There’s something so cathartic about kicking off your shoes once you get home after a long day at work. But without a supportive pair of house shoes to don, puttering around on bare floors can take a toll on your feet. Keep reading to learn why house shoes are vital for your podiatric health, and how you can help your feet feel at home indoors as much as you do.
Why House Shoes?
House shoes strike many people as unnecessary; if you keep a clean house, what’s the risk in going barefoot? But shoes do so much more than protect your feet from germs and sharp objects. Shoes help replicate the soft “give” of outdoor surfaces such as sand or packed dirt that naturally absorb the shock of each footfall. So unless you live in a teepee, the floors in your home likely aren’t so forgiving.
Hardwood flooring, tile, and even thin carpeting offer scant cushioning for your heels and no support for your arches. Going barefoot on these hard surfaces can irritate your heels, causing inflammation and a nagging case of plantar fasciitis. And if you already have plantar fasciitis, the worsened heel pain you’d get from walking around barefoot will probably outweigh any nice feelings of footloose freedom.
Besides heel pain, other conditions such as diabetes and neuropathy can benefit from the structure of a comfortable house shoe. And an anti-slick sole helps prevent injuries from house falls, particularly among people with impaired balance.
You wouldn’t think twice about buying supportive shoes for work or the gym. Don’t overlook the importance of wearing sturdy shoes at home!
How to Find the Best House Shoes
Generally speaking, any old pair of sneakers is better than nothing. But to really give your feet the spa treatment, look for house shoes that are:
- Supportive: House shoes with good arch support aren’t easily bent in half, and they certainly won’t leave you feeling flat-footed on a hard floor.
- Made to last: A good house shoe will keep its structure and stand up to daily wear and tear.
- Fit well: If your house shoes fit properly, your toes won’t need to “grip” the insoles to keep them on.
- Easy to slip on and off: Forget the laces, buckles, or ties. A good house shoe is easy to don and doff, so even at your laziest you’ll be likely to wear them.
What to look for in the best house shoes
So you know you want house shoes that are supportive, comfortable, durable, and built to last. But how do you know you found the right pair?
First, toss aside any shoe with a flimsy (or nonexistent!) insole. For optimal support, look for an orthotic insole with ample arches and a deep heel cup. Better yet, find one with a removable insole that you can replace with high-quality inserts.
Next, check the shoe’s structure. Does it have a stable outsole that will keep its tread on a slick bathroom floor? Take note also of how the shoe is worn. Will your foot be secure in this shoe or will it slip out easily, as it would in a flip-flop or slide?
The last item to check is the material. Warm, toasty slippers are nice in the winter, but you’ll need breathable fabric no matter the season. Hot and sweaty feet are not much better than sore feet and could foster the formation of nail fungus. If you choose wool-like lining to keep your feet warm against cold tile, make sure the shoes have mesh uppers for good airflow, or washable inserts at the very least.
To keep it simple for you, below are my top picks in men’s and women’s house shoes, at three different price points.
Men’s House Shoes
Hanes ComfortSoft Memory Foam House Slippers
Available in sizes Small–3XL and 6 colors.
As the cheapest pair on the list, the Hanes ComfortSoft Memory Foam slipper manages to tick all the boxes without tacking on a high price. This wrap-around loafer features a plush memory foam insole and sturdy outsole for supportive comfort inside and out. The fabric is made with Hanes’s odor-reducing Fresh IQ technology, but when that’s not enough to guard against stinky feet, you can throw the entire shoe in the wash.
Best of all, you can find this slipper in its 6 color varieties for under 30 bucks at most retailers. Get it on Amazon.
Reef Cushion Coast House Shoes
Available in sizes 8–14 and 5 colors.
For a step up in quality, check out the Reef Cushion Coast House Shoe. Its lightweight, EVA outsole makes it feel like a sandal, while the breathable mesh and namesake cushion qualify it as a slipper. Your feet will be comfortable, your loungewear complete, and your laziness pampered by the easy-slip-on stretch laces.
You’ll pay twice as much for this shoe, which retails at $60. Get it on Amazon.
Olukai Moloa Slipper
Available in sizes 7–16 and 4 colors.
The top tier in footwear comes from Hawaiian brand Olukai. Their name for the Moloa slipper translates to “lazy,” but this model works two functions as both a shoe and a slide. Besides the PU gel insert and washable footbed, the nubuck leather exterior and shearling lining bring premium quality to something you’ll want to wear all the time.
This luxurious slipper retails at $100, but most reviewers would say it’s undervalued. Get it on Amazon.
Women’s House Shoes
UltraIdeas Wool House Shoes
Size 5–12, 7 colors.
Back at the lower end of the spending spectrum, the budget-friendly UltraIdeas Wool House Shoes have all the support and comfort a woman needs to feel at home. Featuring high-density memory foam, synthetic wool lining, and a plush fleece collar, these house shoes are as cozy as they look.
Despite achieving over 40k 5-star reviews, this set of slippers cost less than $30. Get it on Amazon.
Vionic Sadie Mule Slipper
Available in sizes 5–11 and 10 colors
When researching the best house shoes, it’s hard to skip past Vionic, an APMA-accepted brand that designs their shoes with both health and comfort in mind. Their podiatrist-designed footbed features three zones of support, a deep heel cup, and a plush terry cloth covering. But besides the function, you’ll love the range of styles this shoe can match, from subdued earth tones to statement-making animal prints.
You’ll find the Sadie Mule slipper for under $60 from most retailers. Get it on Amazon.
Olukai Nohea Slipper
Available in sizes 5–11 and 6 colors.
If you’re willing to shell out a little more to shod your feet in luxury, check out Olukai’s Nohea slipper. Featuring classy leather uppers and a washable wool insert, these loafers have the same high-quality materials and functional design as the men’s Moloa shoe. But the name Nohea means “pretty” in Hawaiian—an apt description for the 6 unique colors these shoes come in.
A premium in quality as well as cost, the Nohea slipper retails at $120. Get it on Amazon.
Best House Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Any of the above shoes will help prevent or mitigate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis, but you can go further to reduce your heel pain. If you aren’t already sporting supportive footwear outside the house, check out these walking shoes and work boots, physical therapist-approved for patients with plantar fasciitis.
Upgrading your footwear is the first step to treating your heel pain, but you’ll get better, longer-lasting results with a holistic approach. This article will guide you through ways to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your calves and feet that are partially responsible for your sore feet. And when all else fails, check in with your PT for a personalized treatment plan you can follow at home.