Buying Guide – How to Shop for Slippers
The right variety of slippers for you depends on your needs, lifestyle, and personal preferences. We’ll go into more detail and explore special considerations for buying slippers below.
Why Purchase Slippers?
Research has found that warming feet with a pair of socks or slippers as part of your bedtime routine can encourage the onset of sleep by helping to regulate the body’s internal temperature. Warming up the feet and hands causes vasodilation, or the dilation of blood vessels.
As blood vessels open in the feet and hands, heat is released through the skin and the body temperature starts to drop. Melatonin, a sleep hormone, plays a key role in the release of heat through the skin, which in turn is associated with increased sleepiness and sleep induction. By helping the body’s core temperature drop faster than going to sleep with cold feet, wearing slippers may help you fall asleep faster.
Beyond sleep, there are many other benefits associated with wearing slippers in the home. By wearing slippers indoors, you avoid tracking the dirt and bacteria carried on your shoes from the outside world on your floors.
In addition, quality slippers with a slip-resistant sole can prevent trip and fall accidents on slippery wood, tile, and linoleum surfaces. Slippers also protect your feet’s natural moisture, staving off cracking and dryness during the cold winter months.
Important Buying Considerations for Slippers
When shopping for a pair of quality slippers that fit your needs, here are the most critical factors to consider:
A slipper’s material — including the outer material or “uppers”, inner lining or “inners”, insoles, and outsoles — will affect its comfort, warmth, durability, and functionality. We’ve explained the potential benefits and drawbacks of the most common slipper uppers, inners, and sole materials below.
- Wool: A natural, sustainable fabric, wool is both warm, breathable, and moisture wicking. Wool slippers help keep toes toasty in the winter and cool in the summer, in addition to being durable and hypoallergenic.
- Cotton: Like wool, cotton is a breathable, natural fiber. However, while wool wicks away moisture and sweat, cotton tends to absorb it. That means that if cotton slippers become wet or saturated with sweat, they may take longer to dry.
- Fleece: A synthetic fabric typically crafted from polyester, fleece is warm, breathable, and fuzzy to the touch. Fleece tends to be softer and lighter than wool, but does not offer insulation when wet. Compared to cotton, fleece is quicker to dry but may be less breathable.
- Suede and faux suede: Made from the hide of animals — often sheep — suede tends to be effective at keeping out the cold, but absorbs water easily and can be difficult to clean. Faux suede or suedette is an animal-friendly, cost-effective, water-resistant alternative to suede that may be easier to clean.
- Leather: Created from tanning animal rawhides and skins, leather is a breathable, water-resistant material that develops a softness and character over time.
- Memory foam: In addition to being used in mattresses and pillows, memory foam can be found in the insoles of slippers and other footwear. The unique material conforms to the shape of the foot, providing support and comfort. Memory foam tends to retain heat, though some memory foam soles are infused with gel to help regulate temperature.
- Rubber: Whether natural or synthetic, rubber is typically used in the outsoles of slippers due to its flexibility, strength, and durability. Compared to leather soles, rubber soles offer better traction and tend to be lower cost.
Comfort & Durability
Comfort and durability are both important factors to take into account when weighing different slipper options. To assess a slipper’s comfort and durability, here are some basics to consider:
- Warmth: Particularly if you are purchasing slippers to help you warm your feet and promote better sleep, it’s critical to choose a pair designed to keep your toes toasty. Materials like wool, sheepskin suede, and fleece are ideal for protecting feet from the cold and damp.
- Water resistance: Note whether your slippers are waterproof or water resistant, particularly if you plan on wearing your slippers for tasks like running outside to grab the mail. Look for slippers made from waterproof materials like rubber or water-resistant materials like wool and leather.
- Versatility: Again, consider whether you’d like your slippers to be versatile enough to be used outdoors, while driving, etc., or if you plan on using them only indoors before and after sleeping or showering. Durable materials like wool and rubber may be appropriate for a greater variety of environments, while more delicate fabrics like cotton may only be suitable for indoor use.
- Support: Do you plan to use your slippers briefly or for multiple hours a day? If you will be wearing your slippers for long periods of time, it’s important that they offer adequate arch support. Consider slippers with memory foam insoles, which contour to the shape of your feet for superior support.
Ease of wash is particularly important if you plan on using your slippers throughout your entire house and outdoors on occasion, but even slippers that are worn only in your bedroom can get dirty over time.
When purchasing slippers, review cleaning instructions to determine how easy or difficult they will be to wash. Note whether slippers may be thrown in a conventional washer or whether they require spot or dry cleaning. Similarly, determine whether they can be tossed in a dryer or if they should be air-dried.
Slippers come in a huge variety of colors and designs, from classic and understated to fluffy and playful. If you are interested in keeping your slippers for a long time, we recommend choosing a neutral, basic style that you are less likely to outgrow as your personal style and tastes change.
Other Important Considerations
Shipping and delivery: Before making a final purchasing decision, check to make sure the company offers shipping to your location. Some companies may offer free shipping within the contiguous U.S. but charge an extra fee for delivery to destinations in Alaska or Hawaii. If you are purchasing your slippers via Amazon, look to see if the order is eligible for free, two-day shipping with an Amazon Prime membership.
Warranty and returns: It’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the return policy and warranty before making any kind of purchase, but especially when shopping online. When it comes to returns, trial periods, and warranties, different companies may have different policies.
Before making a slipper purchase, review the return policy to find out what the procedure is for exchanging for a different size. Check to see if you can get a full refund if you decide you don’t like your slippers, and to determine for how long after purchase returns are accepted. It’s also worth noting whether the company offers free returns or if you will have to pay for return shipping costs.
Similarly, look over the warranty to find out if the slippers are protected against manufacturing defects. Will you be covered if a defect appears, and for how long?