I tried the $140 velvet slippers you've seen all over Instagram - they were surprisingly comfortable and wearable outdoors

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birdies nordstromBirdies/Facebook

  • The classic smoking slipper, a symbol of luxurious, at-home sophistication, gets a fun and modern update by a new online shoe company called Birdies.
  • Seven layers of responsive cushion technology, including shock-absorbing cushioning and high density memory foam, make these velvet slippers comfortable and practical enough to wear outside your house.
  • My Heron Slippers ($120-$140) drew many compliments for their silhouette and pattern, but I was just as eager to tell my friends how soft and comfortable they felt inside and out.

Some shoes, like a pair of springy Ultra Boosts, look ready for action. Put them on and you're suddenly inspired to go on a morning jog followed by brunch in the city and an errands run. Others encourage you to slow down the pace, looking slightly more appropriate for a lazy lounging and book-reading session or afternoon coffee with a good friend.

Birdies shoes fall in the latter camp. The San Francisco-based company, founded by former executives of Ross Stores and Facebook retail partnerships, calls its shoe "the stylish flat that's secretly a slipper" because they look luxuriously chic but are also surprisingly comfortable.

While you probably won't be able to replace your running sneakers with them, they do prove to be more than just another pretty smoking slipper. You'll look stylish when you sit down for your drink at the cafe, but you'll also be able to take a stroll in them afterwards.

birdies slippersBirdies

The Birdies smoking slippers come in two different silhouettes: The Starling, which has a more rectangular toe and cut, and The Heron, which has a more pointed toe and triangular cut. Each comes in a variety of colors and prints.

Read more: Women in New York City and San Francisco are obsessed with these comfortable flats made from recycled water bottles - here's what they feel like

I tried The Heron in Sky Velvet, a whimsical indigo style emblazoned with silver stars. Eyeing the lush, soft velvet covering the entire shoe exterior and the quilted satin footbed, I could already anticipate the comfort awaiting me.

As suggested by the company, I ordered half a size up (the Nordstrom website says to go one whole size up, but I found half a size fit perfectly). The slippers were immediately comfortable, no doubt thanks to the seven-layer responsive cushion design, which includes shock-absorbing cushioning and dual-layer high density memory foam.

Support runs through the entire length of the shoe, from the memory foam at the ball of the foot, to the elevated arch support, to the pressure-relieving extra padding at the heel. While the back of the shoe did rub up against my heel initially, I experience this sensation while breaking in all types of new shoes, and the rest of it yielded easily to my foot.

The quilted satin footbed was bouncy, making me feel like I was stepping into a pillow every time I slipped the shoes on. This texture and fabric is perfect for cooler temperatures when you're looking for a change from sneakers and boots but don't want your feet to freeze. In warmer temperatures, however, they might overheat or feel stifled in these slippers.

birdies slippers 1Birdies/Instagram

Whether you prefer understated or fun styles, Birdies offers sophisticated indulgence in its velvet slippers. You can get them in a muted olive and classic black, or add a handful of sparkling crystals and spunky leopard print if you like to experiment with contrast. I personally like the patterned styles more because they make the velvet slipper, which might be brushed off as stuffy, more lively and approachable.

The company's modern, elevated take on a classic style is not unlike the way M.Gemi brought excitement back to the leather loafer. Previously, I might've thought Birdies were a cute albeit impractical slipper to infuse your day with velvety luxury, but now I know they're more: stylish, luxurious, and comfortable, all at once.

Shop the Birdies Heron Slipper for $120-$140 at Nordstrom here

Shop all Birdies slippers at Nordstrom here

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