Glerups: Gentle wooly souls

Until I moved to Montréal, shoes were shoes: you know, those things you put on your feet, and leave on till bedtime.

But here, many households run shoes-off. That's partly because we are in snow boots or Wellies about five months of the year, and easily trek in whatever's on our streets. We carry shoes to visit homes; hosts appreciate non-abrasive soles that preserve their floors.

When I was recently buying a pair of Blundstones (cherry red), I was taken by Glerups, the Danish indoor shoe. Now there is an simple, amiably Scandinavian shoe (or slipper), heavy enough to foil cold floors, plush enough for comfort, finished with a soft moccasin-style leather sole. And they come in absolutely biteable colours.

Here's the slipper:

The shoe is higher-cut, so warmer:

There's a boot model too, all of them similar—rather like Blunnies. They offer kid's, women's and men's sizing, and one rubber-soled outdoor model.

The US site introduces the new ballerina, which adds silk to the wool:

In Montréal, the Neon location on St.-Denis has a good assortment, including these ballerinas. (They are truly "slippers" without arch support, but you could slip in insoles.)

Glerups are hand-washable in cool water, or machine-washable on "wool program" setting. There's a sweet family story about the Danish grandmother who designed them, and a few more encouraging tidbits on Glerups' site.

The Shop feature on the Canadian site seems to be on vacation; the US one works. Some models are available via Amazon or well-stocked The Australian Boot Company. Price is around $CDN 90.

Splendid gift idea, but if one family member receives a pair, that could incite deep envy among others.

Any readers Gleruppping? How do you like them?


Bunny said…
I love them! Our culture, fifty minutes from Montreal over the US border, has the same custom. EVERYONE does this. When we go visit in the winter we immediately take off the mandatory boots at the door, whether our home or the host's. Out of a bag or big pocketed coat come the slippers which are slipped on and the visit begins. Boots are mandatory, get filled with salt and melting snow and wreak major havoc on anyone's floor. This custom prevents it and keeps everyone happy visiting with each other and not reaching for a mop or towel to clean up.

These are great slippers and I am going to look into purchasing them. Thanks for the heads up.
Duchesse said…
Bunny: I've long been used to carrying shoes, but not the imperative to wear slipper soles! Sometimes I cheat and bring rubber-soled shoes, like Arche. Hosts increasingly look askance at leather-soled shoes or heels that can dent floors. In my apt., I'm fine with visitors changing out of boots and into regular street shoes.
Those look lovely. I'm confessing to a solitary sin - I'm wearing red Crocs, with big woollen socks inside them. Only at home, and not even when there are guests - yes, I know they are hideous, and plastic - I bought them brand new but second-hand at a nearby charity. Duchesse, have you noticed anything similar (Scandinavian, German etc.) in shops here?

Some people have to wear more supportive shoes, even indoors, but many of those have rubber soles.

I thought these woollen blankets spun and woven in a small mill in Prince Edward Island, would make a lovely present as well: The prices are very reasonable.
Duchesse said…
lagatta: Glerups are sold locally at Neon, 4251 St.-Denis. Good selection when I was there a few weeks ago; priced at around $90-$100/pair depending on style.
Susan B said…
What a great find, and super gift idea!
LauraH said…
I've been wearing the boot style for about 2 years, they provide added ankle protection against those drafts that whistle along at floor level. They're wonderful, so comfy and easy to wear. My Garneau sheepskin slippers are warmer but the Glerups feel more stable as I'm walking around and are warm enough.

I was brought up to take my street shoes off in the house so that's what I've always done at other people's houses as well. Most seem to expect it although the odd time I'm told to leave my shoes on - I always feel uncomfortable doing that. Now I take my Glerups with me and it works just perfectly. In Toronto they're available at a number of locations, I bought mine in Peterborough so retailers are carrying them for sure.

One note - a friend who had a pair wore them bare foot and they picked up some odours so socks are probably advised.
materfamilias said…
Those look fabulous!
I wear First Nations-beaded moccasins (sheepskin against my feet, so comfy) at home, and my handknit socks -- and everyone in the family gets my socks at Christmas (not necessarily each one for each Christmas!).
I don't mind shoes on our fir floors -- having a golden retriever distressed them nicely! And I do mind having to take off shoes carefully chosen to go with a festive outfit. But I get how destructive salt and road sand can be on floors, and I'd happily carry a pair of those Glerups along.
Duchesse said…
LauraH: Aha! So happy to hear a firsthand review. The site recommends wearing without socks and says they are washable (by hand- but I would also put in a laundry bag on gentle/cool). Think I would wear mine with socks, too and if visiting someone, naturally I'm wearing hosiery.

