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Wool slippers, sometimes called house shoes, are first recorded in history around 1478, but are suspected by historians to have been around for much longer. For as long as mankind has been trying to keep itself from freezing in cold temperatures or overheating in warm climates, wool has been one of the most popular, readily available and renewable resources. Because of its warming and sculptural properties, this fiber has proven itself to be an excellent choice for slippers and wool shoes.
Wool, which is yarn or fiber made from the fleece of a sheep, is known for certain unique characteristics. Wool is warm when it's dry, can absorb up to one-third of its own weight in water and gives off heat in the process of drying. Not only can wool absorb moisture, but it can release it as well, giving wool an antistatic property in most instances. Wool is also one of only a few all natural self-extinguishing fibers; if exposed to flame, it will stop burning when the source of flame is removed. Because of these unique attributes, wool slippers are considered safer, warmer and more comfortable than most other available slipper choices.
Not only do wool slippers resist static and retain heat, but the fiber used to make them is also naturally mildew resistant. One of the few natural enemies of wool is the household clothing moth, but with proper care, wool slippers often last much longer than other slippers. Wool is often considered by medical professionals to be hypoallergenic, meaning that few people have adverse reactions to the fiber. Most allergic reactions to wool slippers are caused by the products used to treat the wool during manufacturing, and not the wool itself.
Wool is often thought of as a fiber for cold climates only, but indigenous people of warmer climates often choose wool because of the very same insulant properties that make it a good choice for cold temperatures. This has to do with how the sheep's fleece is processed before being made into the final product. This can result in varying degrees of insulation, depending on how the resulting wool will be used.
During the initial processing of a raw fleece, wool is combed and carded to ensure all of the fibers are aligned in one direction and all bits of natural debris are removed from the fleece. Wool is then washed and spun into a yarn. Depending on the method of manufacture used, varying degrees of air will be trapped between the wool fibers allowing for more or less insulation. The fibers are then woven or knit into the final product.
Because of these natural characteristics, wool slippers are often the ideal choice for nearly anyone. While the price of wool slippers may be a bit higher than that of their synthetic counterparts, the advantages of wool far outweigh any set forth by other fibers. New technology even allows some wool to be treated so that it's machine washable, reducing one of the only complaints from the owners of wool slippers and allowing more people in today's busy world to choose wool slippers as footwear.
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