Searches for slippers are on the rise and it’s the same year in, year out. 

At the start of November and early December, people are looking to buy slippers; whether it be for a Christmas present or treating themselves to something warm as the cold nights draw in and we become more inclined to stay at home.

It’s true; at this time of year, there is often nothing better than a long weekend at home, staying cosy in a comfy pair of slippers.

But, what are the benefits of wearing slippers?

Besides the obvious, there have been studies into whether wearing slippers can protect you from the common cold and flu, with Dr Ron Eccles, director of Cardiff University's Common Cold Centre, studying the issue as far back as 2006,

He believes that if the temperature of your feet drops, it can cause a change in the whole body which leads to your nose becoming cold. This then increases the likelihood of a full-blown cold developing.

On top of this, they’re comfortable and they take great steps in keeping your house clean. The shoes you wear outside can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs so not wearing them indoors means these aren’t spread to your carpets and floors at home.

However, many of these benefits are only superficial.

So, what impact do slippers have on our feet?

Well, the fact of the matter is that wearing slippers doesn’t bring many, if any, benefits to our feet. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Will Munro, Managing Director at FootActive, highlighted this, saying: “Wearing slippers gives the same concerns as wearing flip flops. However, with flip flops, you might only wear them once or twice a year for a week or two at a time but slippers are worn more long term and that’s when you might start to notice problems.

Wearing slippers can massively impact your balance and gait - the way you walk. When wearing slippers, people tend to shuffle which over time can start to cause more long-term problems.”

Slippers sat on a rug

It isn’t just the way you walk you need to think about either. Slippers could also affect your toes and ankles and, in turn, cause a great deal of discomfort long term. 

Slippers force your toes to curl down and grip onto the sole as you step as they often don’t have anything gripping to your heel to keep them in place. They also don’t offer the necessary ankle or arch support.

Will added: “With the design of most slippers and the lack of grip on the heel, they also provide more of a tripping hazard. They are more likely to come off your feet or come into contact with an obstacle which is an issue in itself.”

Slippers' primary purpose is often to keep your feet warm, but if you are wearing anything on your feet for a prolonged period of time, they also need to offer adequate support and protection - qualities slippers aren’t commonly associated with.

Many of us are guilty of walking around at home in socks or bare feet - is this any better?

In short, no.

Walking around barefoot can cause problems not only with the skin of your feet but also with the biomechanical functions of the foot. Although generations before us walked around without shoes on, our feet are arched which means, inadequate support could result in a number of different problems. 

There are a number of other issues walking around bare feet can cause, including bunions, hammertoe, and heel pain - all of which can result in additional pressure on our knees and hips, impacting the body as a whole, rather than just general foot pain.

Young boy standing on dad's feet

How can we make sure that our slippers aren’t causing lasting damage?

Slippers should be saved for a special treat - a Sunday evening when you have your feet up in front of the TV, for example, rather than as a form of footwear to wear when moving around the house regularly.

If you do insist on wearing slippers for a prolonged period then the best option is to make sure you are wearing an orthopaedic slipper with arch support, and ones that have enough grip to prevent you from slipping and tripping.

If you wear orthotic insoles or supportive shoes during the day then why would you not give your feet the same support in the evenings?

When it comes to existing foot problems, is wearing slippers a good idea?

If you are already suffering from a foot problem like plantar fasciitis, the best thing you can do is wear a proper insole in a proper shoe but that’s not always the most comfortable option, especially for times when you are relaxing around the house.

A lot of people don’t want to wear the shoes they’ve worn outside around the home so it might be worth considering a house shoe option, rather than a typical slipper.

There are certain orthopaedic slippers that are designed for people who need to take additional care of their feet.

Will explained: “When you have existing foot problems, you do have to address it and make allowances for it and one of the main ways to do that, when it comes to your slippers, is to find ones that offer that bit of extra support and are, essentially, a bit more shoe-like but with a softer lining.”

FootActive offer a range of orthotic slippers to help reduce the problems slipper wearing can bring. They feature our famous FootActive biomechanical arch support, non-slip recycled rubber outsoles and an elasticated heel to keep your slippers snug on your feet.

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