Did you know that your favorite pair of flip flops stem from a millennia-old fashion trend? The oldest shoes ever discovered were a pair of sandals found in Oregon’s Fort Rock Cave.1
Archeologists date them back to 7,600 BC. These sandals were made of shredded sagebrush bark—not the most stylish material in the world, but they sparked a footwear fad that has persisted through the ages.
Sandals were the only footwear option back then. Nowadays, the choices are endless. You can find a shoe for every occasion, whether you’re attending a black-tie event, hiking Mount Everest, or simply lounging at home.
Slippers vs Sandals: What’s the Difference?
If you’re looking for a pair of shoes that’s easy to slip on, both slippers and sandals may come to mind. However, these two forms of footwear differ in many notable ways.
To clarify their differences, let’s review each of them in detail.
What Are Slippers?
Slippers first came into vogue during the 12th century.2 Royal families wore them to protect their palaces’ expensive flooring. To this day, slippers offer a sense of luxury and comfort that both royals and regular consumers alike can appreciate.
By definition, slippers are soft shoes that are meant to be worn in the home. They are usually made of cozy, plush materials, such as suede, terry cloth, or faux-fur. They can keep your feet warm and toasty, even on the coldest winter mornings.
Some slippers have soft soles, whereas others have hard, rubber ones. The latter can be worn outside for short excursions, such as taking the dog out, grabbing the morning paper, or checking the mail.
Types of Slippers
Everyone deserves a comfy pair of slippers to slip on at the end of a long day. If you’re interested in treating yourself to indoor footwear, you have several styles to choose from:
- Mule slippers – Mule slippers have an open back and a rounded top that covers the toes. As a result, they’re super easy to slip into. You can leave them by your bed, so they’re ready to go as soon as you wake up. Thanks to their covered front and soft inner lining, they’ll keep your toes nice and warm.
At Vionic, we carry several variations of this type of slipper, ranging in style from simple and streamlined to girly and glamorous. For example, our cozy Gemma Mule Slipper is a best seller, due to its adjustable hook-and-loop closure and soft terry cloth lining. Our Nessa Slipper is another chic option.
It’s adorned with a beautiful silk bow and features faux sheer lining. With its stylish design, you’ll feel elegant as you shuffle about your home.
- Sandal slipper – Depending on the climate you live in, you may want a pair of slippers that offers a little more breathability. That’s where sandal-style slippers come in handy.
There are two types you can choose from:
- Flip flop slippers – Flip flop slippers feature a y shaped strap connecting between your big toe and your second toe. So, what is the difference between flip flop and slippers? Unlike regular flip flops, they’re made of fluffy material, giving your feet that luxurious house slipper experience. Despite their coziness, they won’t overheat your feet since they keep your toes exposed.
At Vionic, our Gracie Toe Post slipper can provide the cozy support of a slipper with the breezy airflow of a traditional rubber flip flop that’s worn indoors. It’s made of plush terry cloth and comes with a slightly elevated heel to prevent heel or foot pain. When you slip these on at home, you’ll feel cute, comfortable, and totally supported.
- Slide slippers – If you prefer slides over flip flops, there’s a slipper out there for you too. Slide slippers have an open toe and an open back, but their strap goes straight across your instep, instead of in between your toes.
As with flip flop slippers, slide slippers offer amazing airflow, along with the coziness of their soft footwear materials.
Our Relax Slipper is the ideal slide-style slipper. You’ll love wrapping your feet in its cozy terry cloth. It comes in a variety of fun colors and prints, so choose a pair that expresses your inner fashionista.
- Closed-back slippers – Finally, some slippers have a closed toe and a closed back, giving your feet full coverage for those especially frigid mornings. Closed-back slippers often resemble a loafer or a moccasin.
They’re just made with softer materials. Due to their structured design, some of these slippers look so sophisticated that you could get away with wearing them out and about. If you’re interested in donning this style of slipper, our Lynez Slipper has a stylish silhouette that will elevate your look, whether you’re heading out to run errands or relaxing at home.
What Are Sandals?
