Four of the most popular styles of Kilim shoes that Artemis creates—Kilim Loafers, Kilim Smoking Shoes, Kilim Slides, and Kilim Slippers—share more traits in common than they do in difference. Each is a one-of-a-kind object hand-crafted from vintage Turkish Kilim carpets, and you’ll never see another pair just like yours.
But there are differences in the cut and design (see line drawings above for an illustration of this) of our Kilim Shoes that make some styles better suited to certain situations or lifestyles. Read on below as we break down the differences between the styles, offer a few tips on how you can wear them, and even explore the historical backgrounds of each.
Women’s Kilim Loafers
Our Kilim Loafer might be considered the “classic” Artemis shoe. If you haven’t yet dipped your toes into the world of Kilim shoes, a pair of Kilim Loafers is a great place to start. This style has been our bestseller since we launched in 2013.
The term “loafer” represents a broad category, but its origins can be traced to early 20th century Norway, where rural shoemakers inspired by the traditional moccasins worn by Native Americans began making simple, leather slip-on shoes. The style spread to America, where it went on to inspire both the penny loafer and the horsebit loafer.
Our take on the loafer is quite different—it’s not made from leather but rather a vintage Kilim carpet, for starters—but it does feature a low vamp that allows feet to slide in with ease. And even though our Kilim Loafer is a slip-on, its design provides the support needed for all-day wear.
Versatility is one of our Kilim Loafer’s best aspects. You can wear it with jeans and a plain tee, match it to your favorite shift or sundress, or pair it to a dressier skirt or jacket. It’s equally suited to a quick brunch run or a full day of urban exploration. The style is also light enough that you can toss them in a bag to serve as a quick replacement to your heels.
The shape of our Kilim Loafer fits narrow or medium-width feet best, but they will stretch over time to accommodate most widths.
Women’s Kilim Smoking Shoes
Like any pair of siblings, our Kilim Smoking Shoes and Kilim Loafers share a strong resemblance. The most noticeable differences are the slightly wider width, and the vamp, as our women’s Kilim Smoking Shoes feature a much higher vamp than our women’s Kilim Loafers.
The fit of our Kilim Smoking Shoe closely resembles the natural shape of the foot, making them a touch wider than our Kilim Loafer. If your feet are of medium-width or on the wider side, you may find that the Kilim Smoking Shoe provides the best fit.
But those are not the only differentiating factors: our Kilim Smoking Shoes have a different shape owing to the inspiration drawn from classical male formalwear.
That’s right—our Kilim Smoking Shoes can trace their roots back to menswear: in particular, the velvet slippers sometimes known as “Prince Albert Slippers” that men wore with smoking jackets in their studies while partaking in after-dinner cigars. But you don’t need a smoking jacket—and you certainly don’t need a cigar—to enjoy the classic appeal of the smoking slipper, which continues to conjure old-school notions of sophistication, particularly when cut from a vintage Kilim carpet.
Just like the Kilim Loafer, Kilim Smoking Shoes can be paired with denim and skirts alike. But the formalwear roots of the Kilim Smoking Shoe make it just a touch dressier, allowing it to pair with more elevated looks or to create a high/low contrast with your favorite pair of jeans.
The difference between our Kilim Slides and our other styles is a bit more obvious. We were inspired by the ease and accessibility of the classic clog, but we wanted to give it a more feminine shape and a sleeker profile.
So just like a traditional clog, our Kilim Slides are open backed to allow for the fastest and easiest of fits. But it features a 1 and 1/4 -inch heel—about twice as high as our other styles—for an extra touch of elegance.
The final result may be more elevated than the typical clog, but the fit is just as convenient, and its styling is every bit as versatile. You can count on wearing yours with jeans and tights in the cooler months, and shorts and skirts in the summer. It’s just the thing to slip into before a quick coffee run or slide in-and-out-of as you glide through airport security.
The Kilim Slide fits well with all foot widths, but it tends to run a tad smaller than our other styles. If you find yourself between sizes, you may want to select the next full size up.
Like our Kilim Smoking Shoes, our Kilim Slippers feature a higher vamp and a ¾ inch heel. But as a mule style, the Kilim Slipper features an open back that ensures feet can slide straight in.
The mule has a long and rich history stretching back to ancient Rome, where they were worn by high-ranking magistrates and called mulleus calceus. This backless style later became synonymous with bedroom wear, but caught on as daytime wear in the 18th century French royal court, thanks in part to the trend-setting efforts of Marie Antoinette.
If you enjoy the look of our Kilim Smoking Shoes but want to have something a bit more casual, the Kilim Slipper is an excellent choice. You can pair it with denim, shorts, or wear it with a dress. The easy-on nature of its fit makes it a match for quick errands, but its higher amount of coverage helps to suit it for longer-term wear, too.
Like the Kilim Slide, our Kilim slippers are accommodating to the majority of foot widths but run a little bit smaller. For that reason, you should choose the next full size up if you are between sizes.