What to look for in slip-on shoes, according to experts

Two renowned foot surgeons weigh in.

May 2, 2024, 4:07 AM
The slip-on shoes for men and women.
The slip-on shoes for men and women.
ABC News Photo Illustration, Nike, Crocs, Skechers, Amazon

Slip-on shoes are the epitome of convenience, offering effortless style and easy wearability for any occasion.

Whether you're dashing out for a quick errand or dressing up for a casual outing, slip-ons provide the perfect balance of comfort and versatility. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the best pair for your needs? We turned to two experts who helped inform this guide to help you navigate the world of slip-on shoes.

From essential features to consider to top picks on the market, read on to discover everything you need to know about finding the perfect pair of slip-on.

Our experts

Dr. Brad Schaeffer and Dr. Ebonie Vincent are stars of the TLC show "My Feet Are Killing Me."

  • Dr. Schaeffer is a Board Certified Foot Surgeon with the ABFAS. He trained at a Comprehensive Foot & Ankle Reconstructive Surgical Residency Program at Hoboken University Medical Center. After residency, he has continued training and crafting his skillset in cutting-edge surgical techniques and regenerative medicine.
  • Dr. Vincent is a foot and ankle surgeon who completed her undergraduate education at Hampton University in Virginia, a Master of Biomedical Science at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, and her Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree at Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa. She then completed a three-year residency program at Inspira Health Network in Vineland, New Jersey.

PHOTO: The slip-on shoes for men and women.
The slip-on shoes for men and women.
ABC News Photo Illustration, Nike, Crocs, Skechers, Amazon

What to look for when considering slip-on shoes

When choosing the perfect pair, consider factors such as material, fit, comfort features, durability, and style. "You should look for shoes with a tab to help pull the backing over the heel," said Dr. Vincent. "The heel cup should be deep enough to support the heel."

Dr. Schafer agreed, saying, "The best thing is looking for a stable back, which is in the rear foot. So when you are slipping on a shoe, you have something to stabilize you."

Look for slip-ons with sturdy construction, cushioned insoles, and flexible outsoles for all-day comfort. Additionally, prioritize brands known for quality craftsmanship and innovative designs.

Tips for buying slip-on shoes:

  • Fit is Key: Ensure the shoes fit snugly but not too tight. Look for slip-ons with elastic panels or stretchy materials for a comfortable fit.
  • Quality Materials: For durability and breathability, opt for shoes made from high-quality materials like leather, canvas, or knit fabric. "Materials that have a certain amount of give can be beneficial with slip-on shoes as they will allow the ease of use the slip-on shoes can offer," advises Dr. Vincent.
  • Comfort Features: Look for cushioned insoles, arch support, and moisture-wicking linings for enhanced comfort, especially if you'll be wearing them for extended periods. Dr. Schaefer recommends custom in-soles or orthotics because padding and arch support is "everything."
  • Style Versatility: Choose slip-ons that can easily transition from casual to semi-formal occasions, offering versatility in your wardrobe.

Whether you're running errands, hitting the gym, or enjoying a night out, these expert-recommended slip-on shoes offer the perfect blend of style and comfort for any occasion.

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The best slip-on shoes for men

Skechers

Skechers Men's Equalizer 5.0

This shoe provides all-day comfort and support. Featuring a memory foam insole and shock-absorbing midsole, these sneakers provide exceptional cushioning and stability all day long.

  • Why it's best: Offers exceptional comfort and support with a memory foam insole and shock-absorbing midsole.
  • Who it's best for: Those seeking all-day comfort for casual outings or light activities.
  • $70
  • Skechers
Nordstrom

Cole Haan Grand Laser Driving Penny Loafer

Step out in timeless style with these black slip-on loafers by Cole Haan. With a classic design, cushioned footbed, and durable rubber outsole, these loafers are the go-to choice for those seeking versatility and comfort in their everyday footwear.

  • Why it's best: Classic and versatile design with a cushioned footbed and durable rubber outsole.
  • Who it's best for: Those looking for a timeless, go-to shoe that pairs effortlessly with any outfit.
  • $140
  • Nordstrom
Nike

Nike SB Janoski+ Slip Skate Shoes

You don't have to dominate the skate park to appreciate the style and comfort of the Nike SB Janoski+ Slip. Designed for skateboarding enthusiasts, these slip-ons feature a durable suede upper and a sock-like liner perfect for on and off the halfpipe.

