A lot of people often get confused about these titans of footwear. Slides vs crocs vs slippers – what’s the difference?
Slides, crocs and slippers are three distinct shoe types. Slides are a type of single strap sandal, crocs are a type of modern foam clog, and slippers are indoor-only house shoes that prioritise comfort over aesthetics.
That’s the answer in a nutshell.
But let’s discuss the key features and differences between these 3 different shoe types in more detail.
Slides: Key Features
Slides are types of sandals that have an open toe and are backless, making them easy to slide on and off.
Here’s an example on Amazon.
Unlike the more traditional sandal style however, they do not have an ankle strap.
They usually have a single strap across the toes which holds the shoe to the foot. This strap is usually quite wide meaning that your forefoot has some room to breathe.
Slides are typically made of rubber, making them water-resistant and therefore a great option for summertime or for wearing on the beach.
They usually have a thick sole with an in-built arch which gives some arch support for your feet.
The sole is also usually slightly thicker towards the heel, meaning that your foot isn’t completely flat against the ground and may be more comfortable to walk in.
The sole tends to be harder compared with the standard flip flop, which often has a foam sole. This means that slides can be more resistant to wear on rockier or uneven terrains compared with the usual flip flop.
Slides come in many different designs and colors to suit most people’s preferences. They are mostly worn in casual settings and aren’t suitable for formal events.
You may sometimes hear them be referred to as sliders – this is essentially the same thing.
Crocs: Key Features
Crocs are a type of clog that are made of foam instead of the traditional wooden clogs. Crocs are very lightweight, made of water-resistant material, and have swiss-cheese-like holes in the forefoot making them breathable and suitable for use as beach footwear.
The term “crocs” comes from the company which manufactures and markets this type of shoe.
Here’s an example you can check out on Amazon:
They have a closed-toe design, with a strap at the back of the shoe which can be worn at the back of the ankle to secure the shoe in place, or pushed out of the way so that it isn’t used functionally.
The closed-toe design offers some protection for the toes from the elements.
Crocs also come in an array of different colors and even patterns, so that they can be individualized to the wearer’s taste.
They do have a thicker sole than the standard flip flop, which means they can be worn on rougher terrain whilst maintaining some comfort, and they also offer some arch support.
Because they have a slip-resistant sole, this makes them especially good for use in situations where there is a possibility of walking over wet floors, such as at the beach in summer, or for boating.
They again fall into the casual category of shoe wear and are only suitable for casual settings.
Although they do tend to be a ‘love-it or hate-it type of shoe due to their distinct design, their comfort and practicality mean that they remain a very popular shoe choice.
Slippers: Key Features
The term ‘slippers’ can cause a lot of confusion, as in different places this term can refer to different types of footwear.
In some parts of the world, when people say slippers they actually mean flip flops, which are a type of sandal with a Y-shaped strap that sits between the 1st and 2nd toes and is typically worn as beachwear.
However, more commonly the term ‘slippers’ refers to light shoes that are typically worn only indoors in someone’s own house.
Here’s an example on Amazon:
The term doesn’t really define the exact shape or style of the shoe, but more describes its function, which is to warm the feet and provide comfort at home whilst also protecting floors.
Hence, you can see where the confusion comes from, as some people may choose to wear sliders as slippers. Strictly speaking, however, they are not exactly the same thing, as sliders are usually made of a firm material such as rubber.
Slippers tend to be made of soft material and can be open or close-toed. They are not waterproof and don’t have a firm sole so are not suitable for use outdoors.
They often have a soft fluffy inner lining to add comfort, and can come in many different colors and designs. It is possible to get moccasin-shaped slippers, ballet pump-shaped slippers, and boot-style slippers.
In certain parts of the world, it is very common to wear slippers indoors, and their function is usually regarded as more important than their aesthetic.
Slides Vs Crocs
The main difference between slides and crocs is that crocs are closed-toe shoes and slides are always open-toe shoes. Crocs also have an optional ankle strap and tend to be lighter in weight than slides.
Let’s break this down.
Here I’ll list the main differences between slides and crocs.
