After 20 hours of research and testing 14 different pairs of slippers—all in addition to the 40 hours we spent working on previous versions of this guide—we recommend the Haflinger AS Slippers (with soft soles) and the Haflinger AT Slippers (with hard soles) yet again for keeping your feet warm and sweat-free indoors when it’s cold outside. Compared with top competitors, they offer the best combination of comfort, warmth, support, and moisture wicking. And they feel better and better over time: Made of breathable boiled wool, they’re soft but not stifling, supercomfy, easy to keep clean, and seem to mold to your feet as you wear them.
The Haflingers may not look like the soft, fluffy, cloudlike shoes you think of when you think of slippers. Sure, in terms of pure warmth you just can’t beat traditional wool fleece, but for balancing warmth, sweat-wicking, and overall comfort, you want boiled wool—more specifically, you want Haflingers. Not only did they immediately feel softer than any other boiled-wool models we tried, but they also were less likely to cause clammy feet and odor.
Go for the AS version if you primarily need an indoor slipper; if you want the option of keeping them on for quick jaunts outside to the corner store or the mailbox, opt for the Haflinger AT model and its rubber-coated soles for about $20 more.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.
If the Haflingers are unavailable, or if you’re looking for something durable for a little less money, get the women’s Acorn Dara Mule Slippers or the men’s Acorn Digby Gore Mule. The Haflingers are the best all around, but the Acorns are a solid second option. Though they’re a tad clunkier to wear than the Haflingers, they are also made of boiled wool, have a solid rubber sole that provides ample arch support, and feature a warm polyester berber lining. They’re also less expensive—sometimes a lot less expensive at the end of winter. Be sure to order a half or full size up because if these slippers are too small, your heel will sit uncomfortably on the back ridge.
Diehard fluffy-slippers fans will love L.L.Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins (women’s, men’s). They’re made of real sheepskin shearling that’s more breathable and stays fluffier for longer than the same material on similar pairs. (One of our testers has had her pair for four years with no signs of wear.) If you’re unsure about sizing, you’ll definitely want to go up—perhaps even a full size—in order to make room for socks when necessary. We like the moccasins because they provide good all-around coverage of your whole foot while still being easy to slip on and off without your hands. But if you want more warmth, the booties (for men and women) are also a good option. That said, the Wicked Good Moccasins are not nearly as breathable as the Haflingers and are probably too warm to recommend for everyone. They’re also harder to clean, especially if you want to wear them outside.
Finally, if you prefer something less expensive, get yourself a pair of the L.L.Bean Fleece Slipper Scuffs. Made of washable polyester fleece and an indoor/outdoor sole, these lightweight slippers are supersoft and cozy. Generally, slippers made of artificial materials tend to get smellier faster, breathe poorly, and be less durable compared with slippers made of natural materials, like our top pick is (boiled wool)—but these synthetic-fleece slip-ons are a pretty solid pick for the price (especially if you’d rather not use animal products). Users agree, giving the Fleece Slipper Scuffs 4.5 stars (out of five) across 1,200 reviews on the L.L.Bean website.
I’ve spent over a decade researching home, food, and crafts products and writing and editing content about those same topics for magazines and websites. And for nearly four years now, I’ve worn slippers almost every day in my home office.
Jamie Wiebe and Michael Zhao—former and current Sweethome editors, respectively—wrote earlier versions of this guide, and I’ve used some of their thorough research and reporting here. Wiebe originally spoke with Rick Hege of Shepherd’s Flock, a company that creates handcrafted sheepskin slippers, ear muffs, cat beds, and more, to get his advice about natural versus synthetic materials. Zhao also offered his feedback for this round of the guide and tested the men’s slippers for us.
To build on and update the previous guide, I read every slippers product guide, blog post, and editorial roundup I could find, as well as customer reviews on company websites and shopping sites, including Amazon and Zappos. And I spoke with Wendy Thayer, brand marketing manager at Garnet Hill, a clothing and lifestyle company trusted for both comfort and modern style, to learn how they choose which slippers to sell.
If you ever get chilly feet at home, can never find your warmest pair of socks, or need a thoughtful and cozy gift for a friend or loved one, you should know which slippers are best. A flimsy, unsupportive, or uncomfortable pair of slippers is a waste, sure, but it’s also unnecessary—with so many affordable styles out there, even if you’re on a budget you can find one that will make your feet happy day in and day out.
The point of a slipper is to keep your feet comfortable and warm. A good slipper needs to be breathable too, which is why the best slippers are made from natural materials. While synthetic selections made with faux fur, microsuede, or microfiber can be every bit as soft as their natural counterparts upon first touch, they breathe poorly in comparison and cause sweat and odor much more quickly. (Don’t worry: If you object to animal products of all types, we’ve got you covered—we tested vegan options as well.)