Sandals are shoes that have an open upper section, leaving the top of your feet partially exposed. They use one or more sandals straps to secure the footwear to your feet. Flip flops, hiking sandals, espadrilles, platform sandal, stilettos, and slides all fall into this category.
Unlike slippers, sandals are meant to be worn outside.
Sandal soles can be made from many types of materials, including leather, wood, cork, rubber, or rope. Their heels can also range in height—some sandals have a totally flat sole, whereas others feature a platform or a high heel. Due to the wide variety of house shoe variations, you can find a pair for every occasion, whether you want to chill by the beach or attend an elegant gala.
Typically, sandals are worn in warm weather, since they don’t offer much protection from the rain or snow. In the heat, they bestow your feet with some much-needed breathability. When your feet are cool and dry, it’s easier to regulate your body temperature and mitigate your chances of developing an athlete’s foot.
Types of Sandals
Here are some of the most popular comfortable sandals styles:
- Flip flops – Flip flops get their name from the slapping sound that occurs when you flex your foot and slap them down as you take a step. These shoes are on the casual end of the sandal spectrum, making them the ideal choice for a relaxing day spent at the beach or pool. Contrary to popular belief, flip flops can be supportive for your feet. Finding the best flip flops with arch support is a great place to start.
You can also find plenty of flip flops with cute adornments and glamorous details. You can get away with wearing these fancier flip flops on dressier occasions.
For example, our Bella Toe Post Sandal is embellished with a dainty bow, giving this flip flop a feminine touch. We also carry an ultra-glam, rhinestone-encrusted flip flop, known as the Lucia Toe Post Sandal.
- Slides – Slides are characterized by their open back, open front, and single strap that goes across the instep. In the past, these shoes were commonly worn by athletes as they came to and from the gym. In recent years, women’s slide sandals have come out in increasingly chic, stylish, and ornate variations. Any type of womens and mens sandals can get a little dirty if you’re wearing them frequently so it’s best to learn how to prevent smelly sandals.
At Vionic, our Demi Slide Sandal comes in several sleek prints, including an embossed snake pattern and a crackled leather print. These classy slides are the perfect complement to a casual pair of capris or a summer dress.
- Heeled sandals – Sandals can also give you some height with the help of a platform or a heel. These types of sandals are often suited for dressier occasions, like a night out with the girls, a work meeting, or an upscale event.Many of them also have ankle sandal straps to give your feet some extra ankle support.
Heeled sandals come in several iterations, including:
- Block heel sandals
Whether you prefer a strappy espadrille or an edgy platform, there’s a heeled sandal that’s right for you. All you need is a fresh pedicure, an elegant ensemble, and you’re ready to go!
Slipper and Sandal Similarities: The Need for Support
Now that you know the differences between these two styles of shoes, you may be wondering what similarities they share.
Aside from being easy to slip into, they both often lack adequate arch support.
Some people mistakenly assume that supportive footwear can’t be stylish. At Vionic, we aim to shatter that misconception. We also believe that your feet deserve exceptional support, no matter what style of shoe you’re wearing.
That’s why all of our slippers and sandals use our podiatrist-designed technology. They feature built-in arch support, shock-absorbing cushioning, deep heel cups, and perfectly contoured footbeds. Peer-reviewed studies show that they’re just as effective in mitigating foot pain and other foot problems as orthotic insoles.
Vionic: A Difference You Can Feel
Whether you’re in the market for a new pair of cozy slippers or a stylish pair of walking sandals, Vionic has supportive options. Thanks to our shoes’ unparalleled support, they’ll keep your feet feeling supported and fresh throughout the day.
As a testament to their quality, our shoes carry an American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Acceptance. Our customers with plantar fasciitis also consistently rave about our footwear.
So what are you waiting for? Snag a pair of our stylish, supportive slippers or sandals today.
- Thomas J. Connolly. “Fort Rock Sandals”. Oregon Encyclopedia. https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/fort_rock_sandals/
- “History of the Slipper”. Betsy Blue. Sept 10 2013, https://betsyblue.co.uk/blogs/news/9037635-history-of-the-slipper