What could be better than combining these two amazing things, shoes & Harris Tweed.
But that’s exactly what I got to do when ordering custom Made In England slippers from Foster & Son.
Above are the finished shoes. An amazing lilac Harris Tweed, with a deep blue quilted lining.
Below I’ll cover the design process, and the true versatility of slippers.
Selecting The Fabric & Design
I’ve had (and continue to have) a wonderful relationship with Tony Martin, the head cutter of Benson & Clegg. This relationship allows me great access to his fabric books while selecting suiting material, but also material for other uses such as shoes.
If you currently do not have access to a tailor, any fabric store shall be able to assist you in finding the prefect fabric for your needs. Such as the stores found on Fabric Row in Philadelphia (my home town). If, however, you’re in need of some initial assistance you can always reach out to the shoe maestro Andy Murphy himself. His Instagram handle is @andymurphy333. Foster & Son also stock a variety of in-house fabrics and if you don’t like any of those Andy is more than happy to assist with further suggestions.
I personally picked this Harris Tweed fabric from the Holland & Sherry offerings. As tweed is a robust fabric it was perfect for the slippers I wanted to create, in terms of colors, texture and fabric heritage.
You’ll first choose your fabric and shoe details, which include:
- Outer material
- Lining material, and
Then, all that’s left to do is select is your size. As they are Made In England, they run from UK sizes, which are one smaller than US. So if you’re a US size 8, in the the UL you’ll be a size 7. Simple!
From the moment of ordering it takes about 3 – 4 weeks to get the shoes hand made by the English craftsmen that Foster & Son employ.
The silhouette of the shoe it truly outstanding, being so slender. Furthermore, with that being said, the shoe does not feel flimsy. In fact, it feels quite the opposite.
As I personally have a size 13 UK (14 USA) shoe, it’s nice to have a shoe that is so elegant and chic.
Although not a main point, or one that offers any utility to the shoe, I did get a big kick out of the hand written shoe style / design and size.
It really takes one back to another time when most things were hand made and had that personal touch.
The old saying “you get what you pay for” certainly rings true here. Not to say that they are overly expensive for what you’re getting at 225 GBP (roughly $330 at time of writing). One can pay much more for an off the rack slipper from other brands such a Del Toro and Church’s, with none of the fun of being able to pick your own design.
The Best Thing About Slippers = Versatility
That’s right, versatility! Many people think that these shoes are restricted to indoor shoes or black tie events.
However, I find them to be quite a jack of all trades. Below I’ve presented them in three distinct scenarios; shorts, jeans, and a tux.
About Socks With Purple Slippers & In General
This can be tricky. I would in most cases favor a no / no show sock rule when wearing slippers in general.
Furthermore, if you decide to go with purple ones I think the shoes can do all the “talking” and you don’t need to pair them with “crazy socks.” I opt for neutrals to match my trouser color, or light grey as it goes well with purple and is non-offensive.
Of course, do what you feel most comfortable in. But whatever you do, just bloody own it!
Final Harris Tweed Slipper Thoughts
The one big downside with the shoe however, is the soft leather sole, that can get chewed up very easily when worn outside.
This is easily rectified by any good cobbler who can fit a slim rubber sole to the bottom. Opt for Vibram brand, as they will last much longer and are still only a few millimeters thick. You can expect to pay about $30 for this upgrade, but it’s a very worthwhile investment.
Other than that they are truly amazing, and I highly recommend all who are into slippers and / or shoes in general to try a pair from Foster & Son. If you do, make sure to tell them “Bespoke Unit” sent you!