I love my Tod’s driving shoes. For two years now I have worn them every evening when I return from work and they’ve only improved with age. This has been considerably helped by the fact that I don’t wear them outside – like some of the more ignorant financiers of the City – and so the heels have not been destroyed. They’ve also been treated to shoe cream a few times.
So it was going to take a lot for me to take to another house shoe. The Belgian slippers pictured, from A Suitable Wardrobe, look likely to achieve that, going on the two weeks’ wear they’ve had so far. They deserve to be called a house shoe, however, rather than a slipper.
The Belgians have a lot more structure: a leather lining, a thin leather sole and a small heel. This makes them wearable outside for short periods – to get the paper from the corner shop, for example – where I really shouldn’t use the driving shoes. I fancy they may also be useful for travel. Driving shoes cannot be walked around airports for very long, and when they get to the other end they are less useful for popping down to the hotel bar.
That structure makes them a little less comfortable without socks than the Tod’s, and that is one reason why I shall continue to think of the latter as more slippers than house shoes. But I’m glad of both. As I have two small children (almost 1 and almost 4), I spend a lot of time indoors, playing, feeding and tidying up, where fully structured Oxfords are neither comfortable nor practical.
Will, who runs A Suitable Wardrobe, also deserves a word for his client service. Online shopping frequently falls down when it comes to how things fit. Sending things back is a pain, frequently costly and often not included in the price. Apparently one reason Mr Porter shipping costs £10 a time is that women frequently order several sizes and send the ones that don’t fit back (they are collected for free). Personally I’d rather have a cheaper postage charge.
Will will send a second pair of shoes out if the first ones don’t fit, and repeat if necessary, with no charge for either the new pair or the return. I made the mistake of ordering a 42, when I really needed a 43. They were swapped without fuss.