Just like with boots, the category we call "slip-on shoes" boasts incredible variety. There are loafers and espadrilles, mules and moccasins, sneakers and slippers and so on and so forth. The only real prerequisite is that the footwear slips on without laces or velcro or any other kind of lacing mechanism — hence why this guide includes several different styles. You should be able to step into them and go.
As such, they're pretty practical — and for different reasons to different people. If you travel with any sort of regularity, running through TSA in tall, laced-up Chuck Taylors will surely increase the chances you miss your flight. If you're headed to the beach, a pair of slip-on shoes are easier to clean the sand out of. If you work from home, but desire some structure, slip-on shoes are perfect for those few trips to and from the front porch.
When to Wear Slip-On Shoes
On business trips, casual getaways or relaxed days at home, an unlikely hero can save you time: the slip-on. From low-top sneakers to loafers and driving shoes, the footwear market has a wide range of easy-on, easy-off options for every style. So take it easy, and don’t get caught wasting your precious time with — gasp — laces.
The Best Slip-On Shoes for Easy, Everyday Wear
Although Everlane's simple slip-on references Vans' iconic design, the differences lie in material. Everlane opts for organic cotton and natural rubber, which makes the sneaker recyclable.
When you think of penny loafers, it’s probably a pair of Weejuns that comes to mind. From the brand that introduced the style to the States, the Weejun is handsome as ever and sits at a great price point. For $135, you get a genuine leather loafer hand-sewn in El Salvador using classic moc-toe style stitching.
Fear of God's California Loafers are, dare I say, sexy... Crocs? They aren't as plasticky, but they do have synthetic uppers, a rubber sole and a flexible feel to them.
Made in Turkey, these slip-ons are based on traditional styles from the country. Available in a range of leathers, the style features a rubber sole, leather lining and sewn construction.
North Face's Nuptse Mule was one of the most fashionable (and popular) footwear designs of 2021. They were everywhere — on campsites and city streets and even at home. They're a practical, comfortable slip-on with a flexible heel you can step on without ruining.
The classic Vans Slip-On comes with a durable canvas upper. The style features an EVA insert for comfort, a gum rubber outsole and an added collar.
Although these are technically house shoes, no one will stop you from wearing them outside. And it's likely few will notice they were meant for the comfort of your own home. They have a sole that stands up to some sneakers, a soft corduroy upper and a cushioned insole.
Like The North Face's Nupste Mule, UGG's new Tasman LTA comes with a quilted upper meant to keep the feet both warm and dry. But they are totally different otherwise. UGG's new silhouette feels more substantial and easier to wear with a wider assortment of pants.
Think of the Pepper Loafer as the Nuptse or Tasman LTA on steroids. It comes with a chunky Vibram sole, a suede-trimmed toebox and a tough quilted upper. These slip-ons are the epitome of comfort plus practicality.
Castaner's classic espadrilles come in a wide range of colors and materials, but this classic suede-trimmed cotton canvas pair is probably my favorite. It could pass for formal; it works in casual settings; and it's, above all else, super comfortable.
Knickerbocker trusted a family-run factory in Mexico's Michoacán, where Huaraches have been made for half a century, for its in-house line of sensible summer footwear. These slip on, breathe super well (obviously) and hold up to consistent wear.
If you've spent a considerable amount of time wearing traditional loafers, you'll know that once the sole wears through, you can really feel the ground you're walking on. That's not the case with Blackstock & Weber's loafers, though — and I've spent a year in mine. The outsole is thick and hefty, the uppers are appropriately stiff and the liner doesn't squeak or scrape, even when you're wearing them without socks.