1. Open-Toe Vs Closed-Toe
One of the main differences between slides and crocs is that slides are open-toe shoes, and crocs have a closed-toe design.
Crocs, therefore, offer more protection to your toes than sliders do.
Neither will fully protect your feet from water as slides are open-toe and crocs have small holes as part of the design, but you don’t need to worry about getting either of these shoes wet as the material is water-resistant.
2. Crocs Have An Ankle Strap
Crocs have an ankle strap which can be used optionally as part of their design, whereas slides only have a single wide strap at the front of the shoe but no ankle strap.
The ankle strap in crocs can be used to hold the shoe on the ankle more securely, which can be useful over rougher terrain where more ankle movement is likely.
Despite the ankle strap, crocs are easy to slip on and off like slides, because the ankle strap can be moved out of the way.
3. Crocs Are Lighter Than Slides
Crocs are made of a foam-type material which gives them their lightness, whereas sliders tend to be made of heavier rubber material.
Therefore slides are overall slightly heavier than crocs to wear.
Some people may therefore prefer to wear crocs over a longer period of time as they are easy to walk with due to their lightness, whereas others prefer the feel of wearing slides which have a bit of weight.
How To Choose
Now that we’ve discussed the main differences between slides and crocs, there are certain factors to consider when deciding when to choose one over the other.
Let’s go through these here.
1. Foot Protection
If you think you need some protection for your toes where you’re going, then it’s best to choose crocs over slides.
Because they are closed-toe shoes, they simply offer more protection for your feet than slides do.
So for situations where you think there’s a chance that something might fall on your feet or if you need some more coverage, then you’re better off choosing crocs over slides.
2. Uneven Terrain
Although neither crocs nor slides are optimal walking shoes, if you are potentially walking somewhere where the ground is a little uneven, it is generally better to choose crocs over slides.
This is because crocs have that optional ankle strap that can give you some more ankle support, which will help when walking over uneven terrain.
Additionally, the larger area of coverage over the forefoot that crocs have means you’re likely to feel slightly more steady wearing crocs compared with wearing slides when walking on an uneven surface.
3. Length Of Wear
Although both shoe types are designed with comfort in mind, how long you will be wearing them will factor into your shoe choice.
If you think you will be wearing your shoes potentially all day without a break, it is probably better to choose crocs over slides.
This is because crocs are more lightweight than slides, so may be easier to wear and walk around in for longer periods of time.
Slides, although also comfortable, may be less practical to wear nonstop throughout the day due to their heavier weight and reduced coverage.
4. You’re Going To The Beach
When choosing footwear to go to the beach, you want shoes that are going to keep your feet cool, be water-resistant, and also that are easy to clean the sand off of.
Both crocs and slides cover pretty much all of these criteria, and both can be used as beach shoes.
If push comes to shove, slides may be slightly more suitable for the beach compared with crocs. This is because their simple shape means that sand is less likely to get stuck in any crevices, and hence they are easier to clean.
Crocs, on the other hand, often have perforated holes, as well as a heel strap that attaches to the main part of the shoe. This makes it easier for dirt and sand to get embedded within the shoe and therefore slightly more difficult to wash off.
So overall, slides may be slightly more practical than crocs as beachwear.
5. Arch Support
When it comes to choosing between crocs and slides for arch support, the good news is that both of these shoe types offer this feature.
Both crocs and slides have an inbuilt raised arch on the sole so that some arch support is given, so choosing either of these shoes for this purpose is suitable.
Slides Vs Slippers
The main difference between slides and slippers is that slippers are usually made for indoor wear only, whereas slides can be worn both indoors and outdoors. Slides are also usually made from rubber, while slippers are usually made from soft fabrics that aren’t usually water-resistant.
This is the main difference, but let’s go through some of the other differences that are worth mentioning too.
Here I’ll list the main differences between slides and slippers.
1. Indoor Vs Outdoor
As I mentioned, the biggest difference between slides and slippers is that slides can be used as both outdoor and indoor footwear, whereas slippers are solely used for indoor wear.
