What Are Slippers?

Woman wearing comfortable, warm slippers

Though most folks have a rough idea of what slippers are, it can be hard to define them—especially when it comes to current transitional styles. So, what are slippers exactly, and what is their primary purpose?

Dating as far back as 4700 BC, humans have been designating soft, lightweight footwear for indoor use for millennia.¹ While the definition has evolved over the centuries, today’s slippers are still primarily worn in the home. And as more and more people pivot to working from home, the need for indoor footwear has never been more relevant.

Modern designs also often blend features of street shoes and sandals, which can create some confusion. Read on for a breakdown of slippers versus house shoes versus sandals, the importance of a good pair of home slippers, and the various styles for men’s slippers and women’s slippers.


Slippers vs. House Shoes

What are house shoes, and how are they different from slippers? Simply put, a house shoe is a shoe that’s meant to be worn indoors, typically at home. While the terms are often used interchangeably, some folks differentiate house shoes as a closed footwear style and slippers as a distinctly slip-on style—hence the name slip-ers.


Slippers vs. Sandals

A sandal is a type of footwear with open uppers, typically leaving the toes, heel, and forefoot at least partially exposed. This shoe style calls on one or multiple straps to secure the sole to the bottom of the foot.

Unlike slippers, sandals are generally meant to be worn outdoors. However, you’ll find some crossover designs with sandal-style uppers and soft, fuzzy linings. This includes toe-post sandals, slides, and shearling-lined sandals with hook-and-loop straps.

The Importance of a Good Pair of Slippers

Here at Vionic, we’re serious about foot health and believe supportive shoes should be worn most hours of the day—even when you don’t set foot outside. Whether you’re working from home full-time, winding down before bed, or cooking breakfast in the morning, the importance of comfortable slippers can’t be understated.

You want to be comfy, cozy, and warm while in your humble abode, but that’s not the only reason to keep house shoes in your arsenal. Walking around your home, standing, and even sitting at a desk without proper support can lead to foot discomfort, heel strain, or more concerning foot-related conditions like plantar fasciitis, overpronation, and alignment issues.

All-Day Arch Support

Vionic was founded by renowned podiatrist Phillip Vasyli, so you can bet our footwear has ample arch support. As an innovator in lower-limb biomechanics, Dr. Vasyli set out to create affordable, accessible orthotic footwear for every occasion.

When you rock slippers with arch support, you can have peace of mind knowing your body is aligned from the floor up.² The supportive design minimizes pressure on your joints and helps you avoid foot pain and stiffness through your knees, hips, and ankles. What’s more, wearing orthotic indoor footwear at home might make street shoes feel more comfortable when you venture out.

Types of Slippers

Just like street shoes, there are lots of types of slippers on the market. While the style you choose is ultimately a matter of preference, the best options offer a balance of comfort, practicality, and appearance.

With that said, some of the most popular house shoes include classic mules, open-toe slippers, moccasins, toe-post slippers, sandal-style slippers, clogs, and sporty slides. Find a detailed breakdown of each type below.

Gemma Black Slippers

Classic Mules

Mules are arguably the most common type of house slipper—and for good reason. The classic slip-on style is characterized by a closed toe, a relatively flat heel, and a soft sole. It’s casual, seasonless, and versatile, plus you can put it on without sitting down or even bending over. 

Vionic’s take on the backless slipper embraces the tried-and-true silhouette but with better support and a more comfortable feel. The uppers are made of high-quality materials like supple suede, fuzzy faux fur, curly chenille-style shearling, ultra-comfy terry cloth, and puffy nylon inspired by down jackets.

But that’s not all. Thanks to biomechanically engineered arches, deep heel cups, and durable rubber soles, our men’s slippers and women’s slippers provide substantial support, stability, and shock absorption.

Open-Toe Slippers

Open-toe slippers are the best slippers for sweaty feet and anyone who likes a little more airflow. Vionic’s slide-style house shoes for women have super-plush terry cloth uppers and linings treated with odor-resistant EcoFresh, plus velcro closure for a secure, adjustable fit.

