The 6 best slip-on running shoes

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The hardest part of running is putting your shoes on, as the adage goes, which is why having the best slip-on running shoes can be so amazing. They save you time and help motivate you to get out the door. That said, it can be hard to find slip-on shoes that offer genuine high-performance features. Most traditional slip-ons (i.e. shoes without any sort of lace or cord) are made for either walking or light running — not intense, heavy-duty training sessions.

When it comes to easy-on features, more serious athletic sneakers typically fall into the "no lace" or "quick lace" category instead. This usually means they have either a Boa (those twist-dial systems you see in helmets or snowboarding boots) or a pull-cord that lets you cinch them down in one fell swoop. For that reason, I made sure to include a combination of traditional slip-ons (for aerobic walking or light jogging) and no-lace sneakers (for more advanced training) in my list of the best slip-on running shoes below.

In addition to design features, I also looked for the qualities you'd want in any pair of running shoes, such as:

  • Breathable, lightweight material: This typically means an upper section made from mesh, knits, or other well-ventilated materials.
  • High-quality cushioning: Footbeds with EVA foam or other soft, comfortable material for support are ideal for this.
  • Shock-absorbing midsoles: Layers of middle foam will help provide shock absorption and prevent foot fatigue.
  • Tough, grippy outsoles: A good bet here is soles that are constructed from durable rubber with strong, grippy tread patterns.

Given these factors, take a look at the best slip-on running shoes below. I've included both men's and women's sizes, so you can easily find the pair that's best for your needs.

The best men’s shoes

1. The best for light running

If you're only planning for light running, these traditional slip-on athletic sneakers are easy to slide into and exceptionally convenient. On top of that, reviewers say they're comfortable, too. The lightweight sneakers are built from knit mesh that's breathable yet stiff enough to offer structure. They slip on with a simple pull tab, and the soles are bendy yet sturdy enough to offer solid traction. Best of all, the footbeds feature extra arch support with soft cushioning and a shock-absorbing sole to reduce foot fatigue. (Just note that certain sizes slip in and out of stock.)

Colors: 11 | Sizes: Men’s 6.5 — 12.5

A helpful review: "They are very comfortable to go for a run, their sole has an excellent grip and they are very light.”

2. The best for road running

These New Balance running shoes feature a bootie style and stretchy webbing, making them easy to slip on and off. On top of that, they're designed with a lightweight foam midsole and durable rubber outsoles that will withstand impact from the road, and they’re well-cushioned, too. Plus, the unique heel hugs the foot for a supportive fit and all-day comfort, even when you’re not running.

Colors: 22 | Sizes: Men’s 7 — 18, including wide sizes

A helpful review: "I run along paved roads [...] This shoe has an great design, surprising support, and the tongue wraps the foot, providing a snug feeling.”

3. The best for trail running

Designed specifically with trail running in mind, these no-lace men's running shoes offer extra traction and grip to help you navigate technical surfaces. They're equipped with an easy Boa closure system that cinches down in a snap. This also allows you to micro-adjust the fit, and the handy tongue loops make them easier to slide on. They're built with high-rebound cushioning that's soft and comfortable in shock-absorbing EVA foam, while the rubber soles are tough, rugged, and equipped for rocky, root-covered terrain. With more than 20,000 ratings and 4.6 stars overall, these running shoes are well worth the investment.

Colors: 3 | Sizes: Men’s 7 — 14

A helpful review: “This is my third set of Speedcross 4s. I initially purchased my first pair to do a 5 mile mud run, then I just didn’t take the shoes off. For me these are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn, so I wear them all the time.”

The best women’s shoes

4. The best for light running

For walking and lighter, low-impact running, these slip-on sneakers offer softness, cushioning, and convenience. They're made from a breathable mesh knit fabric with high elasticity for a sock-like fit that’s cool and airy. In addition to offering comfort and temperature control, their insoles wick moisture and reduce odor. The soles are MD foam that's ultra-lightweight, and they're fairly shock-absorbing, too. They have an easy-pull tab in the back to help slide them on and decent traction underneath — all at an affordable price.

Colors: 19 | Sizes: Women’s 5 — 13

A helpful review: “I love these shoes, this is my second pair after wearing a hole in the first one after having them and going running in them for [two] years. I love how they cling to my feet so I don't have to worry about my shoes slipping when I walk or run. Just fantastic.”

5. The best for road running

These adidas Ultraboost running shoes showcase a streamlined upper that’s easy to slide on and reinforced elastic over the instep to hug your foot through every stride. The Boost line’s signature midsole is responsive underfoot while cradling you from heel to toe, and the lightweight uppers are woven with targeted zones to support your foot through active wear. Flexible outsoles with Continental rubber treads finish it off with high rebound and enhanced traction on slick surfaces. To top it off, each pair is made from materials using recycled plastics and helps keep bottles out of our oceans.

Colors: 14 | Sizes: Women’s 5 — 12

A helpful review: “Great workout shoes...I was suffering from knee soreness from working out. These shoes have been a real life saver. Wide enough for my feet, great support, and just look good. I do HIIT, cardio kickboxing, and functional strength training on these shoes.”

6. The best for trail running

With a Boa lacing system, these trail running shoes have a powerful bungee with a dial you essentially just twist to tighten. This specialty lacing system offers the feel and convenience of slip-ons but with the performance features of a high-quality athletic sneaker. The Saucony Switchback 2 is engineered to be a full 25% lighter with incredible air-like cushioning that responds to the terrain. The cleat-like lug soles are optimized to your natural footfall in a high-grip rubber that offers incredible traction on every surface.

Colors: 4 | Sizes: Women’s 5 — 12

A helpful review: “My favorite running shoe ever!! I run trail, roads, hike 14ers, all in this shoe. Great traction on all terrain. Laces are on the side so they don’t pinch the nerve on the top of my foot. So easy to loosen or tighten during a race. Love this shoe!”

A great alternative: This set of no-tie shoelaces

As an alternative to purchasing brand-new slip-on shoes, these cool no-tie shoelaces are a great upgrade if you already have a pair of sneakers you love (or if there's a new lace-up pair you have your eye on). The innovative shoelaces basically convert any existing lace-up running shoe into a slip-on. In addition to being easier to get in and out of, the unique laces boost blood circulation in your feet, according to the brand, and make your shoes more comfortable by eliminating choke points from the knots. If that's not enough, they come in more than two dozen different colorways.

Colors: 30 | Sizes: Small — Standard

A helpful review: “I bought some cross-training shoes for my gym which I really like. However, I was having a difficult time finding the ‘just right’ tightness for my laces, and it didn’t seem to be possible with the laces that came with my shoes. So I turned to online shopping to explore some alternatives when I came across the Caterpy laces [...] Not only do my shoes feel comfortably tight and secure, but the laces make it much easier for me to take my shoes of when I intend on taking them off.”