There are very few things more important than keeping an elderly person from falling. A fall will alter the overall mobility and daily life of the senior.
Consider the senior’s footwear. Many seniors like to wear
You see, as we age, our feet, ankles, knees, and body, in general, need more support. The muscles and natural cushioning of our feet, quite frankly, just wear out. (source: AARP)
But most of the slippers they got as a gift last Christmas are just not safe for use by many seniors. They may be soft and comfortable, but they do not support ankles or arches.
Here is how to buy the best slippers for elderly people that are also safe, functional, AND comfortable.
Video: How to Choose Safe and Comfortable Slippers for Seniors and the Elderly
Reviews of the Best Non-Slip Slippers for Elderly People
Based on the safety, comfort, and style factors I discuss later, here are my recommended slippers for seniors to help prevent a fall!
Orthofeet Asheville & Charlotte Orthopedic Slippers for Men & Women
These Podiatrist-approved slippers for men and women feature a roomy and wide toe box with built-in orthotic insoles. Designed to improve the ease of walking and alleviate pain on the heel and ball of the foot from numerous – and painful- foot conditions.
These are a great choice for older people who need arch support without sacrificing style.
Foot problems such as bunions, hammer toes, Morton’s Neuroma, and plantar fasciitis are common with aging.
Unfortunately, so is foot pain associated with other medical conditions like arthritis, neuropathy, flat feet, or metatarsalgia.
If you or a senior you love have any of these health conditions, take a closer look at these arch support slippers from Orthofeet – available for both men and women.
The ergonomic sole has a built-in orthotic insert with an anatomically shaped arch that provides great support for proper foot alignment for pain reduction.
It also provides great traction and is flexible enough to move with the foot while walking. This is a critical factor for seniors who have balance problems. There is even a cushioning heel insert to help reduce heel pain.
Up front, there is a wide, roomy toe box for people with swelling, hammer toes, and bunions. This gives the shoe room to move without rubbing or binding painful toes and forefeet.
Seniors with swelling or foot arch pain will appreciate the hook and loop strap closures which let them get their perfect fit. Use these straps to get as tight or loose of a fit as you need to be comfortable.
I love that there is an individual strap on each side of the slipper rather than just one long one going across the entire shoe. This increases the chances of getting the fit and feel you need.
They aren’t machine washable and will require a little more care using a suede cleaner and brush. The reviews of this slipper are incredible – 96% of reviewers gave them a 5-star review.
Orthofeet slippers are by far the best choice when you are looking for the best safe slippers for seniors and the elderly.
Adjustable Totes Acorn Spa Wrap Slipper for Women
The Spa Wrap Slipper from Acorn pampers your feet while providing both support and a flexible fit. The soft terry cloth fabric feels like velvet on the feet. But, these slippers also have a contoured footbed with an enhanced arch and heel for support and comfort.
For swollen feet, the adjustable strap offers a custom fit and makes them easy to take on/off. Machine washable.
The Acorn Spa slipper is probably THE best and safest slipper for elderly women. Plus it’s soft, comfy, and feminine-looking for those who prefer that style. There are 5 color choices and size options too for older adults who want a stylish slipper that is also safer to wear.
It checks the box for every safety criterion I talk about in the buying guide below. The soft but durable rubber sole provides both traction and support. But it isn’t so thick that it loses flexibility.
Plus, the weatherproof sole means you can use this slipper indoors and outdoors for a quick check of the mail or to let the dog out.
The areas around the foot are comforted and pampered by an ultra-soft terry cloth lining – inside and out. Terry is a breathable material too to keep your feet warm but dry. The entire slipper can be thrown in the washer for a quick cleaning too.
I love the idea of the hook and loop tab adjustable strap closure – this makes it very easy to take on and off.
It also allows the senior to get a custom feel and fit while also accommodating swelling and edema that often come with aging. If your feet swell during the day, this even allows you to adjust the fit as you go.
For added safety for seniors, this slipper also has an elastic band in the heel that holds the slipper securely on the foot at all times. That way, it is much less likely to slip off when you don’t want it to – potentially preventing a trip or fall.
Acorn makes the Spa slipper without this option too – but I highly recommend it!
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For seniors who want a high-quality slipper that can be used at home or on the go, check out these slipper shoes from German Slippers. They feature a durable 100% new wool upper with a slip-resistant outsole. The removable insole is easy to exchange with third-party ones.
For seniors who want a quality built slipper with all natural materials, check out the Taiga slipper shoes from German-Slippers WoolFit® Line.
German-Slippers is a specialty online retailer of high-quality house shoes made from fine boiled wool, sturdy wool felt, and smooth leather from Germany. They ship worldwide and you’ll get them in 3-5 days.
