Bombas Gripper Slippers: Tested and Reviewed

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During the “lockdown” phase of the pandemic, podiatrists got a lot of calls. People’s feet were aching with conditions like plantar fasciitis, thanks to spending all day in chunky slippers rather than actual shoes. Many took this as proof of how badly we need to wear arch support full-time. In reality, we were asking too much of our fragile feet too fast. “People overstressed their arches pretty quickly,” says natural foot care podiatrist Ray McClanahan, DPM. However, he points out, “their feet got stronger eventually.”

In truth, trading in your fluffy bunny slippers for something more minimalist at home can come with legit foot health benefits if you give yourself time to adjust. To give this strategy a try, I recently swapped my sturdy L.L. Beans for Bombas’ popular Gripper Slippers ($48) to see how my feet handled only having thin, flexible fabric underfoot. Here’s what I found.

How “barefoot” slippers can help

Dr. McClanahan actually encourages most of his patients to work up to going totally barefoot at home. He says the skin on the bottoms of our feet is identical to the skin on our hands and can give our bodies a wealth of proprioceptive information to help orient ourselves in space. Walking barefoot can improve our balance since our feet can sense the ground better and our toes can splay out. It can also strengthen the muscles in our arch, and even increase circulation to the bottoms of our feet.

“But if people want to wear a slipper,” he says, “they will get some of the strengthening benefits with a flat slipper that’s lightweight and flexible. They’ll get some of the circulatory benefits and balance benefits.”

The key is to gradually build up your strength. “Any change from a more structured shoe to a more flexible [one] is going to challenge those four layers of muscle in the bottom of the arch,” Dr. McClanahan says. However, “they will rise up to meet the challenge if the challenge is appropriate.” For people who typically sport stability shoes from sunup to sundown, he suggests only wearing barefoot slippers for a few minutes at a time at first until your feet grow stronger.

My review of Bombas’ Gripper Slippers

When I initially slip my feet into a pair of Bombas’ Gripper Slippers, the first thing I notice is just how soft the fabric is; it’s like wrapping my foot up in a fuzzy blanket. Flexible enough to comfortably curl my feet up under me on the couch, everything about these slippers screams “cozy.” It’s a loose fit, more meant for lounging than, say, running after a toddler.

There’s extra fabric under the foot for some gentle cushioning, but my feet can still easily sense the floor—there’s nothing stiff or restrictive about these. Yet unlike when I’m walking around my house fully barefoot or just in socks, there’s enough insulation that I don’t feel the cold floor in my chilly basement. My toes stay exceptionally warm; honestly, I have to take them off when temps top 75 degrees Fahrenheit or so because I get too hot in them.

Photo: Author

Although I’m often barefoot or in socks at home, I typically will wear my thick, stiff slippers for at least part of the day. Using these Bombas instead did make my feet feel a little more tired by bedtime. I could tell my arch muscles had worked more than they were used to, which, for me, was exactly what I wanted—like a free foot workout.

There were also two bonuses of more minimalist slippers that I hadn’t thought about. One, the lightweight and flexibility makes this pair very travel-friendly, especially with the grips that can help you stay upright on a range of indoor surfaces. (I’m already thinking of gifting a pair to a pregnant friend for her hospital bag.) Also, they’re exceptionally quiet compared to clunkier slippers.

Bombas’ Gripper Slippers: My honest take

If you want to try a minimalist slipper, the Gripper Slipper is a warm, cozy option. I’d recommend them for anyone who wants to work their feet a little more at home while staying super comfy. Just give your body time to adjust if you’re used to something with more structure—your feet will thank you in the long run!

Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.


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