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You’d expect that the shift to remote working during the pandemic has been good for our feet, as we’ve traded in high heels and stiff loafers for cozy socks. But not so fast, podiatrists say—especially if you don’t have carpet in your house.
“Walking around in socks or barefooted on hardwood floors can cause a variety of foot issues due to lack of support, cushion and shock absorption,” says Ashley Lee, D.P.M., FACFAS, a foot and ankle reconstructive surgeon at Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists near Chicago. She adds that in spring 2020, when the world first locked down, she saw a huge influx in people complaining of various foot pains. “Women were surprised that they went to work for years in heels and other dress shoes,” she says, “but now that they are home barefoot, they started to have so many foot problems.”
If you have pain after shuffling around indoors all day, without proper padding to support your foot, you may be experiencing problems such as metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot), plantar fasciitis (arch and/or heel pain), neuromas, stress fractures, tendinitis (including Achilles tendinitis) and ankle instability or pain. Walking barefoot can cause pain and inflammation over time due to lack of support and the slow atrophy of the fat pads on the bottom of your feet that function as shock absorbers, says Jackie Sutera, D.P.M., FAFCAS, a board-certified doctor of podiatric medicine and surgery in New York.
You might feel foot pain simply reading through that list—and as we all know, when your feet hurt, it’s hard to think about anything else, let alone stay active and exercise. The good news: You can remedy most of these problems caused by going barefoot all day simply by putting on some shoes.
It doesn’t have to be the same pairs you wear out and about, though; and in fact, there’s a yuck factor with wearing outdoor shoes inside your house, says Sutera. That’s where “house shoes” come in. Wearing slippers or sneakers at home (that you only wear inside) is an easy way to cushion your feet and protect those precious fat pads while also helping to keep your toes warm during the colder months. Look for house shoes with arch support, proper cushioning and shock absorption, and replace them if they show signs of wear—or after about a year of use. Read on for two podiatrists’ top recommendations for house shoes.
The Best House Shoes with Arch Support, According to Podiatrists
Vionic Relax Slippers
The arch support thanks to a built-in orthotic footbed makes these cozy terrycloth kicks way more functional (and better for your feet) than the typical slipper. Sutera loves that they’re adjustable, have an indoor/outdoor sole and come in 12 fun colors.
– 69.95 Available at Vionic
OrthoFeet Charlotte Slippers
OK, so they’re not the most attractive slipper you’ve ever seen — but when it comes to support, this favorite of Sutera’s is in a class all its own. Orthotic insoles provide anatomical arch support that helps to relieve foot pain and plantar fasciitis, while the faux-fur interior (in black or brown) is extra warm against cold floors.
Available at Amazon
Among the most affordable slippers chosen by podiatrists, this simple shoe has an easy slip-on style yet is ultra-supportive and plush. It comes in seven colors and has a footbed that adapts to your unique foot shape over time for a perfect fit.
Available at Amazon
Dearforms Fireside Slide
A little glamour never hurt anyone. Add a punch of style to your Zoom outfits by slipping into a pair of these budget-friendly shearling slippers, which feel luxurious thanks to Australian sheepskin. Available in go-with-everything black or white, they have a slip-resistant outsole perfect for busy days inside the house.
– 39.95 Available at Dearforms
If you’re looking for an athletic-style house shoe, this slip-on pair will do the trick. Available in 23 colors, the laceless design is easy to slip on, and the snug fit has a sock-like feel—except they’re infinitely more supportive than socks, thanks to a “cloudfoam” midsole.
– 65 Available at Zappos
Vionic Lynez Slipper
Lee recommends these faux shearling slippers in a classic silhouette for a more structured alternative to slip-on shoes. Though they’re designed for the house, we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to run errands in these, too, especially in snazzy prints like pink leopard or houndstooth.
– 79.95 Available at Vionic
Skechers Gowalk Lounge
This brand has long been a go-to for comfortable, supportive shoes, and this slip-on pair available in black/gray, navy and raspberry is no exception. Lee chose these for their lightweight and breathable cushioned insole, and the fact that they’re machine washable.
– 54.99 Available at Skechers
Glerups Wool Slip-Ons
Made of moisture-wicking wool, these unisex house shoes recommended by Lee are pricy and far from the most attractive thing you’ve worn on your feet—yet the reviews say it all. Wearers praise these slippers, which are available in several colors, for their durability, structure, smart design and comfort.
– 94.95 BUY IT
Oofos Original Sandal
In warmer months, a lightweight sandal can be nice to wear around the house, says Lee. If you’re OK with a thong-style sandal, this unisex pair has great arch support and foam technology to reduce impact. They’re machine washable, too, meaning you can tote them to the beach or the lake, toss them in the wash and then wear them in the house again.
– 59.95 Available at Oofos