Furlane or friulane shoe-slippers, also known as Gondolier slippers, are casual, flat, but sometimes high-heeled shoes. They usually have a velvet fabric upper and a flexible sole made of rubber. The rubber sole is a characteristic of the furlane; the uppers vary widely in style.
The furlane shoe originated in Venice, beside the countryside of Friuli towards the end of the Second World War. It was an expression of Venetian fashion in spite of rationing during the post-War economic crisis.
Red Cross nurses gathered the donations of velvet and fabric as well as old rubber from private donors and small businesses. They were used to offer simple and practical jobs to the unoccupied in various hospitals such as the Military Hospital, the Morelli di Popolo, and the Regina Margherita.
Sold on the Rialto Bridge, they then appeared on the feet of the Venetian gondoliers, who used them to protect the wood of the gondolas.
Furlane shoes came back into fashion in 2016. They have often been reshaped into a modified, elongated shape that has a small of heel and a slightly peaked toe.
Worn at the Venice Biennale, the furlane shoes won appeal for their origin in recycled materials, and adaptability.
The manufacture of furlane is generally more intricate than other slippers, with the upper part being the most complex to manufacture.