A good pair of slippers are essential comfort wear around the house, especially in the winter months. When it comes to finding your perfect slippers there are lots of options for materials, from sheepskin moccasins to slip on sliders. If you’re currently looking around at the choice and wondering whether sheepskin, leather or suede are better than wool, these are some of the best reasons to choose wool slippers…
Natural and durable material
One of the main reasons to choose wool slippers is that wool is a material that is naturally hard wearing and durable. Wool can stand up to repeated wear and tear and lasts longer than cotton, resisting bending up to 20,000 times, as opposed to cotton’s 3,000 times or silk at 2,000. What this means is that wool can withstand a bit of a beating.
The reason it’s so durable is because wool has been the material of choice for sheep and mountain dwelling beasts like llama for millenia, building up a resistance to harsh weather and terrain. That also means it’s naturally waterproof (it can hold up to a third of its own weight in liquid) and easy to clean. Wool slippers can be machine washed on cool, but actually don’t need regular cleaning as wool is also naturally dirt repellant.
Nothing beats slipping into a pair of slippers at the end of a hard day on your feet, and wool slippers offer natural softness and warmth. The insulating property of wool means that your feet are kept nice and toasty when its cold, but if the heat rises outside your feet will still stay a nice temperature. The reason being that wool is naturally temperature regulating, with the fibres of the material keeping heat in but also allowing air to pass through when the heat gets too much.
The softness of wool also has a big bearing on the comfort, with wools such as merino or cashmere being the most comfortable. This comes down to the diameter of the fibre strands, with merino and cashmere being thinner (less microns wide).
Another natural aspect of wool is that it is naturally hypoallergenic, meaning it is allergy friendly. If you’re prone to rashes or other skin irritations wool can actually work in your favour as it can guard against dust mites and actually absorb other airborne contaminants.
And scratchy wool is a relic of the past, normally due to low quality fabric. Modern wool, especially merino, cashmere, angora or other fine wools are soft on the skin and very unlikely to cause skin irritations.
With the spotlight falling on sustainable processes with consumer products, it’s good to know that wool is one of the more eco friendly options. Cotton uses vast tracts of land and requires extensive pest control and irrigation, which means that chemicals such as pesticides can get into the ecosystem. Although sheep need pasture for grazing, wool uses less water per ton of harvested material.
Wool also requires washing at a lower temperature to other fabrics, and less frequently. As a plus wool also lasts longer and is biodegradable.
Although the practice of mulesing is well known to be a pretty unpleasant aspect of wool farming, there are brands such as Baabuk who proudly source mulesing free wool for their slippers. However one crucial element of wool farming (over sheepskin, suede and leather) is that the sheep are still alive after the wool has been collected. With much of the planet trying to go sustainable and vegan, ethical wool takes a weight off your mind in terms of your global impact.
Is wool vegan? Although by definition vegans specify not using any animal products, flexitarians or reducetarians might say that so long as the animal isn’t harmed or slaughtered then animal products are fine.
Should you buy wool slippers?
If you’re looking for a pair of naturally warm and comfortable slippers that will last you a long time then absolutely. If you’re worried about your global impact with sustainable products then check that your wool comes from mulesing free sheep. And of course, any pair of wool slippers will be better for the sheep than sheepskin.