“Boiled wool is always a go-to, since it naturally wicks away moisture and regulates temperature,” says Wendy Thayer of Garnet Hill. Sheepskin shearling is another natural material popular in slippers because it too excels in breathability, warmth, and resisting odors.
Boiled wool is made by shrinking knitted wool into felt. This makes for a tight, tough, and dense material that is very warm, yet breathable. Sheepskin shearling is made by removing both the skin and fleece of a sheep, then tanning and sueding the skin with the wool still attached.1 The wool is then trimmed to a consistent height while still on the skin. This wool-on-skin is sometimes called fleece; confusingly, “fleece” can also refer to sheep’s wool attached to a slipper’s fabric—usually some kind of leather or faux suede—using a netted webbing. Then there’s synthetic fleece, which may be a mix of real wool and manmade fibers or could be completely synthetic (this may feel like fabric or be dyed different colors, as in athletic wear). Because they’re not 100 percent wool, the way shearling is, the latter two types of fleece just don’t have the same breathability or moisture-wicking powers.
Thayer also had this helpful recommendation: “It’s important to know what you want from a slipper. If you are looking for a slipper that acts like a house shoe, look for a durable rubber or latex outsole. Think of the season: A lightweight slipper is great in the summer, but you may want something more substantial when the temperatures dip.” She also added that some people care more about arch support than others and should pay particular attention to insoles.
With our ideal materials and a range of preferences in mind, and after sifting through dozens of user reviews, we settled on a sweet spot for pricing of around $60 to $100. This range usually means high-quality materials and construction without flimsiness or cheap synthetic fillers.
After eliminating the slippers that had obvious flaws according to online user reviews (e.g., poor construction, quick to overheat, terrible sizing) we were left with eight brands for more serious consideration (including winning brands from our previous guide that we wanted to retest). Sweethome editor Michael Zhao and I tried on the following slippers over two weeks (and longer, for our favorites): Acorn’s Dara and Digby Gore, Haflinger’s AS and AT models, BEARPAW’s Loki and Moc II, the Clarks Venetian Plaid Lined Moccasin, the Glerups Model B, L.L.Bean’s Wicked Good Moccasins and Fleece Slipper Scuffs, Lands’ End’s Fleece Clog Slippers, and Woolrich’s Whitecap Slide Mules and Chatham Run Moccasins.
While trying on the slippers we noted fit issues, how supportive the slippers were, whether they stayed on our feet while walking up and down stairs, how warm they kept our feet both indoors and out, whether we experienced any unusual pain or discomfort, and if they showed any signs of wear and tear.
The Haflinger slippers outshined all their competitors in our testing by being good at first and getting better over time. While the initial lack of fluffiness is a turnoff, their felted wool wears better over time than fleece or shearling. They’re comfortable to wear both in winter and summer, which sets them apart from the rest of the competition, and they will naturally mold to your foot over time. In fact, the Haflingers have the best arch support of any slipper we tried. Plus, they’re easier to walk in than looser-fitting slippers we tested and easier to clean too. If you primarily plan to wear your slippers indoors, we recommend the AS version; but if you’d prefer something with a waterproof sole for fetching the mail or taking out the trash, the hard-soled AT version is worth the extra money.
What sets the Haflingers apart from most slippers is that they’re made of boiled wool—often called felted wool or just felt. We admit that boiled wool is a far cry from the fluffy fleece you might be used to in a house shoe, but ultimately we found boiled wool to be a far superior slipper material. While fleece feels better at first touch, the boiled wool feels more comfortable when worn for extended periods of time, due to its superior breathability, and it stays nicer for longer thanks to its odor- and dirt-hiding abilities. It’s also softer than it looks, especially after a little breaking in. Indeed, there’s very little downside to boiled wool, as renowned crafter Maddy Cranley explains at MaddyCraft.com: “Felt is a warm, windproof fabric that despite its matted texture remains remarkably lightweight and soft to the touch.”
While we originally tested these slippers in the cold of winter, we’ve since had a chance to use them in the summer and found them to be quite pleasant. On the other hand, L.L.Bean’s sheepskin slippers, despite being more breathable than other sheepskin competitors, are usually too warm for the summer, unless you crank the AC all the way up. Less-expensive slippers, including the Woolrich Whitecap Slide Mules and the Lands’ End Fleece Clogs, got too sweaty, even in winter, due to their synthetic materials (which also explains their lower price).
