Slipper Rescue

Have you ever mended something, and then discovered (to your delight!) that the mended version is far superior to the original?

That’s exactly what happened when I repaired my slippers on the weekend.

Most people wouldn’t bother repairing slippers, especially an inexpensive pair from Target like these, however there’s now nowhere to buy slippers here.

They are novelty reindeer slippers. I bought them a few years ago just before Christmas when I urgently needed slippers, and these were all they had. (If I’d waited another week I could have got koalas, but I’d already bought the reindeers.)

For Northern Hemisphere readers, just to explain: here in Australia, after 200+ years, our Christmases are still fixated on snow, sleds, reindeer, icicles, yule logs, fur-trimmed clothes, snowmen, and songs containing the above themes. Shops even spray fake snow on their windows and hang snowflake mobiles. Yes, this is in a country where it never even comes close to snowing, except in a few spots mid-year. Anyhow, that’s how I came to buy reindeer slippers in Australia in summer.

The soles of these slippers are molded plastic which broke, so I tore them off and put the reindeer part in the washing machine. The upper is fake fur and minke plush.

When I tore off the soles, I found some disintegrated padding and thin foam innersoles, which just seemed to be sitting in there held in place by the weight of my foot. I threw away the padding but kept the innersoles.

I considered a few options for new soles, then had a brainwave and remembered we had a box of leather offcuts in the shed. I cut a pair of soles from leather, and for padding cut two pairs of boiled wool (+ the recycled foam innersoles).

How to re-assemble? It ended up not being as hard as I thought. I would have used the sewing machine but I didn’t want to give it a hernia from the thickness.

So I tacked the boiled wool to the reindeer tops, added the foam innersole, and…

…whipstitched the leather around the edges (suede side facing out).

Initially I pre-made holes in the leather with an awl, thinking it would be easier, but then discovered I didn’t need them – it was easy to sew just with a strong sharp needle, thimble and two strands of upholstery thread.

They feel amazing! They’re more padded than before, and the suede soles are grippy and quiet.



  1. Sue on September 5, 2023 at 6:47 pm

    well how good are these? What a fabulous mend.

    • lizhaywood on September 6, 2023 at 10:29 am

      I’ve since discovered another advantage, Sue: the soles are so quiet I can sneak into my childrens bedroom and catch them reading under the covers!

  2. Helen on September 5, 2023 at 9:54 pm

    Well done! How satisfying that must be.

    • lizhaywood on September 6, 2023 at 10:30 am

      Yes, it was very satisfying!

  3. Lesley on September 6, 2023 at 5:49 am

    What a brilliant repair/rebuild. Love it

    • lizhaywood on September 6, 2023 at 10:29 am

      Thanks Lesley. I’m wondering if the soles are now going to outlive the uppers.

  4. Laura on September 7, 2023 at 12:05 am

    Good work! You may find, with time, that the suede soles get polished by wear – you can use a bit of sandpaper or a wire suede-brush to rough it back up again…

    • lizhaywood on September 7, 2023 at 8:46 am

      Thank you, great tip!

Leave a Comment