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safe slippers for elderly people

Safe Slippers for Elderly People: Keep Them From Falling!

There are very few things more important that keeping an elderly person from falling. The reality of a serious fall is that it can be life threatening. At a minimum, a fall will alter the overall mobility and daily life of the senior. One item to take a good look at is the elderly person 's footwear. Many seniors like to wear house shoes or slippers because they are comfortable. But some are just not safe for use by seniors. Here is how to find safe slippers for elderly people.

​Why do Seniors Like to Wear House Shoes?

Seniors like their lives to be simple. Slippers are simple to take on and off. They are more comfortable than a dress shoe or even an athletic shoe. Slippers are just easier for them to manage - especially around the house.

Also, many seniors and elderly people have significant problems with their feet due to many different diagnoses. Diabetes can cause painful sores and shooting nerve pain in the legs and feet. Bunions, calluses, and hammer toes are very common issues. Arthritis and gout cause joints to swell and become painful. Even the heels can hurt from heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.

The footwear the senior wears should try to help ease the pain and accommodate any swelling. Slippers are often more comforting than other types of shoes.

Safety Factors of Slippers

lady fell because of unsafe slippers

The wrong slippers can cause big problems

Most people rate comfort as the most important feature of a slipper. But for a slipper to be safe for an elderly person to use, there are other factors that should be considered. Here is a rundown of the necessary safety features of slippers.

​Type of Sole

The sole of the slipper is one of the most important considerations in the safety of a slipper for a senior. Extremely soft soles will not provide any support to the foot and could slip. Soles that are too hard will not give as the senior walks and may cause them to stumble from the lack of flexibility. The sole should not be too thick either especially in the heel. Soles that are too thick can de-stabilize the ankle. Kind of like walking on a high heel.

​Style

The style and how snugly the slippers fit is also very important. Slippers come in different styles that fit the foot differently. For example, some slippers wrap around the foot tig​htly like ballerina slippers. Some only wrap around the front part of the foot and offer no coverage around the heel. Others look more like regular shoes with hard rubber soles and support up to the ankle.

To keep the elderly person safe, choose a slipper that supports the front and back of the foot​. Open heel slippers are not safe because they can slip off of the foot easily. But make sure it doesn't go all the way up to the ankle. You want to make sure the ankle is not restricted and can move freely.

Closure Clasp

​If the slipper has a closure, it should be easy to open and close. Especially if the wearer has arthritic hands. Small buttons, clasps, and buckles are probably out. Laces are definitely not a good option. In addition to being difficult to tie, laces that come loose are a major tripping hazard. Velcro is about the best option for an easy to use and also safe slipper clasp.

Why are velcro closure slippers such a good idea for seniors? First, they allow for a more custom fit to the slipper. The wearer can adjust them as tight or as loose as they want. Second, having a velcro closure allows for swelling. If the senior experiences a lot of swelling in their feet, the slipper can be loosened so that it isn't too tight. Finally, adjustments are possible to accommodate painful, arthritic joints and even hammertoe.​

Weight

The slipper should not be heavy either. Heavy slippers may be cause tripping and falls if the senior has week or feet. This can become a bigger issue later in the day as the senior tires out. Slippers should not be too light either. You want the senior to be able to feel the slipper so that they can retain control of their steps. Look for a slipper that is not heavy but has enough heft to it that the senior will realize they are wearing it.

Fit

elderly man in slippers with child

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Feet by Kenley Neufeld at Flickr

Get the proper size of slipper to keep the senior safe as possible. Slippers that are too tight will cut off circulation, aggravate vascular or skin conditions, and increase pain in swollen arthritic joints. Slippers that are too loose could slip off and cause trips and falls. Look for a slipper that is adjustable so that it can be refit as the condition of the foot changes throughout the day.

Comfort

Of course, it is important that the slipper be comfortable to the wearer. Quite simply, if the​ wearer doesn't think the shoe is comfortable - they will not wear it. Look for a slipper that is made of a soft, cushioning material. Especially in the area in contact with the foot itself. Just make sure the sole itself meets the safety criteria above.

​Best Slippers for Elderly Women

Based on the safety factors above, here are my recommendations for the best slippers for elderly women... and the safest ones too!

