Where do Moroccan slippers come from?
Babouches are a type of traditional footwear from the Arab world. The term babouche comes from the Persian Papush, contraction of Pa, the foot, and Puschidan, the cover. Initially worn by women who did not have to show the tip of their feet, then gradually adopted by all, they are now coveted in all countries, and regularly present at the parades of the greatest couturiers. The ancestral know-how of the Moroccan craftsmen is recognized worldwide in this field.
What are the different forms of babouches?
Even if some details may vary, babouches are easily recognizable because they have, most of the time, neither quarter (the part that goes from the heel to the bottom of the ankles), nor ear (where we find the eyelets for the laces). They are therefore open and flat shoes, i.e. without heel. The inside of the slippers is made of split leather which naturally limits perspiration problems. There are two main types of slippers.
First of all, there are babouches with a rather round or sometimes square tip, called Bedouin, Berber or dambira babouches. They have a thicker sole, now made of rubber or elastomer, and sometimes a tongue at the back that allows to put them on to work in all conditions, or to press the step. They are known to be very sturdy and can be embroidered, engraved or decorated.
Then there are the so-called city slippers, or oriental, which benefit from high quality finishes, a fairly thin leather sole and decorations that can be embroidery, embossing or jewelry, as well as very discreet or even invisible seams. These babouches are used indoors or worn for special occasions such as parties or ceremonies. The materials used are very varied and you can choose, in addition to the classic leather models, suede, silk or imitation leather.
Modern slippers for all styles
With time, the craftsmen of the various regions of Morocco made evolve the babouche, registering it in our current way of life. Thus, certain models intended for women see appearing a light heel or uncommon patterns and finishes like the jeans babouches. Creativity is now limitless and you can always find a babouche that will fit perfectly with your outfit, from the simplest of gandouras to the most elaborate djellabas and caftans. But also with a skirt, a dress, shorts or pants.
How to choose a babouche for woman?
A woman's babouche is more than just a shoe. It must perfectly match the outfit, just like a bag or a scarf. For this, you will have the choice between many shapes, colors and finishes that can make the difference. Leathers can be dyed in any shade, and the slippers can be personalized with traditional symbols, such as a fatma hand, which can be made in perforated leather or with topstitching. You will be able to highlight your feet with glitter and glitter rosettes, or opt for the sobriety of a plain model. If you are looking for slippers for your wedding, there are superb models with embroidery additions on very high quality leathers, or even the insertion of real jewelry.
If you walk a lot, specific models of very comfortable Berber slippers offer very feminine finishes that will perfectly match your outfits.
How to choose a men's slippers?
If men pay more and more attention to their style, they generally have a reduced number of slippers. If this is your case, you should rather bet on models that can go with the majority of your outfits and which must be robust. Classic colors are to be preferred, such as black, brown or white. The same goes for the finishes, which should be discreet and sober.
However, you have the possibility to assert your style by wearing unique slippers, the choice of color forms and materials being just as wide as for the feminine models. Sports enthusiasts will be able to wear slippers in the colors of their favorite team on game nights.
How is a babouche made?
The realization of a babouche requires a precise know-how. The first step is to choose good quality raw materials to ensure both durability and durability. Generally speaking, the top of the babouche is made from goat skin, which is very supple, while the sole will be made from calf skin, or plastic for Berber babouches. The leather is cut according to the shape and size desired.
Several techniques can be used to assemble the pieces (by machine, glue or hand) depending on the destination of the babouche. Indeed, some slippers are only designed for indoor use and therefore do not have the same resistance as those that will have to accompany you outside.
The seams are made with several silk and nylon threads that will be visible on Berber babouches, or hidden on urban babouches. The next step is to remove the excess material and give the babouche its shape with a template.
Depending on the template, the design can be worked on before assembly (openwork leather, overstitching, lining with another material) or after assembly (addition of jewelry or sequins).
Thus, a pair of handmade slippers takes a full day of work to the craftsman. But, for special models such as those for weddings and special occasions, it may take several days.
Finally, be aware that each region of Morocco has its own specificities in terms of shapes, materials or decorations of babouches, and especially concerning the patterns.