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Woman wearing Foamtreads slippers

Slippers vs. House Shoes: Which is Right for You?

If you’re tired of going barefoot around the house but hate tracking around the dust & dirt from your street shoes, you’ve probably debated investing in slippers or house shoes. Your choices may seem endless and complicated, but it’s simpler than it looks. Whether you’re sick of tying shoelaces, fed up with cold floors, or need some foot relief, the ultimate indoor footwear decision comes down to two options: slippers vs. house shoes. With our dedication to creating comfortable, quality slippers, we at Foamtreads have our obvious bias, but we’ve created this guide to help you break down the differences between the two types of footwear, from materials and seasonal suitability to orthopedic benefits. Keep reading to discover the best match for your lifestyle & foot health. 

Slippers vs House Shoes: What’s the Difference?

Slippers 101

It might come as no surprise that the word “slipper” originates from the Old English word “slypescoh,” a term we started using in the Middle Ages to mean “slip-shoe.” Fast forward hundreds of years, and our definition hasn’t changed much: slippers are soft, comfortable shoes we wear primarily around the house because they’re easy to slip on & off. 

With a variety of styles and designs for both men & women, slippers have become our go-to for lightweight indoor footwear. They can be open or closed-toe, backless or closed-back, and may include adjustable straps, plush lining, or insoles for a custom fit that hugs your feet. While some slippers feature decorative laces, their slip-on design eliminates the need for buckles or constantly bending over to tie them. 

You can find slippers in many different colors & materials, like leather, wool, or velvet, and some even have non-marking rubber soles to prevent slipping or skids on the floor. 

side by side comfortable house slippers

House Shoes 101

House shoes are a bit trickier to define since there are so many variations to the theme, and we often use the term interchangeably with slippers. But put simply, house shoes are convenient indoor footwear made from rubber and other soft materials to provide comfort & protection around the house. 

Like slippers, house shoes are easy to slide into and lack fastenings like laces or buckles. Their outer soles are gentler and quieter than street shoes, reducing wear & tear on your hardwood floors or carpets and ensuring extra stealth when sneaking into the kitchen late at night. 

While slippers have more relaxed & casual designs, focusing on comfort, warmth, and ease of use, house shoes are typically more rigid and structured, featuring exclusively closed footwear styles. You can think of house shoes as traditional shoes with indoor-friendly aspects. 

Material Differences: Slippers vs. House Shoes

When it comes to materials, the very design of a slipper emphasizes warmth & coziness. Typical outer linings include neutral tones of fleece, corduroy, and knit fabrics that are soft to the touch and pleasing to the eye. On the inside, slippers use textiles like boa or terry linings and faux furs to retain heat but maintain breathability. At Foamtreads, our slippers even have memory foam insoles that meld to your natural footprint and secure a more comfortable stride.

As we’ve mentioned, house shoes often incorporate rubber but can also utilize other durable materials like leather, suede, and canvas. While their sturdiness and structure sound more dependable and long-lasting, keep in mind it’ll take longer to break into their firmness and may provoke initial discomfort.

On the other hand, a slipper’s softer make stretches and accommodates your feet, allowing for immediate comfort from their first use. It’s easy to assume these plush elements are less durable, but the key is finding quality slippers that integrate reliable & resilient materials. 

Comfort and Fit: A Comparison

Both slippers and house shoes aim to provide effortless on & off use, but which one is more comfortable? Slippers really excel in the comfort department, offering a more flexible and looser fit. Greater pliability means they’re not only excellent for lounging around, but they’ll continue to give the same snugness when you get up to move from room to room or stand for extended periods washing the dishes or finishing other chores. 

In addition, if you suffer from any foot condition or simply have wide feet, a slipper’s plush materials won’t squeeze or be too tight, helping you avoid ingrown toenails and blisters. 