This slipper shoe is made of 100% wool felt with a stretchy elastic opening. So, this slipper will stay safely on your feet while also being easy to put on and remove. There are no laces to fool with either.
The thick felt insoles make these the right shoes if you prioritize comfort. How do I know? The folks over at German Slippers sent me a pair to try for myself. These insoles provide a lot of cushioning but are removable too if you need a more custom orthotic insole.
I was also a little surprised that the wool materials didn’t make my feet hot. After reading that wool helps regulate temperatures, I now understand why.
On the bottom is a slip-resistant rubber outsole for flexible, comfortable support. They can easily be worn inside or out. I love that they look a bit more like “normal” shoes but have the comfort of a slipper.
I wore them out myself on errands and didn’t feel like I was running around in slippers at all.
Wool does have some natural give, but, if you have edema or extremely swollen feet, they may not give enough. These shoes don’t offer a lot of support however and may not be best for seniors with balance problems or who are at risk for falls.
Mahabis Curve Supportive Slippers for Men and Women
Mahabis Curve slippers feature a flexible and grippy rubber sole with a luxurious Italian wool lining. They are made to be durable and easy to care for.
Plus, they have a neoprene heel cup to make sure they stay secure on your feet reducing the chance of a fall. Available in multiple colors and men’s and women’s sizing.
The Mahabis Curve slipper is a great choice for seniors who want a luxurious, supportive slipper that looks great but isn’t into frills and fluff. The curve fits this need with sleek, European styling – but with safety features that are important for older adults.
The “responsibly sourced” rubber sole is specifically designed to provide shock absorption while also gripping the floor for traction.
It is also soft and flexible which aging, aching feet will appreciate. Plus, the sole is part of the style of the slippers and comes in multiple color choices.
On the inside, the feet are cradled by luxurious and organic Italian wool. So, you get the fuzzy warmth of a slipper without the frilly appearance. The outside of the upper is a recycled wool felt leading to the sleek style. This slipper is styled for both men and women.
Finally, for foot security and fall reduction, they have a neoprene cradle that cups the heel while they are worn. This keeps the slipper on the heel during the full motion of the foot when walking.
So, it has much less chance of falling off during normal use. But, it is easy to put on and take off because it is also flexible.
These are easy to care for also – just a toss in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with an air dry is all they need.
If you have edema or swelling in your feet though, the curve doesn’t provide much stretch overall to accommodate that.
But, for seniors with mild swelling, the upper will provide mild compression which could aid circulation. Check with your doctor to see which way you should go.
Isotoner Zenz Slip-On Slipper Shoes for Men & Women
These lightweight slipper shoes are a great choice for everyday use. They are both soft and supportive and easy to care for – just throw them in the machine for a quick wash when needed! Suitable for wearing around the house or even out on a quick errand.
If you or the senior you love like super soft slippers, then take a close look at the Zenz slip-on shoe line from Isotoner. The folks over at Isotoner sent me a pair of these to try for myself so I am basing my comments here on my own personal experience.
First, these slippers are very lightweight – they claim they are 50% lighter than traditional slippers. This is a great feature for older adults who may have leg weakness, a shuffling gait or tend to not lift their foot very high while walking.
Because these slippers are extremely light, they will be easier for weakened legs to lift off the floor.
Both the sole and the inner lining are also super soft. The inside of these slip-on shoes is cushioned and covered with a plush fabric that makes them extremely comfortable to wear – even without socks.
Plus, if you expect to wear them without socks, you’ll also appreciate the breathable, moisture-wicking lining. The even softer sole will cushion soreness from plantar fasciitis or bunions.
Of course, they have my recommended safety features too: a supportive, non-slip rubber sole and full coverage on the heel. Because they are more of a slipper shoe, they can be used as an indoor or outdoor slipper.
If they get dirty, just throw them in the machine on cool and let them air dry! They do run a bit snug, so go up a size if you wear half sizes or like thick socks.
Foamtreads Physician Slippers for Men and Women
These cool weather slippers for men and women feature genuine wool uppers to keep your feet toasty warm. Adjustable closures at the heel and instep allow you to vary the fit. Lots of padding on the inside cushions painful feet. Slip-resistant rubber outsole.
These slippers have lots of the comfort features I’ve discussed above like the wool uppers and a soft foam supportive insole so they will be comfortable to wear.
These are a great choice to get you safely through the cold winter months because of the warmth the genuine wool uppers provide.
They also have the flexible rubber sole I recommend for traction and flexibility when walking.
The most important thing though is the hook and loop closure straps. There are two of them: one across the top and one on the heel. That makes these adaptive shoes 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 were more color choices though – there are only 2 (charcoal and black!) But if safe, functional, warm, and cozy are what you are looking for – this is it.
