Shearling slippers are slippers made from shearling, a leather product which is famous for its softness, loft, warmth, and insulating properties. These shoes are typically designed for use as indoor slippers to keep feet warm in cool climates, although some are designed for indoor/outdoor wear. Many shoe stores carry shearling slippers in several cuts and styles, and they can also be ordered from companies which specialize in the production of such shoes.
The leather product known as shearling includes leather and the fleece of the animal the leather comes from. To make shearling, the animal is skinned with the fleece left on, and the leather and fleece are conditioned together. The leather is usually treated so that it will be soft, flexible, and waterproof, while the fleece is cleaned and trimmed so that it has an even height. Sheep or lambskin is a classic choice for shearling, although leather from other fleece-bearing animals like yaks and goats can also be used.
There are a number of advantages to shearling as a material which makes it excellent for shearling slippers. The wool helps to keep the feet dry by wicking away moisture and repelling it with natural oils, and it contributes to warmth because the fleece acts as an insulator to keep heat in and stabilize temperatures. Leather provides some resistance to the elements, and protects the feet so that they cannot be injured. The slippers are also breathable, which prevents a buildup of moisture inside the shoe.
Many people like to wear shearling slippers because of their softness and flexibility. They are especially ideal for older people, who sometimes experience discomfort in shoes as their feet change shape and fatty tissue is lost with aging. The fleece keeps the feet snug and free of sores and painful spots, while the leather provides protection. Shearling slippers are also suitable for diabetics and pregnant women, who may struggle with fluctuating foot sizes.
Versions for both men and women are available, with most shearling slippers being of the pull-on variety so that they are easy to put on and take off. The slippers typically rise just to the ankle, and they usually lack the weather proofing and stiff soles necessary to survive in the outdoors. As house shoes, shearling slippers can be extremely useful and very comfortable, whether they are worn with pajamas on Sunday mornings or by people who are in long term residential treatment facilities.