Inside Shoes

I like to wear shoes inside. I didn’t used to be this way, but over the years the fact that my parents always used them and the desire to keep various sorts of mess off my socks made me a happy user. For years I used an old pair of L.L. Bean deck shoes as my inside shoes. The leather had broken in nicely, and they were heavy enough to take outside if needed, but light enough to not be a burden.

A couple of years ago, my beloved inside shoes fell apart. And then I was screwed.

The first thing I tried was to find a new pair of moccasin-type shoes much like the original. Unfortunately I didn’t want to spend another ten years breaking them in. Result: all new shoes of this type were too stiff an uncomfortable. I’m not even sure how I ever liked the original ones from Bean’s.

The next thing I tried were a pair of fuzzy slippers. I got them at the new REI store in Pittsburgh. They worked OK, but the insoles started to wear out in less than six months. They also were too squishy. You could not wear them outside to go get the paper if it was wet.

I then tried some Keen clog-ish shoes. These worked a lot better, and were wearable eveywhere. However, their soles were a bit too stiff and loud for use at night when the rest of the house is asleep. Also, their insoles wore out in less than six months. Unacceptable. Even worse, Keen will not sell you new first-party insoles. I gave up on them and took them to the office.

Having given up on the Keens, I thought harder about what I really wanted. I realized that what I really wanted were Birkenstocks, with their durable cork soles, but in a clog-ish form factor rather than sandals. You can’t cook with hot oil in sandals. I could not find anything quite like this, and the Birkenstock clogs didn’t look quite right. Too floppy on top. I stupidly tried more leather shoes, this time from Israel, but the uppers didn’t fit and scraped my feet in bad places.

Then I spied two companies that make clogs with cork soles and wool uppers. One is Haflinger. They haven’t been around that long. The other was Stegmann. They have been around a long time.

I thought about whether I should continue my wanton spending. Karen had started to look at me and sigh in that way that means I’m obsessed with something stupid. But, over Christmas her cousin had a pair of the Stegmann, and they looked perfect. So I found them on sale and ordered some on the web. And they are perfect. They are fuzzy on top and stiff on the bottom. Solid enough to wear as a shoe, but soft enough to pad around at night without waking anyone up. They are a Birkenstock surrounded in a fuzzy fleece lining. The wool is also superior to leather for this purpose because it breathes better. You can wear the slippers in bare feet without making a sweaty mess. I guess my old leather deck shoes didn’t have this problem because they were falling apart for most of the time I used them.

If the current slippers hold up for a few more months, I will apply the consumer rule and buy 4 more pair. Just in case.