Acorn Fleece-Lined Rambler Mule Moccasins for Men
The Acorn Men’s Rambler Mule Slipper combines comfort and support for senior men. The slip-resistant indoor/outdoor sole is flexible and supportive.
Inside, your bare feet will be comforted by 100% wool fleece. Removable contoured footbeds can be traded for your custom insoles. Machine washable too!
I think this is the best and safest slipper for elderly men that you can buy.
These masculine slippers for senior men are comfortable, supportive, and – I think – look great!
The uppers are a tweed and suede blend with 100% wool fleece lining. Super soft and comfortable especially for men who don’t like wearing slipper socks because of swollen feet.
There is a small elastic opening to make them easier to take on and off. but they won’t be elastic enough to accommodate a lot of swelling.
The outsole is supportive but flexible rubber for slip resistance. It is suitable for use indoors and outside to.
The footrest is well-contoured with a heel cup to support the heel. It is removable is you need to use a custom insole.
Plus, these slippers are machine washable in cold water – just let them air dry.
Acorn Woven Trim Moccasins for Women
This women’s premium moccasin slipper features soft fuzzy fabric and clean lines. Closed back for heel security and indoor/outdoor use. The design is highlighted by the woven trim sidewall and suede binding. Memory foam footbed for support and comfort.
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 styles like these are not a good idea for elderly people.
This one does have a slip-resistant rubber sole and a super soft wool fleece lining for comfort. It’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
These Acorn Moccasins will be safe for most elderly who just need traction and support. However, I would not recommend them for someone with toe deformities or excessive swelling because there is no adjustment on them.
Minnetonka Twin Gore Supportive Slippers for Men
This water-resistant shoe will keep your feet toasty warm and desert dry. The rugged sole provides traction and support and is ready for wherever your cool weather adventures take you. Two colors available.
These slip-on slipper shoes are easy to put on and very comfortable to wear. There are no laces or velcro straps to mess with either You just stretch the opening and slip your foot right in.
But, if you have much swelling in your feet, you’ll want to choose one of the other slippers here with velcro closures.
They do have a slip-resistant rubber outsole with heel support. The inside is a synthetic wool that is easy to clean and maintain.
You also get your choice of different colors and a wide range of sizes.
Silverts Extra Wide Slippers for Swollen Feet
These extra wide adjustable slippers feature Easy Touch Closures and memory foam insoles for the ultimate in comfort! Anti-bacterial to control odor and stains too. Terrific for those with arthritis, lowered hand dexterity & people with diabetes.
While these may not be the most stylish gift, they are the most versatile and one of the best slippers for problems.
They’re made for swollen feet with a wide-mouth design. The 3 adjustable velcro straps around the toe and top of the foot let you adjust the shoe to your unique fit, even if your needs change from day to day.
These adjustable slippers for seniors also have a non-slip bottom made out of dual-density rubber to reduce the chance of a fall from slipping. There is even added support in the heel for extra flexibility and stability.
You’ll enjoy wearing these too because of the memory foam insole for personalized comfort.
I really like these width-adjustable slippers for elderly men and women with swollen, painful feet.
The Varomed slipper offers roomy comfort with lots of adjustment and can be opened almost completely. Stable heel cup and extra wide tread for support. The pure new wool lining is plush and soft. This is a great slipper for problem, painful feet.
These soft, fuzzy, luxurious slippers are also from German-Slippers that I talked about above. They were designed specifically to comfort painful feet including bunions.
The uppers are soft velour knapped leather that is water, oil, and dirt repellant. Plus is breathable and weather resistant too.
There are 2 hook and loop fasteners for a custom fit and that also allow the shoe to open up all the way down to the toes. This makes them very easy to take on and off. The lining inside is pure new wool for the ultimate soft comfort.
On the bottom is an extra wide slip-resistant outsole for improved support and safety while walking. These can be worn indoors and outdoors too.
It’s important to note that these shoes cannot be machine-washed due to the new wool lining.
These affordable, lightweight slippers are made of cotton blend materials, cotton lining and a cloud-like memory foam insole. Anti-slip and wear-resistant rubber sole for indoor, outdoor wear.
These slippers are a nice combination of the two above, with the luxurious plush material inside and the terry cloth-cotton blend outside for added durability.
Their rubber sole also has the advantage of being quieter than most others, as sometimes the rubber can squeak on certain floors. This slipper was designed to get rid of that problem, but
They have a large, open mouth and ankle support, they’re machine washable, and they come in grey and pink.
The only downside to these is their limited size selection, so see if they have a size that works for you, and remember to round up if you typically wear a half-size.
While they aren’t the best slippers for older adults out there, they are good slippers for an older person who is at low risk for falls.
Slippers vs. House Shoes – Is There a Difference?