Safe Slippers Comparison Chart: Women's Models

Photo
Top Pick!
Acorn Women's Spa Wrap Slippers,Pink,S
Damen Navy Blue Diabetic Orthopaedic Slipper 10 B(M) US
Foamtreads Nurse Slipper,Charcoal Wool,7 W US
ACORN Women's Boiled Wool Edelweiss Slipper Moccasin, Heather Grey, 6 M US
Product
Acorn Women's Spa Wrap Slippers,Pink,S
Damen Navy Blue Diabetic Orthopaedic Slipper 10 B(M) US
Foamtreads Nurse Slipper,Charcoal Wool,7 W US
ACORN Women's Boiled Wool Edelweiss Slipper Moccasin, Heather Grey, 6 M US
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, elastic heel
Rubber sole, velcro closure, stiffer fit
Rubber sole, velcro closure, roomy toe
Rubber sole, slip on style, soft interior
Top Pick!
Photo
Acorn Women's Spa Wrap Slippers,Pink,S
Product
Acorn Women's Spa Wrap Slippers,Pink,S
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, elastic heel
Photo
Damen Navy Blue Diabetic Orthopaedic Slipper 10 B(M) US
Product
Damen Navy Blue Diabetic Orthopaedic Slipper 10 B(M) US
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, stiffer fit
Photo
Foamtreads Nurse Slipper,Charcoal Wool,7 W US
Product
Foamtreads Nurse Slipper,Charcoal Wool,7 W US
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, roomy toe
Photo
ACORN Women's Boiled Wool Edelweiss Slipper Moccasin, Heather Grey, 6 M US
Product
ACORN Women's Boiled Wool Edelweiss Slipper Moccasin, Heather Grey, 6 M US
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, slip on style, soft interior

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

ACORN Women's Spa Wrap Slipper

The Acorn Spa slipper is probably THE best and safest slipper for elderly women. It checks the box for every safety criteria I talk about above. The sole is rubber but not too thick, the areas around the foot are soft and comfortable, and it is easy to care for. I love the idea of the velcro closure - this makes it easy to take on and off. It also allow the senior to get a custom feel and fit. This slipper also has an elastic band in the heel that keeps the slipper securely on the foot at all times. There are also lots of color and size options.

Important features:

  • Soft rubber sole for traction and foot support
  • Skid resistant, weatherproof sole for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Ultra soft terry cloth lining inside and outside.
  • Velcro tab closure allows for a custom feel or readjustment througout the day
  • Elastic band on heel keeps the slipper on the heel and prevents it from slipping off
  • Machine washable
  • Available in 5 colors

Womens Extra Wide Fitting Diabetic Orthopaedic Slippers

These slippers won't be as soft and cushioned as the Acorn Spa slippers but they have a lot of what I look for in safety slippers. The rubber sole is solid but also flexible enough not to interfere with the elderly's steps. It also has a velcro fastener so that it can be adjusted to accommodate any swelling or foot pain. This slipper is a good choice for those who like a more stylish slipper or a more snugly fit slipper.

Important features:

  • Solid but flexible synthetic sole
  • Velcro fastener for custom fit
  • Rounded toe
  • Popular with diabetics and orthopedics
  • 2 colors to choose from
  • Stylish gold pattern

Foamtreads Nurse Slipper

These slippers lack a little style but are very functional for senior women. The roomy toe area and adjustable straps make this slipper a great choice for people suffering from hammertoe. People who don't want a fluffy, fuzzy slipper will like these because they have a smaller profile.

Important features:

  • Rubber sole with wool uppers
  • 3 way velcro adjustable straps
  • Satin lining with high density foam backing
  • Removable antibacterial insole
  • Only one color: charcoal
  • Indoor/Outdoor use
  • Works well with hammertoe

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 02:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


ACORN Women's Boiled Wool Edelweiss Slipper Moccasin

I looked and looked for a slip-on moccasin style slipper that is safe for elderly people and finally found this one. Moccasin slippers are very popular because they can be slipped right on. People also like them because of their soft interiors. But most slip-on style are not a good idea for elderly people. These Acorn Moccasins will be safe for most elderly who just need the traction and support. However, I would not recommend them for someone with toe deformities or excessive swelling because there is no adjustment on them.

