with vibrant colours and designs perfect for daywear, as well as a host of sumptuous eveningwear options.
Leather soled and with stacked wooden heels, you’ll find plenty to love at Stubbs & Wootton.
Baudoin & Lange
Baudoin & Lange has almost single-handedly put Belgian loafers back on the shoe map since the company launched in 2105. Handmade in London, its impossibly lightweight and soft suede ‘Sagan’ Belgian loafers are slippers in disguise.
They feel like a second skin rather than a typical shoe, making them ideal to wear with sartorial looks around the house or to events where little walking is required.
Bowhill & Elliot
Handmade in its Norwich workshop since 1874, Bowhill & Elliot are the patriarchs of English slipper making. There isn’t a style of slipper or house shoe that Bowhill & Elliot doesn’t make – it boasts probably the most eclectic array of formal and smart casual slippers that we have found, and all of them are meticulously handcrafted to exacting standards.
Bespoke options are available to those who may have a particular slipper vision in mind. From leather house mules to stunning velvet Prince Alberts via smart denim/linen styles that reference the British coastline, you’ll find endless options for all types of occasions.
Crockett & Jones
The Northampton-based shoemaker founded in 1879 has long enjoyed an excellent reputation for its traditional Goodyear-welted footwear, but the iconic brand also does a fine line in classic velvet slippers and leather house shoes.
If you’re looking for classic styling that you could wear with a smoking jacket or as an alternative to black Oxfords with a tuxedo, then Crockett & Jones’ designs are right up your street. Handcrafted with all of the expertise the company is known for, the Albert slippers feature soft satin quilted linings for superior comfort.
Del Toro is a relatively new Italian shoe brand that has quickly made a name for itself in the slipper department. There’s no mistaking a Del Toro velvet slipper, thanks to the strip of contrast red leather or grosgrain silk that runs down the heel.
That may not be to the purist’s tastes but it certainly adds something different to a velvet slipper when accompanied with a tuxedo. The shoemaker also makes beautiful house mules cut from soft suede with leather linings.
While the iconic British shoemaker doesn’t make velvet slippers, it does handcraft some pretty stunning house slippers that go above and beyond. Its Knighton slipper, for example, is produced in super-soft suede using the ‘Fondo Americano’ construction, handmade in Italy, and comes with its very own, very chic, travel bag.
Also great for travelling is Lobb’s Hampton slipper, which is cut from buttery lambskin in a traditional loafer silhouette.
Benson & Clegg
Gentleman’s outfitter Benson & Clegg is situated in the Piccadilly Arcade, London, and has long been the go-to boutique for unique sartorial accessories such as cufflinks, luxury ties and blazer buttons.
However, the brand founded in 1947 also does a small yet perfectly formed collection of velvet slippers, from luxurious plain Prince Albert designs to the ever-popular styles with embroidered motifs, all of which represent excellent value for money.
Madison Avenue icon Paul Stuart has been dressing New York’s elite ever since it opened its doors in 1938. So it comes as no surprise that the US sartorial brand also has a stunning collection of velvet slip-ons and house-proud leather mules to complement its high-end tailoring.
Its Hamilton II house mules are the epitome of elegant lounging and come in both leather and velvet options, while the Harrier and Heron are the highlight of its resplendent formal styles.
Although best known for his ladies footwear collection, Manolo Blahnik has been producing some excellent luxury men’s shoes in recent years. And while formal styles are what he’s recognised for, his casual slippers have not gone unnoticed – not least his mules, which the Spanish designer has crafted a number of different styles from calfskin leather and suede.
With minimalist detailing, they are a very sophisticated option for lounging around the house.
Mr Porter’s in-house brand, Mr P, has become a dependable dispenser of high-quality modern menswear, proving amazing good value for money, too. Naturally then, it has also turned its talented hand to the construction of slippers and house shoes, which it has done with aplomb.
Expect plenty of muted-tone minimalist suede styles with shearling linings to go with your contemporary living.
The history of the slipper
It’s thought that the slipper (or at least shoes that we could define as being slipper-ish) dates back many centuries – perhaps as far back as 4700 BCE, when a similar style was worn by the Chinese. The word itself was apparently first used in 1478.
Silk, velvet or leather house slippers were worn by much of the European ruling class and the wealthy, as much for comfort as they were a status symbol. In Roman times, it was not uncommon for important people to be buried with their slippers on. The fact that they were so inappropriate for outdoor use only added to the status effect.
Even today, they still represent a sartorial boundary between inside and outside, with slipper culture a very important part of everyday Japanese etiquette.