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What is a Slip-On Shoe?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Feb 13, 2024
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A slip-on shoe is a type of shoe without straps or laces, that may be slid easily onto and off of the foot. There are many different types of slip-on shoes; in fact, almost any style of shoe can be made in a slip-on version. They can often look very stylish and be very comfortable, and may be made out of many different materials.

Flip-flops are a type of slip-on shoe. They generally just feature two straps that go between the toes and over the top of the feet, and a very flat sole. Though they can be quite comfortable during warm weather, it is generally not recommended that one wear them on a daily basis because they do not provide the necessary support to the feet, which can lead to pain in the feet, legs, and back. Sandals are also a type of slip-on shoe, and these may be flat or have heels.

Ballet flats, loafers, Venetian-style shoes, and moccasins are other common types of slip-on shoes. These styles of slip-on shoe are often very stylish for men or women, and can be dressed up or down depending on the outfit, and worn in warm or cool weather. These can also occasionally provide more support than flip-flops, or other flat sandals.

In addition to traditional slip-on sandals and flats, slip-on sneakers are now quite popular. These are often able to provide all the support and comfort of a sneaker, without the need to tie laces or use straps to keep them on. These sneakers are generally intended for everyday use or walking, and not usually for more vigorous exercises, such as jogging or dancing.

Laceless boots are another type of slip-on shoe, but it is generally not possible to simply slip these on and off without a bit of work. Snow boots often do not feature laces, and may simply be pulled on. Of course, there are more designs of slip-on shoes available; even house slippers may be considered a type of slip-on shoe, even though they are simply worn around the home. As when choosing any other type of shoe, be sure to try on slip-on shoes in the store and walk around in them briefly to be sure they are supportive and comfortable. These shoes can also be great for kids who have not yet learned to tie their shoes, or for people who have limited mobility in their hands or fingers.

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Discussion Comments
By anon288701 — On Aug 31, 2012

@Oceana: I agree with Perdido. Sometimes that little bit of a heel makes a difference. I personally do not like the plastic flip flops because they rub my feet too much, and the dollar store brands just don't last very long. I like to have flip flops that I can have for months and they don't wear down.

I have a brand called the cariris sandals that haven't worn out yet. I have had them for about three months now and love to wear them. They have a few styles that have a heel on them too.

It is always a key thing for me to buy flip flops that I will enjoy wearing and not regret buying. Nowadays it is hard to find a good pair of flip flops. That's all I basically wear before winter comes.

By Perdido — On Jan 28, 2012

@Oceana – Regular flip-flops bothered my feet, too. I found types of slip-on shoes that were similar in design but included a bit of a heel for support, and I have had no more problems.

There are sandals with chunky woven heels that also have thongs between the toes, so they are like a flip-flop/sandal hybrid. The best kind are those that rise up toward the heel, because those that sit level on high platforms don't offer any arch support.

You can also find shoes that look just like flip-flops but have a bit of a heel. I have a pair of black flip-flops like this, and the sole rises up toward the back. It also has a unique shape designed to fit into my arches.

By Oceana — On Jan 27, 2012

Flip-flops are my favorite type of women's slip-on shoe, but I have high arches, and if I wear them for very long, my feet start to hurt. The same thing happens when I wear ballet flats.

It is a weird soreness that starts right in the middle of my foot and seems to shoot all the way through to the top. I often get the pain while sitting at my desk, and I have to slip the flip-flop off and stretch my foot.

Does anyone else here experience this type of pain? I wish that I could find a way to wear flip-flops without hurting my feet, because I own so many of them, and they are great at keeping me cool in the summer.

By kylee07drg — On Jan 27, 2012

One thing you will always need to consider when buying slip-on dress shoes is what kind of socks you will be wearing with them. It is best to wear those socks to the shoe store so you can see how they will feel with the shoes.

I have some thin black trouser socks that I wear with my dress shoes. These shoes are black suede with a bow on top and a ribbon that loops through slits in the sides of the shoe.

When I went shoe shopping, I wore the trouser socks. I'm glad that I did, because I had my eye on another pair, but when I tried them on, there was way too much room between my socks and the shoes. I bought the black suede ones, because they fit perfectly with these socks.

By OeKc05 — On Jan 26, 2012

It is so important to try out slip-on shoes before buying them. I have been guilty of buying a pair on sale without walking around in them first, and I regretted it.

The thing about slip-on shoes is that they are notorious for slipping up and down if they don't fit snugly. I have a narrow foot, so this happens often for me.

I find that my feet and toes are trying to grip the shoe as I walk to keep it from sliding around. This is highly annoying.

Now, I always try on shoes in the store and walk up and down the aisle wearing them. I take enough steps to get a good feel for how they will behave before buying them.

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