Opera slippers are not for everyone, at least not in the traditional sense. Typically, these elegant velvet classics are best accompanied by a smoking jacket, ascot, and crystal tumbler filled with a 30 year-old single malt. The addition of an enormous mansion, butler, and classy cocktail party more or less round out their patrician reputation.
Bull + Tassel, a brand founded by David Zimmerman, seeks to re-imagine the opera slipper as a modern, casual piece of footwear. He has taken the shoe’s inherent benefits and moved the style in a more practical direction. Instead of a refined house shoe never meant to see a sidewalk let alone the front stoop, we now have a clever hybrid very much at home when on the go or just strolling down the driveway to check the mail.
Instead of velvet, Bull + Tassel offers three variations rendered in a proprietary grosgrain- or cotton-based fabric. The soles are a sturdy, studded rubber that easy handle most day-to-day conditions. OTC tested the “Biff” model, shown above, and we were quite impressed. Rather than the expected soft, unstructured slip-ins, we instead found ourselves with a lightweight, stylish, and durable shoe that is both unique and a lot of fun.
Zimmerman is the founder of Matador Alcove, a small private club (lounge, drinks, and a haircut) in Costa Mesa, California – which may explain the “bull” in Bull + Tassel. To Zimmerman, the brand’s name reflects the melding of strength and refinement, two qualities that he feels best define the modern gentleman. His shoes fit that description nicely.