Designed with our proprietary orthotic technology, these comfy slippers offer the ideal balance of arch support, stability, and aesthetics. What’s more, the open-toe house slippers from Vionic hold a Seal of Acceptance from the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association).


For those who prefer closed shoe styles, even at home, the moccasin slipper is an excellent choice. Modeled after the traditional footwear worn by Indigenous Americans, this practical house shoe offers the handsome appeal of a loafer and the comfort of a slipper.

Vionic carries moccasin slippers for men and women with velvety-soft suede uppers and faux shearling or authentic sheepskin linings. Our designs boast built-in arch support and sturdy rubber outsoles durable enough to wear outdoors.

Toe-Post Slippers

Toe-post slippers have the same thong-style uppers as flip-flop sandals but with wider straps and softer footbeds. Inspired by the cozy luxury of spa-wear, Vionic’s toe-post house shoes have immensely soft terry cloth uppers and footbeds.

A slightly elevated heel offers a sleek, feminine appeal, while a contoured sole provides crave-worthy arch support and heel stability. Not only that, but our built-in orthotics support proper alignment and encourage a natural stride.

Sandal-Style Slippers

If you prefer sportier footwear styles or want to prevent your feet from overheating, opt for sandal-style slippers. Vionic embraces this laid-back yet practical slipper style and makes it all the more comfortable with extra-cozy materials and built-in orthotics.

Our slipper sandals have adjustable straps around the ankles and over the forefoot. And thanks to the podiatrist-designed shearling footbeds, you can count on all-day arch support and an improved gait.

A pair of cozy slippers


Clogs are another closed slipper style with a close resemblance to regular street shoes. When you shop Vionic’s collection of house shoes for women, you’ll find clogs with quilted textile or insulating flannel uppers and toasty yet breathable terry cloth linings. Additionally, our clog-style slippers feature orthotic technology for ultimate arch support, stability, and comfort at home.

Sporty Slides

If you can’t decide whether you want sandals or slippers, consider getting a pair of sporty slides. With easy-to-clean materials and sturdy outsoles, this footwear style is the best of both worlds.

Vionic carries indoor/outdoor slipper slides for men and women, along with some unisex designs. Our styles have soft padded uppers, adjustable straps over the forefeet, firm yet flexible midsoles, and patterned tread for traction on all surfaces.

When Should You Wear Slippers?

Lots of people reach for orthotic footwear when exercising or on the job without considering the need for support during all other hours of the day. Like the shoes you wear when you’re out and about, your slippers should provide ample arch support, stability, and traction.

With this in mind, we recommend wearing orthotic house shoes during most hours you spend at home, save for sleeping. And trust us, with the right pair, you won’t want to take them off.

What to Wear with Slippers

What should you wear with slippers? Well, just about anything! Without pressure from the outside world to be fashionable, you can rock whatever makes you feel comfiest.

For many, this means sweats, stretchy pants, joggers, tracksuits, athleisure wear, jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, soft pajamas, slipper socks, and maybe a fluffy robe. And if you have to throw on a pressed shirt for a Zoom meeting, no one will see what’s on your feet.

Order a pair of orthotic home slippers from Vionic today! Have a question like “can you put slippers in the washing machine?” Our experts at Vionic have you covered! Visit today. 


External sources:

  1. “The history of the slipper”. Ernest. Aug 14, 2017, https://www.ernestjournal.co.uk/blog/2017/8/14/the-history-of-the-slipper
  2. Tehrene Firman. “Slippers Are Terrible for Your Feet—These Are the *Only* Kind That Are Podiatrist-Approved”. Well and good. Updated September 28, 2021, https://www.wellandgood.com/slippers-for-arch-support/
  3. Eva Thomas. “These Podiatrist-Recommended Slippers Are Like a Hug for Your Feet”. People. April 10, 2020, https://people.com/style/comfortable-podiatrist-recommended-slippers/

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