The slipper designs we are talking about here go by all kinds of names: slippers, house shoes, house slippers, moccasins, etc. But, is there really a difference between all these types of shoes?
For the purpose of this guide, no. All these terms refer to softer, more comfortable shoes that are primarily worn indoors. They are worn for comfort and warmth and to give better traction when inside the house.
Adequate house shoes are a very important staple for many senior citizens. They provide comfort and support while keeping them safe from dangerous slips and can reduce the risk of falls. This is a big problem if it happens while they are home alone.
Why Do Seniors Like Slippers and House Shoes?
Simplicity and Comfort
Seniors also like their lives to be simple. Slippers are easy to take on and off. They are much more comfortable than a dress shoe or even an athletic shoe. Slippers are just easier for them to manage on a day-to-day basis – especially around the house.
Also, many seniors and elderly people have significant pain in their feet due to many different diagnoses.
- Diabetes can cause painful sores and shooting nerve pain in the legs and feet.
- Bunions, calluses, and hammertoes (big toes) are very common health issues for many older folks.
- Arthritis and gout cause joints to swell and become painful.
- Even the heels can hurt from heel spurs and plantar fasciitis.
Marian Hannan, Harvard Medical School (source: Arthritis Foundation)
“The right shoe can reduce or eliminate foot pain, which has a huge impact on the body’s function and mobility”
The proper footwear for seniors and the elderly should try to help ease the pain and accommodate any swelling.
And, let’s face it, slippers are often more comforting than other types of shoes.
Should Seniors Wear Slippers Though?
Sure! As long as they choose a pair that is safe and doesn’t increase the chance of them falling.
Read on to see some important safety factors you should consider while shopping.
How to Choose a Safe Slipper
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 several important things that should be considered.
Here is a rundown of the necessary safety features and important factors to consider when buying slippers.
Textured Rubber Non-Slip Soles
Perhaps most importantly, a non-slip bottom on your slippers is absolutely necessary. This is a crucial factor if you are looking for the safest slippers.
A slip-resistant sole with a pattern to give you extra grip is very important in the search for the perfect slipper for seniors. This will not only provide safety and security, but also extra support and comfort for the heel, ankle, and knees.
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 destabilize the ankle and feel like walking on a high heel.
Soft and Comfortable Insole
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 with an insole of a soft, cushioning material like cotton, memory foam, or other soft linings. This is especially important in the area in contact with the foot itself called the insole.
Watch out for unknown materials like faux fur or other synthetic materials that may end up shedding all over your house (and feet). Stick with the materials you know work well with your feet.
Quick, Adjustable Hook and Loop Closures
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 fall hazard. Velcro is the best option for an easy-to-use and also safe slipper clasp. (source: WebMD)
Velcro fasteners are the easiest material for seniors to work with if they cannot bend over and tie shoes or struggle with other types of fastening materials. Adjustable straps ensure that the slippers will stay on for as long as you need.
There are other reasons adjustable closures are better for seniors.
- They allow for a more custom fit to the slipper. The wearer can adjust them as tight or as loose as they want to get the right fit.
- Velcro closure allows for swelling. If the senior
experiencesa lot of swelling in their feet, the slipper can be loosened so that it isn’t too tight.
- Adjustments are possible to accommodate painful, arthritic joints and even hammertoe.
Style and Design
The style and how snugly the slippers fit are also very important.
Slippers come in different styles that fit the foot differently.
- For example, some slippers wrap around the foot tightly 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. General “house shoes” without heel support are inappropriate footwear for many older adults.
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.
Stay away from the slip-on style of slippers. Instead, find some that have support around the ankle, but have a very wide opening at the mouth so that you can still easily put them on. This added support will make them more comfortable, and safer in general.
You also should stay away from slippers that have high heels. A slipper with a low heel is a good choice but no heel is best.
The slipper should not be heavy either.
Heavy slippers may 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.
Then again, 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.
Get the proper size of slipper to keep the senior as safe as possible.
Slippers that are too tight will cut off circulation, aggravate vascular or skin conditions, and increase pain in swollen arthritic foot 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.
Roomy Toe Box
You’ll likely also want extra space at the toes (called the toe box) to accommodate any medical conditions in that area. This can be a very sensitive area of the foot that deserves extra attention and comfort, so see if you can find slippers with an extra large toe box.
Extra wide sizing overall can also help with this issue, as well as any swelling in the feet or ankles. If any of these are a concern for you, find large sizing options for your slippers.
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.
But, this doesn’t mean they have to be clunky. There are several styles that are also soft, comfortable and even luxurious.
If you are going to shop for shoes in person, check out this helpful shoe shopping guide from Harvard Health Publishing.
Tell me about your favorite pair of slippers in the comments below. Do your slippers have the safety features above?
Also, I would appreciate a social share if you found this article helpful!