This functional difference between the two shoe types can sometimes get blurred, because in warmer countries people may opt to use slides as slippers.
Additionally, you can get slide-style slippers, which are essentially shoes shaped like slides but made of soft, fluffy material and are meant for indoor use.
However, as a general rule, there is the option of using slides outdoors, however, slippers are only suitable for indoor use.
Another big difference between slides and slippers is the material they are made in.
Slides tend to be made in water-resistant rubber, and are therefore useful for use as an outdoor summer shoe.
Slippers on the other hand, although they can come in a range of materials, are typically made in a soft fabric, often with a fluffy or faux-fur lining that is definitely not water-resistant.
This is because they are designed specifically for indoor use, where waterproofing is not required, and comfort is the main objective.
Because slippers prioritize function over aesthetics, they tend to focus less on the style aspect compared with slides.
Despite this, you can find slippers in more versatile styles compared with slides, as they come in many different shapes and colors. However, as they are intended for indoor use only, people tend to worry less about what they look like.
Slides on the other hand, although they come in many different colors, have the same overall design shape.
However, they pay more attention to the aesthetic and fashion element than slippers do, as they are often worn outdoors and hence this aspect of the shoe becomes more important.
How To Choose
So, those are the main differences between these two shoe types.
But what factors should you consider when choosing between slides and slippers?
Let’s discuss the main ones here.
1. Indoor Vs Outdoor
When choosing between slides and slippers, it’s important to ask yourself where you will be wearing these shoes.
If you want indoor shoes, both slides and slippers may be an option.
However, if you need an outdoor summer shoe, then slides are the obvious choice, as slippers shouldn’t be worn outside in any circumstances.
When choosing between slides and slippers for indoor use, consider how warm it is where you live.
For colder months or colder regions, slippers are likely to be better given that they can come in closed-toe or boot form, and usually have a warm or fluffy inner lining.
For warmer regions, you may prefer to use slides as indoor shoes.
This is the most important factor to consider when deciding whether to choose slippers or slides.
2. Water Resistance
As slippers are made of a non-water resistant soft fabric, they would not be suitable for any situation where there is a potential for them to get wet.
This would simply soak through the slipper and lead to the fabric getting ruined.
As a result, if you need a water-resistant shoe, it’s best to choose slides over slippers. After all, most people wouldn’t expect their indoor shoes to get wet.
This is why slides make good beach shoes – because they are water-resistant and can be rinsed off at the end of the day and left to dry.
3. Arch Support
If you’re looking for an indoor shoe with some arch support, then slides may be the best option.
This is because normal fabric slippers do not usually have as much of a supportive arch as slides do, but instead tend to be completely flat with a padded or fluffy inner lining.
Slides, on the other hand, have an inbuilt arch as standard.
This is one of the reasons why some people prefer to use slides as slippers inside their house, as it offers some more arch support compared with standard slippers.
This is one of the factors to consider when deciding between these two shoe types.
4. Fashion Accessory
One last factor to mention that you may want to consider is whether or not you are purchasing your footwear to enhance an outfit or to act as a fashion accessory.
If the answer is yes, then slides are probably the best option for you.
This is because as well as being functional, they are seen as fashionable, and can be worn outdoors and hence be properly shown off.
Slippers, however, as they are only worn indoors, won’t be visible to most people and hence have less worth as a fashion accessory.
Also, manufacturers of slippers tend to have comfort in mind over style, so the designs are less likely to be up to date with the latest trends.
Although neither of these shoes is in any way suitable for sportswear, people who play sports often like to have a change of shoes that they can slip into after changing out of their sports gear.
If you are looking for a shoe for this purpose, slides are the best option.
This is simply because they are easy to slip on, are water-resistant and comfortable, and can be worn with or without socks.
Many sports players or athletes use slides for this very reason.
Slippers, however, being indoor-only shoes, are not suitable for this purpose.
So there you have it; the main differences between slides, crocs, and slippers, and the factors you may want to consider when choosing between purchasing these different shoe types.
Hopefully, I’ve shed a little light on this often confusing shoe terminology and telling these different shoes apart.