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Slip-ons are a boon to most of us. The fact that they are flat and, therefore, kind to our poor feet is a huge plus. Add to it the fact that there are no pesky laces to tie. Above all, they hide a multitude of pedalian sins like unkempt feet.
The most commonly seen and popular slip-on is the loafer, which was also worn with lounge suits. Then there is the Aurlandskoen or the Aurland shoes. Conceived in Norway in the early 20th century, these are available in a range of colors and feature tassels and metal decorations on the front. The most formal slip-on is the dress loafer which has the same shape as the lace-up Oxfords, but instead of laces it has elasticated inserts on the sides to allow the feet to slip in and out comfortably yet hold the feet snugly when worn.
The humble slip-on has its beginnings as a country house shoe for the landed gentry and the royal family. From the royal harrow to the penny loafers, the slip-ons had evolved and grown, but it took the Italians (more specifically Gucci) to add the right amount of dash and an elegant piece of metal strap across the front to lend the now common loafer a touch of style. Since the 1960s, the Gucci loafer has since become a general term referring to this style of shoes.
The start of the 21st century also saw the revival of the penny loafers and the espadrilles – low or flat-heeled moccasins that can be worn with a variety of outfits like shorts, jeans, casual suits and trousers. And unlike other footwear styles, these are considered unisex, and also work well with skirts and dresses.
• Loafers are the most common and popular slip-ons
• The unisex espadrilles can be worn with anything
• Dress loafers, similar to Oxfords, are formal slip-ons
Source: Binu Sivan, Special to Classifieds. The writer is a freelancer