What Are Slippers and What To Consider When Buying

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Slippers are one essential that we all need in our closets.

While we often think of our shoes as being something we wear outside, slippers are indoor shoes that protect your feet and keep you comfortable at home.

Kaia Gerber, Vanessa Hudgens, Zara Larsson, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Lopez in comfy house slippersKaia Gerber, Vanessa Hudgens, Zara Larsson, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Lopez in comfy house slippers (Credit: Cousart / JFXimages / WENN)

Some types of slippers double as outdoor shoes, depending on the material of their soles. These shoes are worth a splurge, as you’ll often only need one pair to see you through a few years.

Slippers are shoes you’ll wear every day, while you’re prepping your morning coffee or applying your nightly skincare routine.

We’re covering everything you need to know about slippers, including the top 8 brands to look out for.

The Origins of Slippers

The word ‘slipper’ drives from ‘to slip’. It reflects how your feet slip into the shoes.

Slippers are some of the oldest shoes still in circulation today. We can trace their origin back to as early as 4700BC in China.

Slippers, as we know them today, date to at least the 12th century in Vietnam.

Their first recorded use in the Western world wasn’t until 1478. In these periods, slippers were made using cotton or woven rush, using leather lining.

They often carried embroidery symbols that represented an individual’s status.

Minnetonka Women’s Cally Faux Fur Slipper, $36.92 – $99.99 at Amazon

Minnetonka's best-selling handmade slipper features a timeless moccasin silhouette that fits snugly on the feetMinnetonka’s best-selling handmade slipper features a timeless moccasin silhouette that fits snugly on the feet

Slippers were made by Native Americans – who called them ‘moccasins’ – featuring beadwork and fringing as embellishments. The soft interior is similar to what we have today.

It was during the Victorian era that slippers became a common way of keeping your home clean from dirt and dust.

They became a popular DIY project for women who utilized their needlepoint skills to add embroidery to personalize their slippers.

We’ve all heard the phrase “glass slipper” from the fairy-tale Cinderella. In reality, most slippers are made with a fleece lining and rubber sole.

The slipper silhouette has evolved over the years. Not every style is an open-heel, and some have even adapted features from other silhouettes.

Are Slippers Shoes?

There is much debate around whether slippers qualify as being shoes. While they fall into the ‘footwear’ category, not every pair is wearable outside.

Although you wouldn’t wear slippers to work, they’re the shoes you’ll spend most of your free time wearing.

While most shoes have some style of fastening, whether it’s velour or laces, slippers don’t feature any fastenings. The wearability of slippers makes them a must-have.

You can easily slip your feet in and out of your slippers, making them perfect for wearing when getting out of bed.

UGG Women’s Coquette Slippers, $119.95 – $129.95 at Zappos

The Coquette is one of UGG's most popular slipper silhouettes featuring a Twinface sheepskin upper and a sheepskin insoleThe Coquette is one of UGG’s most popular slipper silhouettes featuring a Twinface sheepskin upper and a sheepskin insole

The most noticeable difference between slippers and traditional shoes is the material used.

Most slippers use a fluffy interior lining and a rubber sole, while most other shoes are made using leather.

Canvas and wood are two other popular shoe materials; however, you’ll rarely find these on slippers.

One major benefit of slippers is that they have a longer lifespan than traditional shoes.

Although they’re made using softer materials, you’re typically wearing them on stable surfaces like wooden floors and carpets.

While sneakers might last you a year or two, investing in slippers can get you years of wear.

Slippers vs. House Shoes

Slippers are commonly confused with house shoes. While they have several similarities, they have major distinctions. Slippers have a fuzzy interior lining that warms your feet.

You can wear them to grab the post from your mailbox or take your pet outside in the morning.

Most slippers have a similar appearance to traditional outdoor shoes. Slippers are a hybrid that you can wear indoors or outside.

House shoes are less expensive than slippers but aren’t as versatile or durable.

They’ll keep your feet protected and your floor clean, but they won’t give you the same look or feel.

The Popularity of Slippers

Slippers are the perfect solution if you have a shoe-free household.

If you have carpets or delicate floors in your home, you may be avoiding wearing your outdoor shoes inside to prevent leaving dirt or marks.

These situations are where slippers are a must-have. You can keep your feet protected without damaging your floors.

What attracts people to slippers is that they’re easy to wear, similar to mule shoes.

The open back and comfortable interior lining make them ideal for wearing at home when you want a more casual pair of shoes.

Vionic Nessie Faux Fur Lined Slipper, $99.95 at Nordstrom

The Vionic Nessie is an easy slip-on slipper that has the label's signature orthotic footbed for support and comfortThe Vionic Nessie is an easy slip-on slipper that has the label’s signature orthotic footbed for support and comfort

With so many different styles on the market, you’re certain to find a pair that works for you.

If you live in a colder climate, you might prefer the slipper boot style.

L.L. Bean Women’s Wicked Good Slipper Boot, $99 at L.L. Bean

For the colder weather, a pair of slipper boots like the L.L. Bean's Wicked Good should keep you warm and cozyFor the colder weather, a pair of slipper boots like the L.L. Bean’s Wicked Good should keep you warm and cozy

Their versatility and wearability make them the perfect shoes to sit beside your bed or next to your front door.

You can find slippers in every color under the rainbow, whether you’re a fan of pastel pink or classic monochrome grey.

What to Consider When Buying Slippers

Before we jump into our brand recommendations, we want to point out a few things you should consider when purchasing slippers.

The sole is perhaps the most important feature.

While it’s not usually what will attract you to a specific style, it’s the feature that will determine the wearability of your slippers.

Acorn Women’s Cozy Faux Fur Moc Slippers, $32.48 – $133 at Amazon

Acorn's Moc Slippers feature rubber outsoles that make them perfect for both indoor and outdoor wearAcorn’s Moc Slippers feature rubber outsoles that make them perfect for both indoor and outdoor wear

If you intend to wear your slippers outside, you want to focus on finding a pair with rubber soles for added protection.

These soles will help if you need extra arch support, as softer soles will have you walking flatter against the ground.

It’s also worth noting that softer soles will wear quicker over time, especially if you’re walking on harder surfaces.

If you want to get the most out of your slippers, it’s a good idea to wear them strictly indoors.

Dear Dreams Women’s Jessica Furry Cross-Band Slide Slippers, $18.20 – $28 at Amazon

Open toe slippers like Dear Dreams' Jessica is wearable even during the warmer daysOpen-toe slippers like Dear Dreams’ Jessica is wearable even during the warmer days

It may seem a little unconventional, but you want to consider your climate before choosing which slippers to buy.

While you can wear them year-round, slippers are a must-have when the temperatures fall, and your feet start to get cold.

If you have circulation issues, slippers can be a gamechanger.

They’re a warmer alternative to socks and leave you less likely to slip on smooth surfaces.

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