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 elder’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.
So, where would you like to start?
Video: How to Choose Safe and Comfortable Slippers for Seniors and the Elderly
Quick Picks: The Best Slippers for Seniors and the Elderly
If you are in a hurry or just want to see my recommendations, here they are. Keep scrolling to learn why I chose these and how to buy safe slippers for yourself.
Slippers vs. House Shoes – Is There a Difference?
The type of shoes 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 falls. This is a big problem if it happens while they are home alone.
Why do Seniors Like to Wear 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 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.
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 footwear the senior wears 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 are safe and don’t increase the chance of them falling.
Read on to see some factors you should consider while shopping for house shoes and slippers for seniors.
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 other factors that should be considered. Here is a rundown of the necessary safety features of slippers.
Non-Slip, Textured Rubber Outsole
Perhaps most importantly, a non-slip bottom on your slippers is absolutely necessary.
A rubber outsole 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.
Read about my favorite orthotic inserts in this guide.
Quick, Adjustable Velcro 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. Velcro straps ensure that the slippers will stay on for as long as you need.
There are other reasons velcro 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.
- A 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 is 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. 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.
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 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.
Roomy Toe Box
You’ll likely also want extra space at the toes (called the toe box) to accommodate any medical issues 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.
Best Slippers for Elderly Women
Based on the safety factors above, here are my recommendations for the best house shoes for elderly women… and the safest ones too!
ACORN Women's Spa Wrap, Powder Blue, Large / 8-9
1 used from $ 10.81
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 allows 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.
- 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
Women's Wide Adjustable Diabetic Shoes Orthopedic Slippers, Breathable House Shoes for Pregnant, Elderly People, Edema, Swollen Feet Burgundy
$27.98 in stock
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.
- 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
Acorn Women's Boiled Wool Edelweiss Slipper Moccasin Turquoise 6 M US
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.
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.
- 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
Clinic Women’s Wide Width Slippers - Comfort Terry Cloth Rubber Sole - Medium - Navy Blue
$21.98 in stock
These more traditional house shoes are made out of a terry cloth cotton blend. They have more of an indoor/outdoor capability than the above slippers because of this material (the plush material of ACORN’s could easily get damaged outside).
However, they have a similar good grip rubber sole that keeps you safe from sliding on any surface.
They also have the advantage of a velcro fastener across the top of the shoe to adjust to any size you may need – which is perfect if your feet tend to swell.
ChicNChic Women Plush House Slippers Ladies Non Slip Indoor Winter Bedroom Shoes (7-8 B(M) US, Grey)
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.
Woman’s Memory Foam Comfortable Slippers Extra Wide-Machine-Washable-Slip-On Adjustable Closure Lightweight Antimicrobial (8) Navy Blue
While these may not be the most stylish of house shoes, they are the most versatile and the one of the best slippers for problem feet.
They’re made for swollen feet with a wide mouth design. The 3 adjustable velcro straps around the toe and top of the foot lets 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.
Best Slippers for an Elderly Man
Elderly men need safe non-slip slippers too! Here are my recommendations for best slippers for the elderly man in your life
Isotoner Men's Microterry Slip On Slippers, Navy Medium / 8-9 US
$18.99 in stock
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.
- 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 Mens Doctor Boa Slipper, Grey, Size 8.5
$49.59 in stock
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 insole so they will be comfortable to wear.
The most important thing though is 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.
- 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 - Swollen Feet - Adjustable Closure - Diabetic & Edema - Steel 8
I also really like these width adjustable slippers for elderly men with swollen, painful feet.
The velcro strap across the top offers a lot of adjustment for the relief of swelling and pain and even toe 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. They are a bit more masculine too.
Most important though, these slippers have all of the important safety features I recommend.
- 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
Acorn Men's Moc, Charcoal, Small / 7.5-8.5
$33.50 in stock
How about wearing the same non-slip slippers as NASA astronauts? With the Acorn Men’s Moc Slippers you can! The manufacturer claims to have provided slippers to the NASA shuttle missions.
They also have most of my suggested safety features like a firm rubber skid resistant outsole and a super soft moisture-wicking lining. The side walls are made of durable suede.
These slippers will last a long time and can be used inside and outside. Machine washable too for easy maintenance.
These house shoes for men come in a huge choice of fabrics and colors for a wide selection to suit most tastes.
Slippers International Men's 400P Slipper,Charcoal,10 M
$32.12 in stock
These slip-on house shoes are easy to put on and very comfortable to wear. There are no laces or velcro straps to mess wit. 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 the 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 5 different colors and a wide range of sizes.
ABSOLUTE FOOTWEAR Mens Orthopaedic/Extra Wide Fit Adjustable Slipper Boot/Slippers - Grey - 11 US
I really like these for people who are looking for adjustable slippers for elderly loved ones that also need a wide slipper.
These orthopedic slippers have wide velcro straps at both the toe and heel to adjust for foot swelling and arthritic pain.
The outsole is made of slip-resistant rubber and the interior is super comfortable, soft and durable microsuede.
A slipper like this allows for an extra wide, custom fit – especially for painful, problematic feet.
These slippers do have a small heel to them, so some men may not like that.
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 and house shoes 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 house shoes 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!