Our biggest complaint with cheap slippers? They don’t last! We tested out a slew of budget slips, and the majority of them simply couldn’t keep up in the long-term-durability department. If a pair was pleasant to the touch, its construction was shoddy. And if the construction seemed durable enough, the materials matted, pilled, or attracted unpleasant odors. We’re always on the lookout for a good deal; sadly the budget slippers we tested were anything but.
Except for one diamond in the rough: the Sweater Fleece Scuffs by L.L.Bean. Yes, they’re at the very tippy-top of our budget range, but you get what you pay for: a year-round slipper that’s supportive, warm yet breathable, and easy to get on and off — all constructed with a level of quality that won’t fail ya when the going gets tough and the tough needs a relaxing Sunday at home.
If you, like us, love online window-shopping, a spin through Amazon’s slipper offerings reveals a surplus of cheap, poorly made footwear from a bunch of unknown brands. While there’s no way of telling whether these cheapjack labels are truly legit, it’s easy to see that generic slippers take turns popping up on the first page of Amazon’s search like a game of retail whack-a-mole.
Why chance it when you’ve got the sterling reputation of Maine’s L.L.Bean? You know ‘em as the Duck Boot people. They also make incredible all-purpose tote bags, not to mention a damn-near-perfect moccasin (that came very close to being our $$$ pick, but more on that later). The 100-year-old-plus outdoor brand knows a thing or two about quality, and the Sweater Fleece Scuffs are no exception.
The knitted, synthetic fleece lining and uppers lend a sweater-like feel that’s cozy in the winter yet still airy in the spring. Breathability is also aided by the exposed heel, which admittedly can be either a minus for those who live in colder climes and prefer full coverage, or a plus for folks who tend to overheat. Either way, our testers loved the leisurely ease of slipping these puppies on and off.
Another upside of synthetic fleece? You can wash ‘em. Nearly all of the other slippers we tested were constructed from things like leather or wool, the kind of materials easily ruined by an inattentive spin in the washing machine. During the course of our testing, we found that we could toss slippers in with a load of laundry and they’d come back out smelling fresh and clean.
With a budget-range slipper, you are sacrificing some support, but the Sweater Scuff’s cushy foam midsole provides a sturdier and more comfortable footbed than many of the thinner options we tested. Plus, there’s a molded rubber sole with a chunky thread that cuts down on slippage, which is perfect for impromptu trips outdoors.
One caveat: L.L.Bean makes a dedicated women’s version, but it costs $10 more! Ridiculous, we know. The price jump could be explained by a more comfortable footbed thanks to a cushioned sock liner (in terms of looks, it has a more feminine silhouette), but we can say the “men’s” version is a perfectly fine unisex slipper. As for sizing, women should generally go down one full size, while men who are in between sizes are recommended to size up.
All told, even with a couple of duds, our budget range was a highly competitive group, with our top contenders separated by only a point or two. For those who prefer a more plush slipper, you can do far worse than Minnetonka. Our testers had a lot of great things to say about the Franklin (men’s) and the Chesney (women’s), respectively. If you’re looking for a classic moc-style slipper, the Tamarac Camper Moccasin by Slipper International surprised our testers with its better-than-expected quality and overall solid construction.
We still think L.L.Bean’s Sweater Fleece Scuffs are a solid budget investment, especially when backed by the brand’s ironclad customer satisfaction guarantee. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced (and vegan-friendly!) pair of slippers that could last you a couple of seasons, if not more — we don’t think you’ll find a better pick in this price range than L.L.Bean.