We all know Koreans don’t wear shoes in our homes. This is in part because Koreans traditionally slept and sat on the floor and thus wanted the floors to be as clean as possible. Instead, Koreans often opt for house slippers. I haven’t been able to find a clear answer as to why wearing house slippers is the norm in Korea, so I tried this practice out for myself.
A month in, I’ve concluded there are two main benefits – slippers reduce slipping on non-carpeted floors (most Korean homes are not carpeted) and give bare feet added cushioning and support. These benefits were enough to convince me to have a few on hand for myself and guests (especially older Korean relatives who always ask for slippers), so I tested various slippers.
There were too many to choose from so I limited my sample set to easy slip-on, affordable summer slippers that go from indoor to outdoors, available on Amazon. I selected the top two best-selling slippers on Amazon that met these criteria as well as some of the most popular brand slides – Nike, Adidas and Crocs, all of which come in a wide selection of colors and/or prints.
Here’s what I found (Hint: My favorites were the first and last):
1. FunkyMonkey Slippers, $14
I selected these because they were listed as the second best-selling slippers on Amazon that met my testing criteria. These are tied with the Nikes as the lightest slippers of the bunch (3.05oz). The upper feels foam-like and is loose and light on my foot, yet somehow still keeps my foot nicely in place.
The footbed, which feels like the same material as the upper, is slightly contoured only on the sides, which makes these probably the least supportive. However, this isn’t an issue for me because I’m not on my feet much at home so I don’t need much support. I find these slippers to be the most comfortable because they’re the least noticeable on my feet but still provide the right amount of cushioning and slip resistance, which are my higher priority lounging-at-home slipper features.
Finally, these slippers’ subtle and generic footbed contouring and overall shape allows for a universal fit, making it a good one-size-fits-most option for guests. These slippers are my clear favorite, without even accounting for the fact they’re the most affordable of the bunch! I purchased a size 7 because they run true to size.
2. Adidas Originals Adilette Lite Slide, $29
These slippers are relatively light (3.6oz) and the uppers come in different materials. The ones I got had an upper made of a material that feels somewhat fabric-like and rests comfortably on my foot. They consist of a very contoured foam-like footbed that provides slight cushioning and great support, assuming the contouring fits your foot shape. It didn’t fit mine unfortunately. I wore it for several days hoping the footbed would adjust to my foot, but no luck. The upper is comfortable but on the wide side.
These slides are light and feel durable so they would be a good option for someone with wider feet looking for lots of support. I’m a true size 7 but had to size down to 6 as these run large.
3. Nike Kawa Slide, $38
These are comfortably light (3.05oz) and they stayed snug on my feet, unlike the Adidas which are quite loose because of the wide upper. They also have a contoured foam-like footbed. The contouring is subtle which allows for a more universal fit and they fit my feet nicely. They have the softest and most flexible upper of the bunch, which sits comfortably on my foot, and also feel quite durable.
The footbed is grooved, which some people might like for acupressure but I found it a bit painful against the bottom of my sensitive soles. But for those with tougher soles, they are a good option. I purchased a kids size 5 because it is cheaper than the identical adult version and it fit me well.
4. Crocs Classic Slide Sandal, $25
At 3.8oz, these slippers are relatively light, but heavy enough that the weight is definitely noticeable on the feet. These have a moderately contoured footbed that has a rubber-like feel (the Nikes and Adidas feel more foam-like) that would probably hold up well if they get wet and over time. The footbed is moderately contoured, mostly on the arch of the foot. Like the Adidas though, the contouring didn’t fit my foot, which affected my comfort.
The upper feels like the same rubber-like material as the footbed. Unlike the Nikes and Adidas, this upper feels a bit stiff and thick with no give. It’s not uncomfortable, but I prefer the softer, more flexible feel of the Nike and Adidas uppers. These may be great for those that need support for high arches. I bought a kids size 5 because it’s cheaper than the identical adult version and it fit me well.
5. Equick Slippers, $26
While rooming with a friend in Maui a few months ago, I briefly came upon her slippers, which she called “Pillow Slides”. All over Instagram, they’re also known as cloud slides, pool slides and the new ugly IT sandal, and have been routinely spotted on celebrities. Her slippers were surprisingly flexible, squishy and cushiony, so I decided to try my own pair.
I purchased these slippers because they look nearly identical to my friend’s and Amazon had them listed as its top selling slipper overall. Unfortunately, these are a fail. They are almost completely devoid of the squishy and cushiony appeal of my friend’s slippers. The slightly contoured footbed is too hard to even remotely evoke a “pillow” or “cloud” type feel and the upper is stiff and long and uncomfortable against my foot. The thick soles contribute to the heavy weight (6.05oz) and general discomfort of the slipper.
The only bright side is that for those looking for height, the thick soles provide over an inch of boost. I purchased size 7.5-8 which were the right fit. Because I purchased another pair of well rated slippers on Amazon also advertised as pillow slides that turned out to be even worse than these, next I’ll be trying the actual Pillow Slides brand slipper my friend purchased. Update to follow!
BONUS! A Late Winner Emerges: APL Big Logo TechLoom, $120
While on the topic of slippers, Oprah recently released Oprah’s Favorite Things and Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) Lusso slides made her list. I love APL athletic shoes (fun fact, they are banned by the NBA because they give players too much of a vertical leap advantage) so I had to give their slides a try.
The leather Lusso slides are a pricey $175 so I purchased APL’s Big Logo TechLoom slides for $120 instead. They’re identical to the Lussos, except they’re a fabric-type material instead of quilted leather and lighter at just 3.35oz. Unlike the Lussos, these have an antimicrobial mesh over the footbed that helps reduce odor, and are also machine washable.
The slightly contoured footbed gives moderate, but not too much support, and feels like I’m walking on a firm, comfy foam and the upper is a stretchy and flexible a fabric type material that contours nicely to the top of my foot. I don’t know if the upper stretches out over time, but so far, mine still fit nicely.
These are the most expensive slippers on my list by far, but they are my favorite because while they are tied with the much cheaper FunkyMonkey slippers as my most comfortable, these APLs are much more stylish and likely to wear much longer because of the higher quality materials and craftsmanship, and APL’s reputation for quality products. I purchased a 7 and found it ran true to size.
Huiri Kim is a full time pragmatist, currently working as an attorney based in Chicago. She is also a part time idealist, devising ways to see and save the world, then eventually retire in a warmly decorated tiny home.
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