While comfort and warmth are the chief reasons to slide into a pair of cozy slippers when temperatures drop, a well-designed pair will soothe feet while providing the right amount of support for older adults.
Wearing slippers in colder months (and year-round) also provides health and safety benefits, as well. Not only can they help you keep the house sanitary by eliminating some of the transfer of dirt and bacteria from outside, they also can reduce the risk of bacterial and fungal infections.
The right slippers can also help prevent falls on slippery floors, and specially designed slippers can even help older adults with diabetes who live with foot ulcers, neuropathy and more.
“Good arch support is a must for any high-quality shoe, and slippers are no exception,” he said. “They can prevent tendonitis and heel pain, which are some of the most common symptoms of collapsing arches.”
“Wearing supportive slippers at home is a great way to help prevent and alleviate back, knee and hip pain because feet are the foundation of the body,” she said.
Common slipper shopping questions
What’s the best size to buy?
Experts recommend choosing normal shoe sizes, but some brands’ sizes run small or large, so check sizing charts. And if you plan to wear thick socks for warmth, consider going up a half size.
How do you clean slippers?
For caregiver convenience, look for brands that can be tossed in the washer. Leather or suede should be spot-cleaned. Experts recommend using an antibacterial shoe spray once a week to prevent odor and infection.
Can you wear slippers outside?
Though most people wear slippers indoors, some designs can be worn outside. A thick rubber sole provides traction and can prevent injury, while material like leather, suede and shearling keep feet warm. An enclosed style with a back provides more security, and feet are less likely to slip out when walking.
Slippers are available in several styles, and most brands offer designs appropriate for indoor and outdoor use (sock styles are meant for indoor use only):
- Bootie – Features protection around the ankle
- Clog or slide – Backless for ease of taking on and off
- Moccasin – Enclosed on the sides and at the heel
- Sock – Features grips applied to soles
Here are some top options for slippers by style:
Pros: Soft, warm, extra protection at ankle; machine-washable
Cons: Stiff sole that doesn’t conform easily to foot
Pros: Fully closed back to prevent feet from slipping out, memory foam footbed to reduce stress, rubber soles with anti-slip traction for indoor-outdoor use, faux fur lining to keep feet warm
Cons: Synthetic lining that may be too warm for some
Pros: Thick memory and EVA foam insole, hard rubber sole, nonslip sole designed for indoor and outdoor use
Cons: Runs small (check sizing chart)
Clog and Slide
Pros: Breathable, arch support, protective, thick felted outsole, indoor/outdoor use
Pros: Removable insole, lightweight, warm faux fur lining
Cons: Runs small, synthetic lining that may get too warm for some
Pros: Podiatrist-designed, easy to take on and off, sturdy sole, good support
Cons: Can be heavier than other styles
Pros: Memory foam footbed for a comfortable fit, hard sole that offers good support, soft shearling lining to wick away moisture
Cons: Lining that can get matted
Pros: Can be worn outside, doesn’t get too warm, fur cuff for warmth at the ankle
Cons: Not washable
Pros: Washable, high-density memory foam insole, plush fleece lining, nonslip sole for indoor/outdoor use
Cons: Runs small (check sizing chart)
Some experts say nonslip socks won’t completely negate the dangers of falling, and nonslip socks lack support and sole protection. However, if an older adult is recovering from surgery or mobility issues create challenges taking shoes on and off, socks with gripper soles are a good choice.
Pros: Worn by NASA astronauts, wool sock that hugs foot from toe to mid-calf, memory-foam footbed, microfleece lining, textured rubber nonskid sole
Cons: Hand-wash, air-dry only
Pros: Good value, half slipper-sock design, lightweight, vibrant, colorful designs
Cons: Can’t be worn outside, no foot support