The Haflingers fit well out of the box and only get better over time. Due to the nature of the boiled wool they’re made from, they stretch and adjust to fit your feet. By the end of a full day wearing them—or a week of part-time wear—they’re pretty form-fitting and they stay that way for years to come. They have excellent arch support, thanks to their molded latex footbed. They slip on easily and while, sure, they’re not fleece, their insides are soft and never irritating, even against bare feet. (In contrast, as soon as I put on the BEARPAW Loki slippers, I immediately wanted them off—they felt so artificial and scratchy.) All of which is to say: There’s a reason that these Haflingers have remained our top pick for two years running.
Our picks’ good fit translates into good walking mechanics too. They don’t really flop around compared to lighter, looser-fitting scuffs like the Lands’ End Fleece Clogs or the Woolrich Slide Mules, nor are they likely to unintentionally slip off of your feet.
The Haflingers are also easier to clean compared with fluffier competition. Unlike fluffy slippers, the Haflingers didn’t have the obnoxious problem of dirt getting trapped between fibers deep in the fleece pile (because, of course, there’s no pile to speak of). Removing dust, dirt, and liquid stains from these is far easier than it is with piled fur, too. The AS slippers are completely machine washable, making them easier to clean than delicate sueded sheepskin slippers. (Go here for more on their easy care and maintenance.)
Online reviewers are also big fans. At Zappos, 74 percent of the AS’s 328 reviewers gave them five stars. At Amazon, the AS slippers have 4.5 stars across 272 reviews. And Angie Cox at YouLookFab says most slippers “either stretch out, lack support, tear, make my feet perspire or feel slippery. Haflinger has found the formula that is perfect for me.”
Women with heel pain may want to go for the AT version of this slipper, which has a little more support than the AS due to the reinforcement of the rubber sole. The Plantar Fasciitis Resource calls the Haflinger AT the best slipper with arch support for women (though they’re actually unisex), writing that the AT “may not have the health industry notoriety or name brand that companies like Vionic has, but it offers plenty of support to those who have given them a ride… especially for the plantar fasciitis crowd. The insole comes fitted with a molded arch support to help adjust for proper alignment.” Basically, you’re getting a slipper that’s comparable to orthopedic slippers in terms of support, but without the dorky styling.
If you don’t foresee a need for waterproof soles, save some money by getting the Haflinger AS.
Depending on where you buy them, the Haflingers might cost you a pretty penny. They’re definitely on the higher end of the price scale. But we think they’re worth it—too much cheaper and you run into uncomfortable fabrics, lack of durability, and general sweatiness.
We also found some reviewers complaining they aren’t snug enough—and it’s true, they do have a roomy toe box to begin with. For us, that made them more comfortable, and they seem to soften in all the right places for an almost personalized fit, but if you want them super-duper snug, wear socks with them. Also, check Haflinger’s size conversion chart before ordering and choose the next size up if you’re a half size to ensure the best fit with their European sizes.
As previously touched upon, boiled wool isn’t as instantly soft and comfy as sheepskin fleece. For the first couple wears, the shoes might feel a little rough against bare feet—similar to quality short-pile carpeting— but we’ve found that stops quickly once you start breaking them in.
Note: Several readers have told us that the AT’s soles left black scuff marks on their tile and hardwood floors for about two weeks. Don’t be shocked if you notice this happening; you can wash off the scuffs.
Sweethome editor Michael Zhao bought these at our recommendation a few years ago and has nothing but good things to say about them: “After testing them against five more pairs of budget-friendly slippers in the most recent round of testing, I’m more confident than ever that Haflingers are worth the premium. The cheaper slippers were stiflingly hot in comparison. And even the most supportive slippers I tested didn’t come close to matching the Haflingers’ comfort. They feel like they’re built to a much higher standard and should last you a long time—mine are going strong, well into their third year.”
One of our original testers washed their AT pair five times in two years, and the slippers are still going strong; another started preferring them over sheepskin slippers because they get less dirty.
More intense daily wear might cause the slippers to wear out a bit more quickly, however. Another Sweethome staffer wore a pair of them almost every day, including all day in the winter, and after five months found the insole on one of them had come out (which he says happens to all of his slippers).
*At the time of publishing, the price was $50.
Acorn’s women’s Dara Mule Slippers and men’s Digby Gore Mule Slippers combine comfort, support, and warmth at a reasonable price. They feel good right out of the box and get even better the more you wear them, whether you do so with bare feet or socks. The sizing can be a little hard to figure out at first, and they do run a little warm, but if you need a supportive slipper for a lower price than the Haflingers and want the option of an outdoor sole—and you like the flower embellishment on the women’s version—they are a solid pick.
