Tuesday, 29 May 2012

My Cool Reino Slippers

Reino Slippers
When I left my job recently, I was touched to discover that my Finnish co-workers had clubbed together to get me a present: a pair of Reino slippers filled with Finnish Fazer milk chocolates.

Now, I understood clearly the significance of Fazerin Sininen, as I could never resist those chocolates when they were in the vicinity. But the Reino slippers? I wasn't leaving to retire, so why?

Well, my colleagues assured me, Reino slippers (and their close relation the Aino slippers) are super cool in Finland right now. And clearly, I am a super cool dude also (my interpretation).

But hold on, slippers, super cool? Tartan slippers, super cool? Since when?

So I googled "cool slippers for men" and the outcome was fairly inconclusive. It seems the terms "cool" and "slippers" do not appear naturally with each other in cyberspace, except for some novelty footwear (novelty being, by any measure, an antonym of cool). Certainly, Reino slippers did not make it to the top of the search result list.

It must be a Finnish thing, I thought. Maybe some post-modern fashion statement of some kind, or an ironic wink at times gone by or whatever but in a cool way.

Or maybe it's one big joke, a Finnish take on the emperor's new clothes (give a foreigner some old fashioned slippers, tell them they are super cool and have lots of laughs recounting the story to mates in the pubi afterwards). After all, a quick perusal of the Reino & Aino website does not give one the impression of a brand actively looking to capture trendy new markets.

In the past couple of days, while staying in the Finnish countryside, I saw two things which helped me form my own opinion of how cool Reino slippers really are.

First, I came across the local, partly-retired chicken farmer wearing a pair of Reino slippers.

Second, I saw the following in the local supermarket:

Reino beer and Aino cider
This is not super cool Reino-branded Finlandia vodka, this is Olvi Reino beer and Olvi Aino cider. In a cheap supermarket. In the Finnish countryside.

So it wasn't my sense of cool that my co-workers were appealing to after all, it was actually my sense of humour. Oh well...

At any rate, I will definitely be wearing my Reino slippers next winter.

In an ironic, post-modern sort of way, of course.

15 comments:

  1. I have also been told these slippers are cool. My Finnish cousin was telling me about them one christmas as he was looking for something to get my dad (who is retired).

    Then recently I read an article about how the Finnish youth are starting to act like grandparents already in their 20s-30s. Knitting, gardening associations, bridge clubs, baking clubs, wearing their hair up and buying gigantic glasses. Trying to re-solidify old Finnish tradition rather than turning their backs on it. So maybe they can be cool and are cool precisely for the reason that there isn't some trendy marketing scheme behind it.

    The beer is inexplicably tacky though.

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  2. The only solution is to wear them out to a club or a bar in order to see what kind of reaction they elicit. ;)

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  3. I guess you should be relieved they didn't get you a fleecy "haalari" jumpsuit as well... I have actually seen people in their 20s wearing those on the street in Helsinki.

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  4. Reino's are cool, few of my female and male friends wear them everyday.

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  5. Check this out:
    http://nordicmumsnotebook.wordpress.com/tag/aino-reino-slippers/

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  6. I had the same kind of reaction a couple of years ago. My Finnish boyfriend was looking for Christmas presents and settled for Reino's as a present for his father (who is not even retired yet). I gasped. I asked him if it was a silly "look at how old you are ah ah ah!" kind of joke. But he was very serious and went on to buy the slippers.

    I was still half-convinced that it was indeed a son-to-father stupid joke, so I looked at the father's face when he opened the package. And of course, since the man was a true Finn, his face didn't show anything at all. The only clue I have is, the father actually wears them. Argh.

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  7. At least rappers approve:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9DFWp32L6g&t=0m50s

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    Replies
    1. Blink and you miss it! I finally spotted the Reinos at 2:15!

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    2. Listen to the lyrics "Reino's on my feet!" at 0:51, so right where the original link indicates.

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  8. I bought Reinos for my husband a couple of years ago. And he bought me pink Reinos - how cute. :) I am 28 and my hubby is 30.

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    Replies
    1. Reinos - the secret of marital bliss!

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  9. Reinos are traditional slippers, the main point with them is that they are comfortable, good looking (we classy finns) and easy to wear. If someone buys you Reino's they just want you to have slippers that you can enjoy and be happy with. I think that there are no age references or anything similar with these.

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  10. My little brother wears his Reino's to clubs and gigs. I haven't had the chance yet (not really a clubbing sort of guy myself), but there would be no shame in doing so, even if they are a bit tongue in cheek. The only downside is that because their base is made of soft rubber mix they wear off fast when walking on pavement. I would guess for a foreigner to wear Reino's would be a great conversation starter.
    As one commenter said the whole comeback of Reino's is related to the "back to the roots" kind of movement, finnish vintage so to say. One step further would be to wear a pair of tuohivirsu's, but I haven't seen those yet...

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  11. I did buy them at trendyslippers.com but they do not have them anymore. Can anyone help me find some that I can order from the internet ?

    Thanks

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  12. I'll be in Finland for Christmas this year (2014) and these slippers are definitely on my Christmas wish list!

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