Whether or not you wear booties, winter surfing means cold toes. In previous articles, I’ve made the case for a good pair of surf slippers – there’s nothing like fuzzy insulation to cure cold toes. That being said, there are a lot of options out there, and the best slippers might not in fact be the best surf slippers. So I took a gander at the current outdoor-slipper market and secured some samples to shove my sandy feet into and help you choose the best surf slippers to keep your toes warm this winter.
What Are The Best Surf Slippers?
What Makes A Good Surf Slipper?
They have to be warm, but when it comes to slippers that’s a bit of a no-brainer. I’m a big fan of some kind of fuzzy insulation – although it does make sand harder to remove from the slippers, there’s nothing like shoving your cold toes into a warm cloud of fluff after surfing. Another big box to check is that they have to be easy to put on, preferably hands free. Collapsible heels that let you shove your feet in but can also convert to something more adventure-ready are all the rage right now, and with good reason as they truly give you the best of both worlds. I also look for a slipper that will stand up to abuse. I want to be able to stand on them when changing in and out of my wetsuit, forget them on my back porch, dry them out, and still have the same level of comfort as when I first put them on. Massive bonus points in my book if they have a heel strong enough to skate in.
Pros: Silicone collapsible heel sticks these guys to your feet like glue when you want to walk, skate, or do anything really
Cons: Felt upper shows wear pretty quickly
A couple years ago, my wonderful mother got me a pair of these bad boys for Christmas, and they’re still going strong. They certainly don’t look as nice as when I first got them – they’re marketed as indoor slippers and have been anything but that for me – but they are just as cozy and performance-oriented as ever. The collapsible heel has a silicone grip on the inside which does a great job of gripping your heel to keep the shoes on for whatever activity you might use them for. A cozy wool lining cures cold toes in minutes, and a removable footbed makes getting sand out a bit easier.
Pros: Well-made and comfortable for a great price.
Cons: No heel is great for slip-on ease, but less ideal for more active pursuits.
For a pair of surf-slippers that don’t break the bank, you can’t beat the Cobian Mule line (men’s: Calido, women’s: Colima). These faux-fur slippers are super cozy, and the lack of a heel provides slip-on ease for parking lot-changes at the cost of some mobility. If you’re looking for a more active-oriented slipper at the same price point, check out the all-new Cobian Stinson (for ladies, check out the Sonora).
And while the low price point may make you think “overseas conglomerate,” you’ll be stoked to know that your dollars are going to a small, family-owned California business with a surfer-ethos to boot. Cobian has been making slippers and sandals for the past 25 years, with support from surfing legends like Bethany Hamilton, Nate Yeomans, and Jeff Clark.
Pros: Supremely cozy, with good looks to match
Cons: A bit roomy, reducing skate/walk performance potential
Olukai’s Kīpuka Hulu Slippers are the coziest slippers I’ve tried, bar none. A soft shearling lining makes these slippers a joy to put on, and a wider fit means your toes are free to wiggle as they please. A collapsible heel is par for the course. The slippers also simply look great, coming in four different shades of premium leather. That being said, they were a bit roomy, reducing the potential for more physical use.
Olukai also sent me a pair of their Mahana Slippers, which are made with a cotton upper and terrycloth lining for a bit more all-season breathability. These slippers are narrower, improving performance potential.
If you’re in the market for more of a performance slipper, check out the Mahana.
Pros: Durable sole, recycled materials
Cons: A bit chunky
Cozy is the name of the game with the Sanuk Cozy Vibe slippers. These indoor/outdoor slippers are made with a wool-blend lining that will keep your toes warm when it’s cold, and are moisture-wicking to boot. Removable footbeds allow for ease of sand removal, and Sanuk’s commitment to the environment and use of recycled and sustainable materials in these slippers provide ease of mind while online shopping.
Pros: Durable construction, form-fitting
Cons: No fuzzy insulation
Teva’s ReEmber camp shoes are a bit less slipper and a bit more versatile camping/vanlife slip on, but that doesn’t mean they are any less awesome. Recycled materials are used throughout, meaning these are a great pick for those who want to tread lightly on Mother Earth, and for those who hate sandy fuzz, the lack of fuzzy insulation could be a pro rather than a con. And even without the fuzzy insulation, these are some warm slip ons.
Pros: Durable outdoorsy construction, good support
Cons: No collapsible heel
If you’re looking for slippers that have some style, look no further. Deckers, parent company of UGG, Hoka, and Teva, launched its own branded line of performance-oriented slippers this year, and they are some head-turners.
I tried out the Ko-Z Snpr Low, and Deckers also sent me their X-SCAPE Mid. I liked the Snpr’s slide-on functionality but wished they had a collapsible heel for a bit more versatility while changing in and out of my wetsuit. The X-SCAPEs required the use of hands to take on and off, but if tied loosely enough didn’t need to be untied and retied. Best of all, because of the boot-like construction, these were a breeze to skate in and might I say look downright steezy. The best way I could describe them would be as a more durable and outdoorsy pair of UGGs. Both are made with a super soft lining that is a joy to stick your feet into.
In short, the Ko-Z Snprs make a better surf slipper, and the X-SCAPEs are just a dope looking pair of slipper-boots.
Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.