Like the Haflinger, the Dara’s upper is made of 100 percent boiled wool. But the men’s Digby Gore has a wool-poly–blend upper, and our male tester thought that though they absorbed foot odor quickly, they generally seem to run a little warm. Both are a tad clunkier to walk around in than the Haflingers, but they have a solid rubber sole that provides ample arch support, and they feature a warm polyester berber lining—all of which makes them a vast improvement over every other model we tested at this lower price point. We had no issues with these slipping off of our feet, even when going up and down stairs, and their fit feels soft and snug through the top of the foot.
Figuring out whether you should choose a small, medium, or large size can be tricky, so make sure to check the numerical size equivalents on Acorn’s online size chart and go up a size when in doubt to ensure that your foot fits comfortably inside the slipper without hitting the back edge.
Amazon users give the women’s Dara slippers a 4.6 stars (out of 5) across 150 reviews (the men’s Digby Gore gets 4.7 stars across 25 reviews), with good comments about durability over the long run. Acorn also offers a one-year warranty to cover any problems with the slippers’ material or construction outside of normal wear and tear (Haflinger’s warranty is for six months). We also found that Acorn has ace customer service, meaning that you can actually reach someone on the phone should you have a question about an order, sizing, or slipper care. That was pretty much impossible with Haflingers, and is a really nice bonus with Acorn’s lower price tag.
If you’re a die-hard fluffy-slippers fan, we have a pick for you: the L.L.Bean Wicked Good Moccasins (women’s, men’s). There’s also a Camp version for women that does away with the fluffy collar, if you prefer a more subdued look. However, in testing we found that the Camp version is a bit narrower in the toe than the normal fluffy-collar version, so go up a size if you have wider feet.
Of all the sheepskin slippers we tested, we found the L.L.Beans comfortable, supersoft, and warm. They also didn’t make our feet terribly sweaty. That’s because they are made from genuine shorn sheepskin shearling. We’ve found the best sheepskin slippers, like the L.L.Beans, manage to keep you warm while still wicking away most of the sweat. “Even though the wool felts down, there is still air space in the fiber mesh that allows for the free circulation of the air,” Rick Hege, owner of Shepherd’s Flock, a company that handcrafts sheepskin slippers, ear muffs, cat beds, and more, told us. Hege compared these slippers with wool car covers, which are still comfortable and cool even in the summer.
But the L.L.Bean slippers also stand out when compared with other genuine shearling slippers. For example, Minnetonka is another popular shearling slipper brand, but its slippers quickly lost their fluffiness after a week or two, whereas the L.L.Beans remained fluffy throughout several weeks of testing.
Wearing the L.L.Beans feels like a warm hug for your feet. The sheepskin shearling is soft without being overprocessed—it still feels and looks like natural wool fleece, unlike the fleece of, say, Uggs, which feels almost artificial. The L.L.Bean slippers are comfortable, soft, and fluffy. In short, they feel just like a slipper should feel, and the fleece beats all other materials out there (including boiled wool) in terms of pure warmth.
The L.L.Beans offer enough arch support to ensure that your feet are comfortable, though not quite as much support as the Haflingers. The L.L.Beans’s bottoms are made of a thick, waterproof, indoor-outdoor rubber good for short outdoor excursions, and have a memory foam insole. This combination makes the slippers supercomfortable, though the thick rubber soles sound like outdoor shoes when walking on hardwood floors.
It’s a trade-off between the L.L.Beans and the Haflingers: The L.L.Beans are indeed warmer, but that warmth comes at a price. Even though they were the least clammy of all the sheepskin slippers we tried, they still weren’t nearly as breathable as the Haflingers.
So these might be a better pick if your feet get crazy cold in the winter, you don’t tend to sweat a lot, and you prefer that shearling feel and style. And if your feet get freezing, even cold to the touch, consider upgrading to L.L.Bean’s Wicked Good booties (women’s, men’s), which provide too much overall coverage for most people but will do an exceptional job of keeping the coldest feet warm. But be warned: Our sweaty-footed male tester found the moccasins just barely more tolerable than the rest of the fleece slippers he tested (which he uniformly disliked).
The fur below your feet will get matted down over time, so don’t expect it to continue feeling quite as fluffy as it will right out of the box, though the slippers do retain their overall comfort. And these shoes likely won’t last as long as the Haflingers: Over time, consistent usage of any sheepskin slippers will eventually cause fleece to rub off, creating holes in the fur. (They’re also harder to clean; learn more in our Care and maintenance section.) Luckily, user reports indicate L.L.Bean’s lifetime guarantee is as good as it sounds, so if your shoes do wear out, the company will happily replace them. I’ve had my pair for four years and, apart from a little compression of the fluffy lining—which seems to have no impact on how they feel on my feet—I still happily wear them almost every day. In fact, I wear them all year long (I tend to run cold) and I’ve never had an issue with odor or sweatiness.
