In this product guide:
- 1. Factors to consider
- 2. Our top pick: The Nike React Phantom Run Flyknit 2
- 3. Versatile slip-on running shoe: The Nike Pegasus 39 Flyease
- 4. Casual slip-on loafer: Nike ACG Moc
- 5. Soft slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Presto
- 6. Flexible slip-on sneaker: Nike Free NN
- 7. Flexible slip-on sneaker: Nike Free 5.0
- 8. Cushioned slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Max 270
- 9. Retro slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Huarache
- 10. Retro slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Force 1 Easy on
- 11. Recycled slip-on sneaker: Nike Space Hippie 01
- 12. Slip-on gym trainer: Nike Free Metcon 4
- 13. Affordable slip-on sneaker: Nike Tanjun Easy on
Even though many slip-on shoes have laces, the bootie construction usually allows the lacing to be set in a fixed position. In other words, the laces do not need to be tied every day. Having said that, a fixed lacing position works better on some shoes than others.
For example, shoes like the Nike Air Presto and Nike Free RN NN have an elastic heel collar. So all you have to do is to leave the laces in a semi-secure position, and then use the shoe as a slip-on.
Most Nike shoes with a slip-on entry are not performance running shoes, so not having a high level of fit security isn’t a deal-breaker. Shoes like the AF 1 Easy on and Air Max 270 are walking or casual footwear at best. The Nike Pegasus 39 Flyease and Free Metcon 4 are the only exceptions, as they can be used as intended. The Pegasus 39 is a decent running shoe, and the Metcon works well inside a gym.
Then there are true slip-ons like the React Phantom Flyknit 2. Instead of laces, the React Phantom uses a stretch upper and elastic midfoot cords to secure the foot.
Lastly, Nike sells many laced shoes without an elastic upper; the Nike Air Force 1 Easy-on and Air Huarache are good examples.
Solereview recommends: Nike React Phantom Run Flyknit 2
If we had to pick just one Nike slip-on shoe, it would be the React Phantom Run. It’s based on a similar React midsole as the React Infinity Run 2, so the cushioning comfort is almost identical.
However, the slip-on model differs in a couple of ways. The midsole doesn’t have the stiff rims from the Infinity, and instead uses a smaller heel clip for support.
The second difference is the lace-free Flyknit upper. The foot is secured by the elastic knit upper and the bands running over the midfoot. The overall design deftly straddles the fine line between performance and athleisure.
There’s ample cushioning and upper grip to make the React Phantom Run Flyknit versatile enough for short runs. Needless to say, the shoe is also an excellent casual sneaker and walking shoe.
(Note: The Nike Infinity 4 has been out for a while now, but we haven’t seen a slip-on version yet.
2) Everyday slip-on running shoe: Nike Pegasus 39 Flyease
If you prefer running shoes without laces, the Pegasus 39 Flyease makes a strong case for itself. Admittedly, the EVA foam and Zoom Air setup is a bit dated, but the cushioning is versatile enough for everyday training, tempo workouts, and even half marathons.
On the other hand, the Flyease upper is nothing like the design on the base model. There are no laces, at least not the conventional kind. A large Velcro strap is connected to elasticated bungee cords.
This makes wearing the shoe easy; just slip into the Pegasus and pull the strap over the instep.
3) Casual slip-on loafer: Nike ACG Moc
Ideally, we would have recommended the ACG Moc 3.5 – a slip-on sneaker with a comfortable foam midsole and quilted upper made of technical fabric. The ACG Moc 3.5 has shades of the North Force Thermoball Moc, except that it is a Nike.
At the time of writing this review, the Moc 3.5 appears to be unavailable, so the ACG Moc is the next best thing.
When seen from the outside, the ACG Moc is as basic as it gets. Nike uses a one-piece textile upper on the outside, and some insulation on the inside. There are no laces or straps; you just slip on the Moc and then tighten the bungee pull tab.
And what about the cushioning? While the ACG Moc only has a rubber cupsole (which also doubles as the outsole), the step-in comfort is provided by the drop-in foam footbed.
4) Soft slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Presto
We remember the Air Presto’s inaugural year with nostalgic fondness. It was advertised as ‘T-shirts for your feet’, and sold in XS, S, M, L, and XL sizes.
Even though Nike no longer sells the Presto by alphabetical sizing, the modern reissue is a replica of the original model – down to the stretchy mesh upper, plastic midfoot cage, and soft midsole.
When the Air Presto was first released, nothing came close in fit and ride comfort. More than two decades later, it still holds up. The soft bootie upper has an elasticated entry and pliable heel to create a comfortable slip-on experience.
The embedded Air unit inside the soft foam midsole makes the Presto a plush everyday sneaker. The soft blown rubber outsole also enhances the underfoot experience.
5) Flexible slip-on sneaker: Nike Free RN NN
The Nike Free assortment is usually the best home for slip-on uppers. That’s because the Free models take a minimalist approach (except for X-training Free’s) to the overall design.
For example, most Free shoes have ultra-flexible midsoles that pair very well with a slip-on upper. The Free RN NN embodies the flexible trainer concept in more ways than one.
