The comfortable slip-on has been occupying my headspace for a while now. Since the onset of our New Normal, mules, clogs, and other house-adjacent footwear have been on the rise. Crocs are once again permeating the timeline — look across the digital ocean of fit pics and you’re bound to come across a pair, subtly featured in a full-length Ikea mirror. After grabbing a pair of Merrell Hydro Mocs (remember the Jungle Mocs?), the seeds for my slipper interest were sowed.
Following that purchase about a year and a half ago, I have found that my desire for comfortable footwear had only increased. To scratch this itch I started doing some research on a clog that could strike the balance between pristine house shoes and something robust enough to brave outdoor conditions.
Initial attempts to track down such a pair brought me face-to-face with my own mortality: Hunter’s Gardener Clogs. These are the exact shoes I’ve seen on middle-aged suburban dads perusing the wine section of Publix. Because of that association, I found myself looking again. It didn’t take long for me to find what I had been looking for my whole life: Suicoke’s Pepper-evab mocassins.
I had been aware of the Japanese brand Suicoke but had never really delved into its full catalog. Even though I like most of what I see from the well-known sandal-maker, it never occurred to me to take the plunge. Despite having a fairly accessible aesthetic, my idea of the typical Suicoke-user is someone adorned in Rick Owen jeans or some other collection of luxury fashion house goods. In that sense, I viewed them as a complement to an excessive outfit rather than something to pair with monochromatic sweats, fished out of a Value Village bargain bin.
But that was the old me, and after laying eyes on Suicoke’s Pepper-evab moccasins, which were part of the Fall/Winter 2021 collection, all of my preconceived notions went out the window. Finally, a pair of truly versatile mocs that could be dressed up, down, or even be taken for a spin around the block.
What I love about this particular pair of shoes is its diversification of materials — the upper is constructed with a mix of nylon, 3M Thinsulate, and eVent lining. This three-ingredient cocktail makes for a lightweight, breathable walking experience. And while I wouldn’t recommend wearing them through a tundra of snow, Thinsulate helps trap body heat while allowing moisture to escape, so they are still a viable option during the winter. In the event that it’s a little wet outside, you can also get away with donning the PEPPER-evab’s considering eVent is a waterproof fabric, used most commonly in waterproof jackets.
As far as the sole goes, it’s weighty enough to give off the impression that you’re wearing something sturdy, without being too heavy. There is also a tightening strap that secures the mocs according to preference. Normally, mules and/or clogs have some slippage that comes with no shoelaces, but this adjustable strap helps reduce that sensation. After wearing them around for a couple of weeks, they’ve also molded to my foot.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to settling on a pair of mules, mocs, or clogs. You will be compromising on fit (the natural slippage) in order to prioritize comfort and ease of taking them on/off. Additionally, there is a break-in period, granted one that is not as long as say a brand new pair of Doc Martens or another heavy boot. I recommend ordering a size up as they run a little small.
All in all, the Pepper-evab’s are simultaneously sturdy and lightweight, serving as a pair of weighted pillows for your feet. The build quality is noticeably high and I can tell that they will hold up well over the years, regardless of the weather. These will serve as the lynchpin for my future fall and spring outfits moving forward.
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