Press commentary on the burgeoning slipper market as a bellwether of fashion’s casualization—and a warning to the direct-to-consumer brands capitalizing on this trend. Read the full article

On the success of slipper brands such as Rothy’s and Birdies:

“I would say the underlying piece of this trend is a shift toward comfort, especially for women who have previously been ignored in the casual footwear category,” said Richie Siegel, founder of consumer advisory firm Loose Threads. “Casualization is continuing in the workplace, so people can wear more comfortable products in more situations, and versatile products that can be worn high and low have a growing market. That’s an opening these brands have, and timing and cultural shifts are on their side.”

On the challenges for these brands as direct-to-consumer businesses built on a trend:

But even with vast amounts of money being poured into the big slipper brands from investors like Norwest Ventures and Glossier investor Forerunner Ventures, both of which invested in Birdies, it remains to be seen if slippers will have staying power.

“The risk is that the trends in San Francisco and New York City won’t scale out to other parts of the country and the world,” said Siegel. “Allbirds has bucked this trend so far with its U.S. and now China expansion, but there is a constant tension between what the early adopters like and what the larger world will like. So the jury is still out on this [trend] — although Rothy’s is quite ahead in the race.”