Best Slippers for Men of 2020
We came to love the overall design of the Sorel Falcon Ridge. Its best attribute is also the best example of compromise working as hoped. The heel height of the Sorel is almost exactly halfway between the low and "normal" options out there. With this mid-height heel cup, you get slip-on convenience and walking security. Why aren't all slippers like this? Beyond that, the Sorel fits as advertised, comes in whole number shoe sizes, and has a sticky, rubber outsole.
The primary drawbacks of the Sorel are related. They are expensive; at this price point in other slippers, you can get real sheepskin lining, which is more comfortable than the faux fur lining of the Falcon Ridge. For extended, against-the-skin wear, real sheepskin is better at managing perspiration and temperatures when compared to synthetic versions. We don't expect budget products to have sheepskin, but at this price point, others are delivering real sheepskin.
The RockDove Men's Two-Tone slippers are truly slip-on and available at a very reasonable price. If you really just need slippers for short shuffles through the house, these will do the job. The lining is smooth for even easier on and off. The insole, when new, offers nearly the most squishy cushioning in our entire test. Only one had a softer initial feel.
That soft initial padding will pack down with time and "mileage. Further, the outsole of the RockDove is the least grippy of any in our test. In side-by-side testing (literally, different models on different feet), these had the poorest traction on carpet, linoleum, and wet outside deck boards. We'd recommend taking care when walking on these surfaces.
We love the Ugg Ascot as an extended, all-climate, working from home option, and you will readily justify the expense of these top of the line shoes. The natural sheepskin portion of the lining, covering most of your foot, moderates temperature and moisture way better than synthetic options. Over hours of wear, you will notice the advantages. In testing head-to-head and for hours and days, we appreciated the natural sheepskin.
Choose your size carefully. We found our test pair to be a bit small, but that could vary with the natural variances in the sheepskin lining. These are very expensive slippers. Finally, unless you size them way up (somewhat negating many of the benefits), you will have to use a hand or two to get them on. For many, this is a dealbreaker, especially when there are competitive alternatives that don't require bending down.
The Amazon Essentials Men's Leather Moccasins offer an excellent value for their above-average walking performance and low price. The full-heeled design stays put on your foot better than low-heel options but goes on harder. The faux fur lining is forgiving and smooth against a bare foot or sock. The outsole is a little grippier than average.
These slippers are not machine washable, low on insulation, and require a hand for most to get them on. None of these are "dealbreakers" if you want budget slippers for more extended wear around the house.
If you spend more time than average walking around in your house slippers, we recommend the Isotoner Men's Whipstitch Gel Infused slippers. These offer a spectacular amount of cushion and support underfoot; in fact, more than any other model we tested. They are nearly as supportive as basic street shoes. The insole is contoured with basic arch support and a ridge "toe rest". Sized properly, you can often slip them on without a hand, but they're not as easy to get on and off as kick style slippers.
These Isotoners are expensive, and after walking around the neighborhood, we experienced the beginning of a failure on a significant seam. No other pair in our fleet showed such a dramatic failure. This particular failure is small, but it shouldn't show up so early in use. For the support, you'll likely find yourself overlooking such construction inadequacies.
The Woolen slippers from HomeIdeas are simple, slip-on house footwear. The model name is curious, as there is nothing woolen about them. Aside from the rubber sole and some sort of foam hidden within, they are made entirely of synthetic fleece. The fleece is smooth and kicks on and off of bare and sock feet. Instructions indicate that you can machine wash these slippers. We like this.
Like any kick style slipper, the HomeIdeas entry isn't made for extensive movement up and about. You'll use these for short trips to the bathroom and to keep your toes warm beneath your desk. In terms of warmth, the two layers of fleece are insulating, but the bare heel lets the cold air circulate freely.
One tester summed up virtually everyone's first impression of the Zigzagger Men's Fuzzy Microsuede by observing that "they feel like walking on a pillow". These have the softest, squishiest insole; that insole is fleece and foam and will certainly compress with time and use. In the meantime, enjoy the luxurious padding.
We wish these were better for walking. The full heel coverage suggests that they should walk okay, but that heel slips right off while striding. It is sort of the worst of both worlds; the heel requires a hand to get on but doesn't stay on while walking. On the other hand, the heel cup does lend insulation while at rest. Overall, we like the layout and wouldn't suggest that these slippers should lose the heel cup.
The Acorn Moc scores very well in other online reviews, and we can back up this claim. We only include excellent products in our fleet and the Acorn is a superb and asthetically pleasing model. It's warm, easy to get on, and made with robust materials and tight tolerances.
On the other hand, the interior of the Acorn Moc is lumpier than any other we tested. Beneath your heel, an Acorn logo noticeably interrupts an otherwise smooth and cushy footbed. Just behind each big toe is a prominent seam that you can feel dramatically without socks on. With socks on, both of these annoyance points are less, but not gone altogether.
The NDB Memory Foam Slipper is the only low-heel model in our test that has a slightly "hardened" outer. The outer layer is imitation suede that sheds grass and leaves better than the fleece outers of the other budget and slip-on products in the test. If your slipper needs to include minimal walking, a price that is friendly on the wallet, and the need to occasionally go to the yard, this is a good choice.
The overall quality is pretty low, with missing stitches and stray threads right out of the package. The insole is foamy, but not nearly as cushioning as other options available. The outsole, in head-to-head traction testing, was tied with two others for the least traction in our entire test.
