A slipper is the one type of footwear we tend to wear every day. While you might choose a different shoe from your closet every day to wear outside we all tend to gravitate towards the same pair of comfy slippers every evening when we get home.
How long do slippers last? According to research conducted by The College of Podiatry, the average useful lifespan of a slipper is much shorter than that of an outdoor shoe. Slippers last about twelve months.
That, of course, is a very big generalization. How long slippers last actually depends upon a number of different factors. What kind of slippers are they (there are lots of choices out there)? How are the slippers worn? What walking gait does their wearer have? Let’s look at some of these considerations right now:
Types of slipper
Head into any High Street shoe store, or navigate to the footwear section of any online apparel store and you will quickly realize that these days there are a lot of choices out there, for both men and women, when it comes to slippers. And which option you choose will have a lot to do with how long they last.
If you opt for a traditional, soft-soled open slide, the kind that has a terry cloth insole and a very thin outsole – and is usually very inexpensive – then the chances that those kinds of slippers will last a year are slim. Even if they are worn with socks (which is something that a number of foot health experts now recommend) both the insides and the outer soles wear down far more quickly than that, in, on average, as little as three or four months.
Choosing a slipper with a more robust sole and upper will give you a slipper that will last longer. You can find a number of good-looking alternatives that are made using a flexible soft leather for the inner sole and the upper and that boast a more rigid sole. You will, however, need to be prepared to pay a little more initially but the return on your investment might actually be a good one if they then last a year (or more in some cases) versus having to invest in a new pair of slippers every few months.
The only thing to worry about when looking for a more robust slipper is whether or not that more rigid sole will mark your floors. Hardwood floors are a favorite among homeowners these days, as are highly polished tile floors, but both can be easily damaged by heavy soled shoes that can leave behind difficult to remove black marks or even permanently mark or scratch the floor, ruining it for good.
Therefore make sure that you choose a slipper with a non-marking sole – something that is usually stated in the product description or on the box – but one that still has enough traction that you won’t slip, slide and fall on what can be very slippery flooring surfaces.
How do you wear your slippers?
The way you wear your slippers can make quite a big difference to their longevity as well. Traditionally people wear slippers without socks. In fact, there are still lots of people who think that wearing socks with slippers is one of the biggest fashion no-nos there is. However, doing so can seriously reduce the useful life of your slippers, even the more expensive ones.
That is because, whether we like to admit it or not, our feet do tend to be rather sweaty, somewhat stinky things, especially if they have been crammed into tight fitting shoes all day long. And because many slipper styles feature warm and comfy insoles made of very soft materials – terry cloth, faux fur, sheepskin etc – all that grimy nastiness transfers onto them very quickly and embeds easily, meaning that the insides of your slippers, if worn without socks can get pretty gross pretty quickly, shortening their useful life considerably.
In fact, while we are on the subject, the unvarnished truth is that dirty, grimy slippers can be bad for your health. Several studies have revealed that the dirt and bacteria that can build up in slippers that are worn without socks can – and does – very easily lead to fungal infections of the foot, toes and even toenails, and none of those things are fun.
How do you walk in your slippers?
The way you walk – your gait – can affect the way the soles of your slippers wear. Those who have flat feet tend to wear out the soles of any shoes rather unevenly and that is certainly the case for slippers, which are, for the most part, very soft soled in the first place. This uneven wear is another thing that will wear out slippers faster and mean you will need to head back to the store for a new pair well before the ‘average’ twelve months is up.
The other thing about the way you walk in your slippers that will affect their useful lifespan is whether or not you ever wear them outside. Not to go out, of course, that would be rather strange (and uncomfortable) but do you run to pick up the mail from your mailbox in your slippers, or keep them on when you pop out to start warming up the car?
While that might seem harmless enough – it’s only for a few minutes at a time after all – wearing slippers outside at all will ruin them rather quickly. It will also defeat one of the big purposes of wearing slippers in the first place; keeping the dirt and grit that can be tracked in across your carpets and floors by outdoor shoes at bay.
Are there ways you extend the life of your slippers?
Can you extend the useful life off your slippers, simply by changing a few of your habits? The answer is yes you can. here are some tips for doing just that.
Spend a little more in the first place
Very often that old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true, and that is certainly the case when you are choosing a new pair of slippers to buy. Usually, if you want extra durability that is going to come at a higher price. Doing the math though, it might not.
Let’s say you are choosing between an inexpensive (under $10) pair of slide style slipper and a more robust version from the likes of Land’s End or REI. Their slippers are likely to cost you anywhere between $40 and $100. However, many people say that higher end slippers last not just for a year but for several years. While that cheaper pair is likely to need to be replaced every three months, costing you at least $40 over the course of a year anyway. Look at it this way and it’s not hard to see why investing in a good pair of slippers is usually a great buy.
Even if you hate the idea, consider getting into the habit of wearing socks with your slippers. It really will help them last longer and remain healthier for your feet in general. But the socks you wear don’t have to be big and bulky.
No show socks are one great option worth considering. These socks are designed to be worn in shoes of all kinds that show a lot of the foot off and they are very unobtrusive, especially if you choose a nude or flesh colored pair. The one thing that some people do complain about with this style of sock is that they tend to slip off the foot but you can solve that problem by making sure that you actually buy the right size and opt for a pair with good quality elastic.
Deodorize your feet
We’ll bet you would never consider going a day without applying a good underarm deodorant. So why don’t you do the same for your feet? Deodorizing foot sprays are available in most drug stores and a couple of sprays after a shower before you slip into your favorite slippers can really help keep the slippers smelling nicer while also making being shoeless in the first place more pleasant for everyone around you.
Don’t wear your slippers outside…ever
Wearing your slippers outside – even if its only for a few minutes to work just a few hundred feet, is the fastest way to ruin them, so it’s something that you should never do. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of putting on real outdoor shoes to just run out and get the mail buy yourself a cheap pair of flip-flops and keep them by the door. That way you can slip out of your slippers, and into them, with ease to go out. Doing so will not only help extend the life of your slippers but keep your feet better protected as well.