Important features:

  • 3 colors to choose from
  • Flexible rubber sole
  • Boiled wool uppers from Australia with hand details
  • Soft wool lining 
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • Moccasin slip-on style

Best Slippers for Elderly Men

​Elderly men need to be safe too, of course! Here are my recommendations for best slippers for elderly men:

Safe Slippers Comparison Chart: Men's Models

Photo
Mens Extra Extra Wide Slippers - Swollen Feet - Adjustable Closure - Diabetic & Edema - Blue Tartan...
TOP PICK!
Foamtreads Men's Physician Slipper,8.5 D(M) US,Navy
Isotoner Men’s Microterry Slip On Slippers,  Medium,  Navy
Product
Mens Extra Extra Wide Slippers - Swollen Feet - Adjustable Closure - Diabetic & Edema - Blue Tartan...
Foamtreads Men's Physician Slipper,8.5 D(M) US,Navy
Isotoner Men’s Microterry Slip On Slippers, Medium, Navy
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, memory foam
Rubber sole, velcro closure, heel adjustment
Rubber sole, slip on style, supported heel
Photo
Mens Extra Extra Wide Slippers - Swollen Feet - Adjustable Closure - Diabetic & Edema - Blue Tartan...
Product
Mens Extra Extra Wide Slippers - Swollen Feet - Adjustable Closure - Diabetic & Edema - Blue Tartan...
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, memory foam
TOP PICK!
Photo
Foamtreads Men's Physician Slipper,8.5 D(M) US,Navy
Product
Foamtreads Men's Physician Slipper,8.5 D(M) US,Navy
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, velcro closure, heel adjustment
Photo
Isotoner Men’s Microterry Slip On Slippers,  Medium,  Navy
Product
Isotoner Men’s Microterry Slip On Slippers, Medium, Navy
Mini-Review
Rubber sole, slip on style, supported heel

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 18:51 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Isotoner Men’s Microterry Slip On Slippers

For a slip-on style of slipper, this one is pretty good overall. It has most of the recommended safety features: flexible sole, lightweight, and supports the heel. The terry material is also stretchy so it will accommodate some swelling and toe problems. However, I wouldn't use it with someone with significant swelling or deformities. But it's good for someone who just needs some help with traction and support.

Important features:

  • Flexible rubber sole
  • Memory foam insole for custom feel
  • Soft and comfortable microterry upper
  • Heel stretches for easy donning
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • 4 colors to choose from
  • Machine washable

Foamtreads Men's Physician Slipper

I think this is the best and safest slipper for elderly men that you can buy. It has lots of comfort features like the wool uppers and the soft foam inset. The most important thing though are the velcro closure straps. There are two of them: one across the top and one on the heel. That makes this slipper easy to take on and off. It is also easy to get the proper fit and make adjustments as the day goes on. I wish there was more choice of colors - there are only 2 (charcoal and black!) But if safe and functional are what you are looking for - this is it.

Important features:

  • Flexible non-marking rubber sole
  • Velcro adjustments on top and at the heel
  • Genuine wool uppers for warmth and comfort
  • Soft heel to toe padding for comfort
  • 2 colors to choose from 

Mens Extra Extra Wide Slippers

I also really like this width adjustable slipper for elderly men. The velcro strap across the top offers a lot of adjustment for swelling and deformity. It also makes it easy to take on and off - even for arthritic hands. This slipper has a little more style than some of the others with woven tartan uppers and a bit more masculine too. It has all of the important safety features I look for in a safe slipper too.

Important features:

  • Soft, flexible skid-resistant rubber sole
  • Anti-bacterial memory foam insoles
  • Generous velcro adjustment for swelling and pain
  • Indoor/outdoor use
  • 3 colors to choose from 

Wrapping It All Up

Small changes like footwear can really improve the independence and safety of elderly people and seniors. Reducing chances of falls is extremely important. Choosing safe slippers for elderly people like those above will help a lot!

It is important to get the right slippers for seniors, especially if you are giving them as a gift. The key things to look for in a safe slipper are a non-slip supporting surface, a secure velcro closure, and room for swelling and a custom fit. These features are important because they keep the slipper on the foot at all times and greatly reduce the chance of a slipper causing a fall.

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Do you have a slipper that you found works well with seniors and is also safe? Do you have any other safety recommendations for fall prevention and footwear? Please leave a comment below! Also, I'd appreciate a share with your friends if you found this helpful!

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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