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Flip Flops vs Slippers

Flip flops are perfect for going to public showers, such as those in a hostel or a public pool, walking on the beach, or walking through muddy areas. Slippers, however, are soft shoes designed to keep your feet toasty in chilly weather. Flip flops or slippers: which is better?

White flip flop and white slipper in comparison.

Before I became a diabetic, I wore fun things like heels, slides, flip flops, sandals, and all the types in between. It’s just not summer without flip flops, is it? Nothing against Nike, you understand, but sneakers worn in the ocean or in the water park don’t dry fast enough.

On the same note, it’s just not winter without slippers. Warm toes snuggling into soft fuzzy slippers is so satisfying. Especially when the slippers resemble a warm, fuzzy bear or, like mine, Lamb Chop. Which is better, flip flops or slippers? 

Related: Flip Flops vs Slides

Flip Flops

For those who have never worn flip flops (both of you,) you might want to know what they are, what they’re made of, and why people wear them. 

What Are Flip Flops?

All blue flip flop in a blue and yellow background.

If you watch one of Simcha Jacobovici’s The Naked Archaeologist shows, you’ll notice in the Egyptian hieroglyphics that people are wearing flip flops. That’s how far back the footwear goes. We don’t know what they were called back then, but there’s a reason they’re called flip flops today.

Onomatopoeia means that something is named for the sound it makes. Zippers, for instance, are called that due to the sound they make. Buzz and beep are good examples as well. So flip flops slapping against the foot sound like the words they describe.

A flip flop is a light sandal made of plastic or rubber with a Y-shaped thong between the big and second toes. The shoe is not secured to the foot by straps like sandals. Flip flops are ideal for wearing to public showers such as those in a dorm or a public swimming pool, walking on a beach, or walking in muddy surroundings.

Are Slides Flip Flops?

Slides are not flip flops, nor are they considered slippers. Slides are made of various materials, mostly rubber or plastic, and are secured to the foot by a strap across the top of the foot. There’s no Y-shaped thong, nor a strap securing the shoe to the ankle. Thus, slides belong to the sandal family.

Design Features Of Flip Flops

Since the footwear is such a simple piece of work, the only real design feature is to embellish the Y-shaped thong. This is done in a variety of ways by adding:

    • Fur

    • Fake jewels and rhinestones

    • Glitter

    • Flowers

    • Braid

    • Beads or pearls

    • Bows

    • Ruffles

    • Seashells

    • Pennies

One other design feature of flip flops is their height. I’ve seen flip flops that rivaled Elton John’s shoes in his concerts, but most people wear them flat. There are also flip flops of every color to match your mood.

Durability Of Flip Flops

Woman's feet wearing violet polka dots flip flops.

Our shoes take a lot of punishment, so they need to be well built in order to last. Flip flops are made to shield the foot from the hot pavement of August, the hot sand at the beach, and the marine life living in the ocean. They aren’t made to last. Maybe that’s why they only cost a dollar or so in dollar stores, department stores, and gift shops.

Benefits Of Flip Flops

Everyone says that flip flops are bad for the feet. For some types of foot, that could be true, but it’s certainly not true of every flip flop: 

    • Flip flops are now made with arch support
    • Flip flops are made with a rocker sole for those with plantar fasciitis

    •  Flip flops are now being made firmer for better support of the joints and lower back

Short History Of Flip Flops

The footwear goes back to 4,000 BCE in Egypt, where the rulers and the elite wore flip flops constructed of papyrus and reeds. Africans wore animal hides fashioned into flip flops. Asians wore flip flops made of rice straw. It’s the Greeks and the Roman soldiers we have to thank, though, for showing us how to wear a leather flip flop with the Y-strap as well as placing said strap between the big and second toes.

Speaking of soldiers, it was the WWII soldier returning from Asia who brought rice straw flip flops home. Americans wanted more of them, so they became the newest big boom in the 1950s. In the 60s, everyone had them, and they are still beloved today.


Women wearing snow flake design slipper with a cute kitten beside.

Denizens of warm areas of the country might not have slippers or need them, but some might want to know more about the cute things they see on Amazon.

What Are Slippers?

Slippers are soft shoes meant to be worn to keep the feet warm in cold climes. They’re made from leather, suede, plastic foam, or rubber with uppers made from fur to lamb’s wool to shearling to velvet and more. They’re not meant to be worn outdoors because they’ll get wet and the bottoms get holes.

Design Features Of Slippers

Slippers with different colors, styles, and designs.

There are dozens of types of slippers, from ballet slippers to knitted booties. We’ll be addressing house slippers here, though, to keep it all in perspective:

    • Slide-on slippers

    • Slipper booties

    • Moccasin slippers

    • Ankle slippers, often lined with lamb’s wool or shearling

    • Slipper socks, often knitted and with a soft sole, they’re great for not hurting oneself on hardwood floors or tile

    • Arch support slippers

    • Novelty slippers such as:

**Animal faces with ears

**Animal paws

**Cartoon characters

**Slippers shaped like food (a slice of pizza, for example)

**Slippers made to look like a snowman or a penguin

**Slippers made to look like sneakers

Related: Are Ugg Slippers Comfortable?

Durability of Slippers

Even if you don’t wear them out to get the mail, slippers will wear out. They’re not made of rubber or plastic, so the soft foam will eventually get holes. How long it takes is up to the wearer and how much the wearer walks in them.

Benefits of Slippers

Women wearing pink slipper and white socks comfortably.

Toasty warm toes aren’t the only advantage of wearing slippers:

    • Bacteria and fungus. This is coming from someone trying to get rid of the stuff on my own toenails, so listen up: slippers protect your feet from the bacteria and fungus you can’t see on your floors

    • Immune system. Warmth keeps the blood flowing, which helps the immune system battle incoming bad guys. Cold feet restrict blood flow, which isn’t good for the immune system. Wear those slippers, and you’ll have fewer illnesses.

    • Protect yourself. Socks are slick, especially on wood and tile floors. Slippers prevent falls and their expensive repairs.

    • Productivity. It’s a statistical fact that some things, like music and comfort, increase productivity. Now, I’m not saying wear your slippers to the office, but if you’re a home worker, then slap ‘em on. Crank up the tunes, and you’ll be so comfortable you’ll write the sequel to your favorite book.

Short History Of Slippers

Some historians date the slipper to 4700 BCE China, where they were worn by royalty. Archaeological discoveries have found Roman-era people, around 200 CE, buried wearing their slippers. They’ve been attributed to the Vietnamese, the Spanish, and the English, as well as native Americans as far back as the 13th century.

Final Thoughts

I prefer flip flops over slippers because it’s all about freedom. We wear dress shoes to work, sneakers for playing, and slippers for warmth. Flip flops let the fresh air and sun get to feet hungry for freedom.