The midsole design is classic Nike Free; the forefoot and midfoot are generously grooved for flexibility. Outsole rubber is used sparingly to keep the weight low.
The elasticated opening of the knit upper makes it easy to slide in. While the collapsible heel has no counter, the foam padding inside the collar keeps the foot locked in.
While the Free NN isn’t a serious running shoe, it’s an excellent everyday sneaker which is also capable of low-intensity athletic activity.
6) Flexible slip-on sneaker: Nike Free Run 5.0
After an extended hiatus, the Nike Free is back in the performance running game. This snug fit of the Free Run 5.0 secures the foot over the soft and flexible midsole.
This time, the narrow forefoot and cord-assisted lacing give the Nike Free a performance-oriented fit that reminds us of the 2013-14 Free models. The snug upper and cushioned ride make this shoe versatile enough for everyday runs (of up to 10K) and athleisure wear.
Included with the soft collapsible heel is a padded, sock-like collar that makes slipping into the shoe a breeze.
7) Cushioned slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Max 270
The Nike Air Max 270 and VaporMax took over once the reign of the Air Max 2017 ended. Based on anecdotal evidence, even the Vapormax doesn’t seem to be as popular as it once was. The only modern Air Max model we see everywhere is the 270.
The large Max Air bag and molded heel clip are mated to an EVA foam midsole to make the 270 a comfortable lifestyle sneaker. Say what you will; having a large visible Max Air bag under your heel is childish fun.
An asymmetrically laced upper provides the required levels of lock-down, and the rear includes a slip-on collar and a soft, padded heel.
8) Retro slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Huarache
Believe it or not, the Nike Air Huarache was originally a performance running shoe.
When the Huarache was first released in 1991, things were very different. Running shoes had just made the jump from board-lasting to a slip-lasted design (like the Huarache).
What made the Air Huarache special at the time was the lack of a stiff heel counter – something that was a part of every running shoe that existed at the time.
Instead of a heel stiffener, Nike used a rubber strap over a soft slip-on bootie. The contemporary version is a truthful reproduction of the original Huarache, so the upper has a slip-on collar for accessibility.
Other things that worked in 1991 are also functionally relevant in modern times. For example, the EVA foam midsole and Nike Air unit turn the Huarache into a comfortable lifestyle sneaker.
9) Retro slip-on sneaker: Nike Air Force 1 Easy-On
It’s hard to tell the difference between the regular AF 1 and the ‘Easy-On’ Air Force 1. Both have the instantly recognizable white leather upper and the distinctive cupsole design. Everything is the same, except for a couple of hidden accessibility features on the upper.
Inside the heel collar is a semi-collapsible frame that makes the shoe easy to slip on.
Slide your foot inside the shoe, and then press down on the heel; the internal frame snaps right back up over the foot. The tongue is supported by a firm piping, so it doesn’t get in the way of the foot.
10) Recycled slip-on sneaker: Nike Space Hippie 01
The Space Hippie 01 is avant-garde, even by Nike standards. By that, we’re not referring to the brand’s claim that the shoe is made of at least 50% recycled content.
It’s the misshaped design that sets the Space Hippie apart from the rest of the shoe industry. Okay, maybe the Asics Kayano 5-inspired Balenciaga runner is similar at a conceptual level, but the Space Hippie is light years apart.
It’s almost as if the Space Hippie was built as a Claymation model; the speckled and lumpy midsole looks like it’s kneaded out of clay. On a completely unrelated note, the Oscar-winning Laika studio (of Coraline and Kubo And The Two Strings fame) is funded, albeit indirectly, with Nike money.
The Flyknit upper has a stretch slip-on bootie with a secure yet comfortable fit. The firm dual-density midsole provides an adequate level of underfoot comfort.
11) Slip-on gym trainer Nike Free Metcon 4
We’ve seen people wearing the Free Metcon on the streets, but we suspect that was because they got a great deal and not how comfortable the shoe was. It’s worth mentioning that this is a trainer meant for gym training, and not a comfortable casual sneaker.
We also mentioned the Metcon 4 in our Nike gym shoe guide, and that’s because the midsole combines a supportive heel with a flexible forefoot. The stable heel is reliable enough for weight-training sessions, whereas the flexible forefoot works for Plyometric training.
While lacing the upper gives you the desired fit security, the Free Metcon 4 has a slip-on construction. That way, you can ‘set’ the lacing once and then use the Metcon as a slip-on trainer.
12) Affordable slip-on sneaker: Nike Tanjun Easy On
The Nike Tanjun Easy-on answers the call for a basic and affordable slip-on sneaker. The standard Tanjun has been a perennial bestseller for Nike due to its simple, crowd-pleasing design and price. The upper is mostly mesh, which makes it soft and breathable.
Nike keeps the cushioning basic yet functional. A molded EVA foam midsole and insole add everyday comfort.
And just like the AF 1 Easy-On, the slip-on version of the Tanjun uses a hidden snap-back frame inside the heel. Slide your foot inside the Tanjun, and then simply press down on the heel to wear it.