If you really don’t want to spend much on your slippers, we recommend the L.L.Bean Fleece Slipper Scuffs.
They’re made of polyester fleece, so they are a nice choice if you’re looking for vegan slippers. They do tend to be very warm, though among the many other artificial-material slippers we tested they trap the least moisture. They also offer solid support due to their rubber sole and are supersoft on bare feet.
As a general rule, we don’t think artificial fabrics are the way to go for a slipper: They tend to be hot, don’t breathe well, and get dirtier more quickly (although they are easier to clean). But if you must, or you’re looking for a cheaper slipper option, the L.L.Bean Fleece Slipper Scuffs are a good alternative. (The men’s version was out of stock at the time of testing, but they get 4.5 out of 5 stars on the company’s website, with over 1,200 customers weighing in.) And you can’t beat the company’s 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
According to Haflinger’s website you should wash boiled-wool slippers in warm water with mild detergent on gentle cycle for five minutes. Stuff them with newspaper and let them air dry overnight. You can touch them up with a hair dryer to finish if need be.
As for the sheepskin slippers we recommend, the suede outside requires very careful cleaning because dirt tends to get caught within the fibers (unless you’re especially cautious).
The Glerups Model B (men’s and women’s) were our runner-ups in our last guide and remain a solid choice. They combine the good qualities of boiled wool and sheepskin fleece. But compared with the Haflinger AS and the Acorns, the wool is stiffer out of the box and slightly uncomfortable on bare feet, and the slippers take longer to break in.
Our male tester liked the Clarks Venetian Plaid Lined Moccasin (men’s) among the less-expensive options, but didn’t find them to be quite as supportive or comfortable as the Acorn Digby. (The women’s model was out of stock at the time of testing, though both are well-reviewed on the Clarks website.)
The Lands’ End Fleece Clogs (men’s and women’s) are inexpensive at about $25, sure, but they felt like bulky moon shoes and even made a squishing noise with each step. Spend about $15 more for the vastly more comfortable L.L.Bean fleece slippers.
The Woolrich Whitecap Slide Mules (women’s) were too warm right out of the box and were so incredibly flat and floppy.
As with their Slide Mules, the Woolrich Chatham Run Slip-On Loafer (men’s) caused sweaty feet almost immediately.
The BEARPAW Loki slipper (women’s) seemed promising, but one tester found the sheepskin lining felt artificial and clammy on bare feet.
BEARPAW’s Moc II (men’s) felt tight in the toe box, yet loose in the heel—not a great combination.
In our original guide, we tested even more options:
The Minnetonka mules for women and moccasins for men rivaled the L.L.Beans for the most breathable sheepskin and were incredibly soft and comfortable. Yet three weeks into our test the sheepskin wore through to the suede. Sure, sheepskin will do that, but it certainly shouldn’t do it that quickly.
The Ugg Scuffette IIs are extraordinarily soft and comfortable, and if we were picking a slipper for women who care exclusively about comfort, they would probably be the best. But the dye used on the men’s Scuffs rubbed off on our male tester’s feet, and the cuff running along the upper foot rubbed and irritated the skin.
The Giesswein Ammerns are very similar to the Haflingers and they share many of the same benefits that boiled wool provides. But they lack the ergonomic foot support and, overall, feel much flimsier. For a few dollars in savings, it’s not worth downgrading the footbed so drastically.
Mahabis’s slippers are another felted option, featuring clean lines and removable rubber soles (they’ve even won some design awards). But for their price we expect more than the artificial polyester felt they’re made of. Also, they don’t have natural odor resistance and they’re not that much cheaper than our winners.
The Old Friend slipper we tested—the Ladies’ Scuff—ran very small, and the sheepskin quickly wore down. The slippers weren’t nearly as soft or as comfortable as the L.L.Beans—which makes sense, considering their low price that indicates that artificial fibers are threaded in somewhere.
Sorel’s women’s Nakiska wool-acrylic–blend lining was too sweaty and stifling. For the price, they’re decently comfortable, but compared side by side with the L.L.Beans, there’s no competition. Plus, user reports of these shoes quickly falling apart make them a no-go. (Sorel’s men’s Falcon Ridge slippers had the same issue.)
Originally published: April 13, 2016