Sneakers are the bread and butter of a well-rounded shoe collection, and you can’t get more convenient than slip-ons. Laceless shoes can be dressed up or down, given their minimalist look, while providing much-appreciated comfort and support. Unlike many loafers and flats, slip-on sneakers’ rubber soles provide traction and stability, making them great for work, travel and just about anything in between. We tapped eight experts about their favorite pairs of slip-ons for men and women.
Sporty perforated style
Vince’s women’s slip-on sneakers were called out by a few of our experts thanks to their timeless look. Dallas-based style blogger Merritt Beck says she purchased her first pair several years ago in solid black velvet and wore them constantly. “Not only are they incredibly comfortable and wearable,” but they’re also “easy to pack, as they don’t take up much space and aren’t too heavy.” Los Angeles-based wardrobe stylist Chellie Carlson says the pair is “ultra comfortable for a work commute and the perfect sneaker for traveling, as it can go with anything from dresses to athleisure.” Both recommend the brand’s latest take on the staple shoe, a perforated leather version, available in a variety of colors, from White to Champagne.
“This checkerboard Vans sneaker is a staple,” says Los Angeles-based celebrity stylist, Warren Alfie Baker. The original skate shoes date back to 1979; now they’re a popular unisex style available in a wide range of sizes and color combinations. The canvas uppers are lightweight and easy to clean, while the signature bumper rubber soles provide helpful tread (whether you’re hopping on a skateboard or not). Baker recommends pairing these with a stonewash jean and white tee for a classic, ’90s vibe.
Los Angeles-based Creative Director and Interior Designer Luis Fernandez also recommends the Vince slip-ons. The men’s version is also available in a perforated material, with the addition of luxe-looking suede accents, all in a chic deep navy (black is also available). When it comes to styling, versatility is key, says Fernandez, and this pair delivers. “The suede navy slip-on has a bit of a dressier feel while still being very casual and easy to slip in and out of,” he says.
“My Allbirds are my all-time favorite year-round travel shoes,” says Wendy Yang, the New York City-based founder of Acacia Home. “They are super comfy and easy to slip in and out of for airport security,” she remarks. These slip-ons, which come in men’s and women’s sizing, feature mesh that’s sourced from eucalyptus fibers for a lightweight, breathable feel. Plus, the midsoles are made from a sugarcane-based EVA material, with castor bean oil-based foam insoles, rounding out the eco-centric design elements that merge comfort, style and sustainability.
Another style pro-approved brand for slip-ons is Golden Goose. The brand’s leather slides “are so chic and easy to slip on and roll out in,” Carlson says. Whether dressed up for a lunch date or down with athleisure, both experts appreciate the laid back nature. Know that Golden Goose’s signature style is pre-scuffed—a nod to nonchalance that is part of the brand’s massive popularity. The slip-ons get bonus points for color combinations (including options with glitter and a shearling lining), allowing you to find “the perfect pair that aligns with your style,” Carlson notes.
The Hoka Project Clifton all-gender sneakers are “my go-to, commute-to-the-studio footwear,” says Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist Daniel Robin Clurman. Clurman’s profession means he is on his feet all day, so comfort is of utmost importance. “It’s a sleek slip-on with tons of support, which means there will be no twisted ankles when I’m high-speed navigating the city,” he says. The sneakers are made with Hoka’s signature support, including lightweight EVA midsoles, and they feature a front zipper designed to seal water out. Clurman owns the black colorway, which he notes can be styled with everything, but is such a fan of this shoe, he plans to purchase the off-white version as well.
“As easy and classic as it gets, the Wooster is like a reliable staple for me,” Fernandez says. The full-grain leather used to create these slip-ons is responsibly sourced and vulcanized, natural rubber outsoles provide tread and stability. The footbeds feature antimicrobial properties and extra cushioning for support. He also calls out the navy colorway as a favorite, since it can be styled with just about anything.
Penny loafer style
This modern style blends the elegance of a penny loafer with the convenience of sneakers, offering a street-chic feel. Handmade in Italy from luxe leather by expert craftsmen, Baker says the quality is unmatched, as is their versatility. They’re great to travel in, he notes, in large part because “they transition well from day to night.” He suggests wearing them with shorts or trousers, for a stylish look that doesn’t compromise on comfort.
Fear of God’s foam slip-on sneakers are “the lightest shoes I have ever worn, and they fit any occasion with the right type of approachable cool,” says New York City-based fashion editor and stylist Ronald Burton. Made from 100% closed-cell foam, the clog-like sneakers have an impressively lightweight, airy feel. “I wear them for all plane travels, paired with the brand’s most insanely cozy sweatsuits,” Burton notes, “but they’re equally as fitting for casual meetings for work or pleasure.”
Velcro, luxe edition
The Row’s quality is second to none for Burton, who loves the brand’s take on the slip-on men’s sneaker with the added design detailing of Velcro straps. Made from soft leather with grippy rubber soles, this minimalist shape will last for season after season. “This shoe could make quite the rounds in a man’s wardrobe, paired with a beautiful, light flowing trouser, or a cool relaxed fit jean and vintage T-shirt for a weekend dash,” Burton says. “The contrasting color of the sole gives it just the right amount of cool, without feeling like you are in an athletic sneaker.”
“If you’re looking for a slip-on sneaker that can go from a brisk morning walk to the brunch table, these Tod’s sneakers are it,” Beck says. “The stretchy, knit fabric molds to your foot for a perfect, super comfortable fit.” The technical, stretch-cotton uppers also allow for breathability throughout the day, making them a solid choice for warm-weather wear. “They’re sporty and functional for actual physical activity, but stylish enough for travel and any other daytime activity.” She also calls out that although they are available in five neutral colors, she prefers them in off-white or beige for a chic, summer sneaker.
A white sneaker is a must-have in every shoe closet. “White leather sneakers go with any outfit,” Yang says. “They are great paired with dresses, skirts, jeans and even a suit.” These have a unique texture, due to the handwoven, Italian nappa leather that add depth to the all white colorway. Yang recommends these also for efficient travel. “If you are only going to pack one pair of shoes—make it a white leather sneaker,” she says. Removable cushioned footbeds and lightweight EVA rubber soles ensure you will be able to walk for miles at a time.
“These are up there as a top [favorite] slip-on sneaker,” Baker says of Zegna’s triple stitched, low-top style. Chic, stylish and comfortable, they have become a client-favorite, due to their luxurious leather exterior, soft rubber soles and overall clean, minimalist design. “Whenever my clients try these on, they want them in multiple colors,” he says. Whether styled with smart trousers or jeans, the shape is a winning choice.
“My favorite neighborhood shoe slash walk-the-dog shoe is the Merrell Hydro Moc and this is their hybrid sneaker version,” Clurman says. The super lightweight shoes have “tons of support,” he notes, “and I always get compliments when I wear them.” The runners combine the webbed look of the brand’s popular water-friendly shoes with a performance sole and mesh lining for even more assistance. Wear these on a warm-weather, busy day of errands to keep cool and moving effortlessly.
The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of the Buy Side from WSJ editorial team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.