We’re just a week from the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics, a time for the best athletes in the world to show off their years of training and superhuman skills and a time for the rest of us to hang out at home in our pajamas and cheer them on. If an Olympics binge is in your near future — and, let’s be honest, who’s not planning to at least watch some figure skating? — now is the time to prepare. Acquire your snacks, plan your viewing parties, and get ready to spend 17-ish days camped out in front of the TV wearing your favorite slippers. While you’re spending that much time in your slippers, don’t destroy them by following our few suggestions.
A Few Olympic-Sized Don’ts
If you’re still seeking the perfect pair of slippers, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. The path to having your slippers in your life for a long, long time begins on the very day you buy them. As we’ve said before and will say again, your feet change over time. Get them measured before you buy any new footwear, up to and including new slippers. If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. You just might find your big toe wearing a hole in the upper or something equally as unexpected and bad if you do.
When you get your brand new slippers home, take a second to give them a little bit of pretreatment. Waterproofing spray won’t make your shoes 100% waterproof, but it will ensure that the occasional drip of water or very light precipitation won’t damage your shoes. Find yourself a can of waterproofer that has a continuous spray to ensure even coating, give a quick spot test to an unnoticeable part of slipper to check that the material of the slipper isn’t affected negatively by the spray, and spray away. Refresh the spray every 6 months or if you notice it seems to be wearing off. This simple step will add just enough extra protection to your slippers to keep them looking good.
Once you get your comfy and cozy slippers on, you may never want to take them off again. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to. Obviously wearing your slippers to a ski slope is a big nope, but surely wearing them around town isn’t going to be too bad, you might think. Your slippers might survive a few walks to the mailboxes or unplanned grocery store runs, but they’re not meant for everyday wear. Treating any pair of slippers like your regular footwear is the quickest way to shorten their lifespan because that’s just not what they’re built for. Imagine trying to wear your bathrobe as a cardigan. How fast do you think it would get destroyed? Exactly.
Left: UGG Men's Ascot in Chestnut Suede. Right: UGG Women's Ansley in Black.
The Care and Keeping of Slippers
Like all footwear, your slippers can be made from a variety of materials, and that means different procedures for cleaning and care. We’re going to give a brief refresher course on cleaning and maintaining leather and suede here since the vast majority of our slippers are made of those materials, but for more in-depth instructions and tips for other materials head over to our Shoe Care Basics Part 1 and Part 2 blog posts.
For your leather slippers much of the dirt can be taken care of with a soft horsehair brush and a some gentle brushing. Some tough spots might require a damp (not soaking wet!) cloth. Just take your cloth and buff in gentle circles until the grime is gone. Now, occasionally you’re going to come up against some persistent dirt, in which case you might have to pull out the big guns: a leather cleaning product. Follow the directions on your cleaner of choice and use sparingly as these products can dry out leather if used too often. After giving the leather a good but gentle scrubbing, wipe the cleaner off with a damp cloth. A good leather conditioner will also help keep your slippers looking as good as new, so make sure about once a month to give your slippers a good wipe down with some conditioner and let it really soak.
Suede slippers are a little trickier to clean because suede is easily damaged. The soft fibers on the surface are pretty easily damaged if you’re not careful. You’re going to need a few specialized tools for the task of cleaning up your suede. Start with a suede brush and brush with the grain of the fiber to remove any dirt that’s just sitting on the surface. This should usually take care of your problems, but if you’ve got stubborn dirt that just won’t come off, move on to a suede eraser. It’s exactly what it sounds like: an eraser for suede. Just like any other eraser, you rub it on unwanted marks and it clears them away. If the suede is looking flat after cleaning, run your suede brush over it again to restore the “fluff.”
A few general things to keep in mind for all of your shoes:
If they get wet, let them dry naturally, away from radiators and out of the dryer. Heat drying can cause irreparable damage to the glue that holds your shoes together.
Since you’re generally going to be wearing your slippers without socks, you might find that they can get a little funky. Deodorizing sprays or inserts will definitely help you un-funk your slippers, making for a pleasant wearing experience.
All around the world athletes are preparing to make their way to South Korea and the rest of us are preparing to make our way into the living room to watch them from the couch. Get your couch potato gear in order before the games start, and keep your gear in order with a few simple steps. If you’re still looking for some cozy footwear, you’ve still got a week to track some down before the Olympics begin, meaning now is the perfect time to check out our men's slippers or our women's slippers!