I love the portability of the Glerups- and the colours. At home, I wear Garneau or LL Bean sheepskin moccasins, but when it is time to replace, I'm trying these.
Duchesse said…
materfamilias: It is really hard to find slippers that work with a "dressup" ensemble! That's why I usually carry Arche, at least the rubber sole does no damage. Some hosts have an array of slippers at the door to offer to guests- however they do not usually suit what I'm wearing.
I'm curious. I live in the country and shoes that have been worn out of doors carry in dirt, stones, mud, etc. and absolutely trash floors. Country people and most city people know this and offer take to off shoes. But in my experience, nothing damages floors as much as heels with a tiny heel point - stilettos and kitten heels - on a hardwood floor. Our flooring contractor warned me that shoes like that were the equivalent of pounding the floor with a hammer. In casual rural Oregon I never seem to have guests in dressy heels but I wonder what happens in more stylish areas where people routinely wear that kind of heel to social events in homes. Would a hostess request that stilettos heels not be worn on hardwood or cork floors? (cringe) Or just accept that it comes with the turf and not worry about dings?
Duchesse said…
Carolyn: The shoes on/off code is comprised of (at least) three parts: geographical (especially inclement vs dry climes), but also generational (my parents' era would remove overshoes but never appear at a dinner party in a silk dress and a pair of scuffs) and partly class. (I recall that Paul Fussell named shoe behaviour as one of the signifiers in his book, "Class: A guide Through the American Status System.) And it's also tied to the formality of the occasion.

What kind of flooring you choose depends a great deal on what you •do• in your house- people who frequently host parties where heels would be worn often will use large rugs to protect the most-trafficked areas.

Choose the floor to withstand the house's purpose; cork might be fine in a bedroom but not the living or dining areas. When the former owners of our apt. moved to a larger one, they installed concrete floors in the public areas because they host large parties regularly, and heels are a given. You could roll a tank over that floor, no problems.

Also, it's a matter of what the occasion is. If Joe brings Susie home for her first meeting with his family, he could ask her to not wear her high-heeled boots. But if you are hosting an elegant soirée to announce Joe and Susie's engagement, the guests will dress in honour of the occasion; do not dictate their footwear.

Fussell pointed out, the upper class lives with faded wallpaper and frayed silk piping on cushions- the wear is part of the continuity of family traditions. (And I would add, nicks on the floor from dogs, heels and just living). The middle class values the pristine new, the "redone", everything fresh and perfect.

The decorating blogs, shows and books have put pressure on everybody to redecorate at the slightest sign of wear.
Shoe codes are also very cultural. People in much of Asia and the Middle East do not wear outdoor shoes in the home. At the institute where I stay in Amsterdam, it is agreed that outdoor shoes (especially in the cold, damp weather) are not to be worn indoors. The people from Northern European countries do tend to wear felted woollen slippers like those la Duchesse has shown. The Asians (East, South or Southeast) seem to wear flip-flops (with socks) everywhere.

materfamilias said…
You've surely seen the Sex and the City episode, "A Woman's Right to Shoes" in which Carrie loses an pair of Manolos at a baby shower where the host required everyone's shoes to be taken off at the door. . . The hosts offer compensation, reluctantly, but balk at the $450+ price tag, decrying Carrie's "selfish" lifestyle/choices in the process.
Duchesse said…
materfamilias: Missed that one episode! But like Carrie (but less costly) I lost a pair of good winter boots at my former health club, which required members to leave them in the vestibule, which was unstaffed. After several members lost shoes, boots and even coats to theft, the club had to let us keep them in our lockers.

Interesting conumdrum. Seems to me that a reasonable, considerate host would not expect guests to go barefoot or without supportive footwear(can you tell I worked in a hospital that did a lot of foot surgery?) And a reasonable, considerate person would consider the potential for damaging floors(and their feet) when selecting footwear.

There's a lot of beautiful footwear out there that is fine for floors and good for your feet.
Duchesse said…
Carolyn: Yes, there is much available that is both floor and foot-friendly. I sometimes think of my own floors (wood laminate) when I buy shoes, but then, I wear a heeled shoe maybe twice a year, usually to a restaurant or theatre. Then my thought is on navigating in them, not the establishment's floors.

Here some people provide baskets of slippers for guests- but some of them are not all that clean, and not very pretty, either. I prefer to pack my own.
Duchesse said…
Bunny: I've tried them, and the sizing is true to my (European) shoe size.
LPC said…
Aren't slippers grand:).
sandra said…
A great slipper, only one my son wears... buy them here if you need to

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