The Complete Guide to Slip-on Shoes

What you need to know about loafers, boat shoes, driving shoes, slippers, and Vans—and how to build an outfit for each.
See also our slideshow of the latest slippers.

May 17, 2012

It makes sense that men would like slip-ons: Why fumble with laces, straps, and zippers when you can just slip your foot in and get on with life? Not surprisingly, laceless shoes have been around for centuries. Native American moccasins predate Columbus' discovery of America. But the genre of footwear has evolved considerably, and they're not just for casual occasions, either. Here are the five classic brands associated with each style—driving shoes, boat shoes, loafers, Vans, and slippers—and how to wear them. One tip is consistent: Lose the socks.


Also known as house shoes, these are often made of comfortable materials (like cotton and faux fur) when worn casually. When accompanying a traditional tuxedo, they are usually made of velvet or patent leather with a rounded toe. Stubbs & Wootton (pictured) introduced its version in 1993, but designer Percy Steinhart was actually riffing off a type of old English slip-on (hand-made needlepoint slippers) worn by men who needed dedicated shoes when transitioning from the muddy streets to their homes.

Best worn with: a shawl-collar tuxedo and a bow tie.

Photos courtesy of each manufacturer.
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