  • Why it's best: Provides excellent grip with a durable suede upper and streamlied black silhouette.
  • Who it's best for: Those looking for a sporty shoe that feels comfortable and stays put.
  • $85
  • Nike
Vivaia

Vivaia Unisex Sneaker Sliders

Experience all-day comfort and style with the Vivaia Unisex Sneaker Sliders. Crafted with a breathable knit upper and cushioned insole, these lightweight slip-ons are perfect for men looking for a stylish option for everyday wear.

  • Why it's best: Features a breathable knit upper and cushioned insole for all-day comfort.
  • Who it's best for: Men looking for a lightweight and stylish option for everyday wear.
  • $119
  • Vivaia
30% off
Zappos

Clarks Cotrell Step

Elevate your professional wardrobe with the Cotrell Step slip-ons by Clarks. Crafted from premium leather with a moisture-wicking lining and OrthoLite footbed, these slip-ons offer superior comfort and sophistication for work or formal occasions.

  • Why it's best: Whether dressed up or down, this shoe provides support thanks to its cushioned footbed and soft lining. The heel pull makes it even easier to put on.
  • Who it's best for: Professionals seeking a sophisticated yet comfortable slip-on for work or formal occasions.
  • $63
  • $90
  • Zappos
Nike

Nike Calm Men's Mules

Slip into laid-back style and comfort with the Nike Calm Men's Mule. Featuring a padded strap and cushioned foam footbed, these slides offer the perfect combination of ease and support for casual outings or post-workout relaxation.

  • Why it's best: Combines slip-on convenience with Nike's renowned comfort, featuring a padded strap and cushioned footbed.
  • Who it's best for: Men seeking a casual yet elevated slide for everything from vacations to running errands. 
  • $60
  • Nike

The best slip-on shoes for women

Skechers

Skechers BOBS Urban Highlites

Embrace fashion and comfort with the Skechers BOBS Urban Highlites. Featuring a classic espadrille silhouette and a cushioned memory foam insole, these flats are perfect for women who prioritize both style and comfort.

  • Why it's best: Offers a stretchy canvas upper and a memory foam insole making it a stylish yet comfortable choice.
  • Who it's best for: Women who value both style and comfort in their everyday footwear.
  • $60
  • Skechers
Allbirds

Allbirds Women's Tree Dasher Relay

The one-piece upper makes this shoe comfortable thanks to no seams. The padded heel collar allows you to use this shoe for runs while being able to slip on and off with ease. 

  • Why it's best: Offers a sleek and sporty design with a breathable mesh upper and padded heel collar that offers incredible support. 
  • Who it's best for: Active women seeking a lightweight and supportive slip-on shoe for workouts or everyday wear.
  • $135
  • Allbirds
Rothy's

Rothy's The Original Slip On Sneaker

This machine-washable shoe has a comfortable insole that provides a custom-like fit. The loafer silhouette comes in several colors and is easy to wear as it is to pack thanks to its lightweight, flexible feel.

  • Why it's best: Offers a lightweight and flexible design with no "break-in" required. 
  • Who it's best for: Those looking for a sustainably made shoe that provides style and comfort.
  • $119
  • Rothy's
Crocs

Crocs Classic Clog

This cult-favorite shoe is popular for a reason. It's breathable, water-friendly, comfortable and easy to clean. As a bonus, you customize your Crocs with Jibitz shoe gems and choose from myriad different colors.

  • Why it's best: The lightweight slip-on provides arch support and is easy to clean thanks to its durable foam design.
  • Who it's best for: Women (men and kids, too) who are looking for a fun way to express themselves via their footwear, without having to sacrifice functionality. 
  • $49.99
  • Crocs
Vivaia

Vivaia Women's Pointed Toe Slip-On Flat

Elevate your style while supporting sustainability with the Vivaia Women's Pointed Toe Slip-On Flat. Made from recycled materials and featuring a memory foam insole, these chic slip-ons offer both comfort and eco-conscious design, perfect for environmentally-conscious individuals for work or casual wear.

  • Why it's best: Sustainable and stylish, made from recycled materials with a memory foam insole for comfort.
  • Who it's best for: Environmentally-conscious individuals seeking chic slip-ons for both work and casual wear.
  • $97
  • Vivaia
28% off
Amazon

Adidas Women's Puremotion Adapt

Designed to withstand the demands of your active lifestyle, the Adidas Women's Puremotion Adapt features a durable synthetic outsole. From busy city streets to outdoor adventures, this reliable outsole provides exceptional traction, allowing you to confidently navigate any surface with ease.

  • Why it's best: From the cushioned insole to the laceless design, these shoes provide a lot in the way of features.
  • Who it's best for: Women who are looking for an athletic shoe that's easy to put on and provides plush comfort. 
  • $49.98
  • $70
  • Amazon

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