Why You Should Trust Us
We enlisted mountain guide and professional rest-day aficionado Jed Porter to lead the quarantined slipper testing charge. His attention to detail is matched only by his enthusiastic and authoritative belief that happy, healthy, and comfortable feet are key to all the kinds of success.
We tested in the cold and blustery spring climate of Idaho's Teton Valley. Our testing, as usual, was objective, repeatable, and compared directly products purchased at retail. We balance "real world" use and testing with a formalized investigation of each pair of slippers. We also tested "beyond" typical usage to bring out more subtle differences. Notably, we walked around the neighborhood outside to deduce both durability and walking support/comfort.
Analysis and Test Results
Our slipper review and testing cover a wide range of styles, prices, and applications. Whether you're new to the slipper world, are just looking for something to wear during a temporary convalescence, or you are searching for your tenth pair and looking to upgrade, our fleet offers a wide selection.
Note that we didn't assess for fit, as doing so with slippers is especially challenging. When shopping for, comparing, and reviewing traditional footwear, we can rely on the marked size and make comparative fit generalizations. Some slippers are sized the same way as regular shoes, but some are not. About half of the slippers we tested are sold to fit a range of whole men's shoe sizes. Further, not all of them "break" sizes at the same point. We purchased all slippers to fit our lead test editor's size 8.5 to 9 feet.
With the Isotoner Whipstitch, this meant buying size medium, intended to cover a range from 8-9. On the other hand, the RockDove Two-Tone medium covers sizes 9-10. The Isotoners were a little tight, but the RockDove was just right. Making direct comparisons of all the available size choices you have to make would be infinitely complicated. In short, generally, if you have a choice, we recommend sizing up. You want your slippers to be looser rather than tighter.
Ease of On and Off
Easy on and easy off is what defines slippers. They aren't called "slippers" because you'll slide across the linoleum — though you might, in some cases. You certainly won't fuss with laces, and in some cases, you might absolutely need your slippers to go on and off without the use of your hands. All that we tested can be forced on without your hands, depending on your socks and the fit you end up with. However, models without a heel slip-on much more easily.
The NDB Memory Foam Slipper, Zigzagger Men's Fuzzy, and the RockDove Two-Tone are all heel-less slip-on models, and are definitely the easiest to get on and off. Close behind is the Sorel Falcon Ridge, which has a mid-height heel cup. You can readily slip it on and off, with only occasional quick readjustments to get your foot seated.
Next, in terms of easy on and off, is the slippers with more rigid heel cups. The Ugg Ascot and Isotoner Whipstitch and Amazon Essentials slippers all, if sized appropriately, have stiffened heel cups that stand up while you shove your foot in. Depending on your socks and such, you will often have to hold the heel back with a finger for entry.
The trickiest to get on and off are the soft-backed, full-heel slippers. This describes the HomeIdeas and ZigZagger options. The good news with these is that, for very short wear, you can simply step on the heel to fold it forward and largely out of the way. Your footing will be a tiny bit lumpy, but the result is slippers that mimic heel-less slip-ons.
Sedentary comfort in your slippers is a function of insulation and materials. Most want their slippers to provide at least a little bit of insulation. All do that, but some do it better. The all-fleece, heel-cupped, soft construction of the Acorn Moc and Zigzagger are the warmest. Next comes the real sheepskin of the Ugg Ascot. Sorel, befitting their winter boot pedigree, makes pretty warm slippers too. The rest, with either low heels and/or thinner construction, do not insulate as well as these.
Materials inform moisture management. Essentially, natural fibers manage sweat and clammy feet better than synthetics. In our test, only the top dollar Ugg Ascot features any natural sheepskin in its lining. It is definitely the most comfortable for extended, sock-free wear. Your feet don't sweat the same way in Uggs as they do in all the synthetic options.
Walking Security and Comfort
You don't choose slippers for extended walking applications. That being said, you want at least some security and dexterity. You can shuffle around the house in any of these, but there are some important differences. All three heel-less models are good for no more than short visits to the bathroom or something similar.
The mid-heel of the Sorel Falcon Ridge walks better than the slip-ons and better than even some of the full heel cup models. Among those with full heel cups, those with stiffer versions do best. The Isotoner Men's Whipstitch Gel Infused earns its award for walking support and comfort. The underfoot padding is the most robust in the test, and the upper stays with your foot through hundreds of yards of walking.
Laundry and Care
You will want to deodorize your slippers at some point. Those that scored highest in this category had laundering instructions from the manufacturer. The HomeIdeas, Zigzagger, RockDove, and Isotoner all come with instructions for machine washing. We like this. The remainder have no manufacturer washing instructions. We will point out that the Ugg's use of natural wool sheepskin will reduce foot odors relative to the synthetic options.
You want them to last. All fleece construction is the most flimsy, while real leather outers will last the longest. The Sorel and Ugg Ascot have real leather outers and are the most robust. They are also the most expensive. The Isotoner Whipstitch seems rugged at first, but we had a notable failure in some of the main stitching. The all-fleece options, like the Zigzagger and RockDove, will likely wear out faster than the rest. Thankfully slippers aren't often exposed to abrasion and extensive abuse.
We dive deep to get you the best information prior to your purchase, arming you with information about our top contenders. There are many excellent options here for your consideration. With slippers, we balance competing demands and acknowledge the importance of value.
— Jediah Porter