In contrast, house shoes sacrifice some softness for more structured support, less concerned with wiggle room and instead focusing on durability & retaining shape. Because of their stiffer approach, you may prefer to take them off when relaxing, but you’ll consequently risk getting cold feet in chilly climates or weather. 

Orthopedic Benefits

We often spend more time indoors than out, especially in the winter, so the shoes you wear around the house play a significant role in your foot health and overall well-being. If you opt for slippers, it’s important to invest in a pair that provides your feet with the support they need. 

So, how can you tell the difference between slippers that reap orthopedic benefits and those that will just hurt your feet? Beneficial slippers should feel like they curve with and support your arches, reducing residual aches & pains and alleviating strain on your joints. Models with orthotic features will implement proper cushioning and sturdy soles, taking the stress off the parts of your feet that absorb more impact, improving your posture, and making your day a little more pleasant.

Because house shoes are a simple alternative to street shoes, their construction typically doesn’t consider any specialized features. They often have thin soles without arch support that can aggravate foot & joint pain. 

Safety Features

Bouncing off of health benefits, a good pair of slippers should also include non-slip soles that give you enhanced grip & stability on slick kitchen floors or wet bathroom tiles. Proper adherence makes for a safer living environment and is a blessing for older adults, the elderly, or anyone prone to an accidental slip that could lead to injuries. 

Sturdy soles also mean you can rely on your slippers when you make the quick trip downstairs to open the door for takeout, enjoy some sun on your porch, or head down the driveway to pick up the mail. Although house shoes have enough grip for some indoor surfaces, many models lack the safety features you need for outdoor use or total security. 


Because most slippers use wintry materials like fleece, wool, and knit fabrics for their lining, they equip you with the warmth & comfort necessary for colder weather. We lose a lot of heat through our extremities, but a snug pair of slippers helps your feet retain their warmth and helps your body better balance its thermal regulation, especially models with a closed back. 

However, if you’re looking for more breathability, a pair of canvas, mesh, or thin leather house shoes might do the trick in hotter climates. You’ll want to avoid materials that encase your feet and trap the sweat and heat, like rubber or plastics. Knit fabric slippers with an open-toe or backless design also allow for more ventilation and are a convenient option for warmer seasons.

Our Top Picks: Orthotic, Non-Slip Slippers

Like we’ve said before, not all slippers are created equal, so to really get the best balance of comfort, protection, and orthopedic benefits out of your footwear, find a quality pair with dependable materials. At Foamtreads, not only is our process ethical & eco-friendly, but all our slippers consider your orthotic needs, ensuring that your feet are comfortable all day long. 

Our line-up is extensive & diverse, catering to you whether you’ve got wide feet, live in a colder climate, or suffer from foot health concerns. Check out some of our top-rated slipper models here:

  • Conrad Black Slipper — These stylish yet simple men’s slippers give your feet the royal treatment with a flexible tumbled leather exterior and French cord binding insole. They’ll stretch but stay snug around your feet, perfect for moving around the house or just watching TV. 
  • Jewel 2 Black Slipper — We love these classic women’s slippers with their soft velour upper and adjustable strap for maximum comfort. They’re lightweight and feature a small heel for better arch support. 
  • Kendal L2 Grey Felt Slipper — Part of our specialty line, these soft medical slippers have a hook & loop strap for a tailored fit and an upper opening that provides ventilation for feet that tend to get hot. Their orthotic support promotes blood flow and prevents your feet from wearing out or swelling. 

In addition, unlike typical house shoes, all of our slippers have removable memory foam insoles for cozy & customized movement, along with non-slip soles that won’t mark up your floors and can save you from an accidental slip. 

Ultimately, in the world of indoor footwear, you need to consider your lifestyle, climate, and foot health when deciding between slippers and house shoes. Remember that both purpose & material matter and can help you carve out your needs & preferences. While house shoes combine indoor-friendly features and a sturdy structure, quality slippers balance flexibility & warmth with orthopedic superiority. Make the best personal choice for a more comfortable & confident stride—your feet will thank you.