What is the history of Babouche shoes?
The French word “babouche” describes a flat Moroccan slipper so soft that you can flatten the part that would cover your heel, and wear it under your feet. Deeper research reveals the word is Persian in origin, from “Papush”, Persian پاپوش with the “pa” referring to “foot”.
Around the 17th century the babouche became popular with French courtiers, possibly because the ultra soft soles suggested a life of tremendous leisure. Consequently, the babouche shoe became associated with nobility. France occupied Morocco from 1912- 1956. In the 1960s, Paris fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent absolutely fell in love with Marrakesh. In fact, the city became a major source of inspiration. He created a home there that soon developed into a thriving social hub with the fashion elite. According to GQ UK, “Saint Laurent would regularly wear babouche slippers to wander around his Yves Klein blue-drenched garden in the centre of the city.”
A few years ago, Vogue proclaimed the Moroccan babouche as the “Must- Have” shoe, and credited designer Phoebe Philo of Celine for launching the modern trend which continues today. Celine’s design, as well as other versions by Chanel, Prada and Balenciaga, catapulted babouches from the runway to street fashion.
What makes Vision Quest Shoes different?
Our babouche is an evolution of the traditional Moroccan slipper. We've transformed it into a modern sneaker with a bouncy rubber outsole. When you visit the markets in Marrakesh (or scroll on Etsy), you'll see shoes that look similar- but those will offer no support. In fact, they might even lack a clear right or left foot!
Well, Vision Quest Shoes pulled the genie out of the bottle by evolving the “Aladdin” slipper- offering the tread, comfort, and overall wearability of sneakers while maintaining its elegant and simplistic profile. The result is a comfortable design that has you feeling stylish, supported, and most of all, capable.
And we’re taking steps toward sustainability by using leather salvaged from dead stock inventory. Plus, we offer replacement footbeds to prolong the life cycle of your Vision Quest Shoes.
Finally, our babouche sneaker features the 'Yes' or 'No' eye logo, reminding us to ask the question, “Do the steps I’m taking carry me toward my vision?”.