Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.
Much to the outdoor fanatics’ glee, we’ve seen a host of new technical gear crop up in recent years (thanks in part to an increased interest in crunchy pursuits), calibrated and fined tuned for the express purpose of making the great outdoors manageable, if not downright enjoyable. As folk inclined to the occasion hike, camping trip and occasional romp, one style born from the great gear revolution has come to dominate our footwear rotation as the weather turns cold and wet: the outdoor slipper.
Functioning as something of a cold-weather workhorse — easy-on footwear for everything from kicking it at the campsite to cold-weather romps in the backyard — the outdoor slipper has embedded itself into our daily lives, the first pair we reach for when we have to take the dog out, and while they won’t supplant lugged boots and running shoes in your rotation, they’re a fine addition for outdoor excursions, errands and lounging alike.
Speaking of Outdoors Slippers…
Review: Keen’s Hybrid Slip-On Adventure Shoe Is Casual Footwear PerfectionLightweight, durable and engineered for maximum comfort, yet perfectly styled for lounging, camping and travel.
Many a brand has thrown their hat in the ring — Keen, Greys, Merell, Subu, Salomon and Suicoke are among those who make perfectly respectable models of outdoor slippers — but two outdoor retailers have established themselves, through quality and accessibility both, as head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to the outdoor slipper: Teva , with their ReEmber Moc and The North Face, via the ThermoBall Mule. Having commandeered both of the ubiquitous styles in the past months, we’ve decided to pit the two in a head-to-head battle to determine the one true king of outdoor slippers in the best way we know how: a rigorous wear-testing in a variety of conditions.
What we tested for:
Comfort: Front of mind for testing was comfort: a complex amalgamation of warmth, ease of wear, fit and cushioning. We took both pairs on short walks and all-day escapades, in a variety of temps and weather situations.
Durability: Unlike their slide and soft-suede, shearling-lined counterparts, outdoor slippers are intentionally built to brave beyond the driveway, and require an enduring make to be seriously considered. We put both slippers through the paces, trekking across grass, concrete and mud in a variety of dry and wet conditions over the course of two months.
Style: Untethered to functionality but equally important to overall vibes is form — both the footwear alone and when paired with tangential garb. As non-performance footwear, each slipper looked factored into our final decision.
How they performed:
Teva ReEmber Moc:
What we liked: Cozy, casual and deceptively rugged, the Teva ReEmber Moc lives up to the hype. We’ve practically slept in these things over the last two months, especially when menial tasks in NYC chill were involved. The slip-on fit and collapsible heel were a treat, as well as the durable outsole, which more than held its own against muddy parks and soaked sidewalks and feels appropriate for campsite clowning. Another surprise was maintenance — dirt and grime practically slide off the Teva ReEmber Moc, with a wet paper towel all that stood between us and a brand-new-looking shoe.
What we didn’t: The ReEmber Moc, designed for an easy-on fit, felt a bit loose in the collar, and while the collapsible heel made slipping them on a breeze, it also provided less support than the ThermoBall Mule and made the outdoor slipper a bit clunky at times. Also noticeable was the difference in insulation between the two: while its quilted puff upper was perfectly adequate for most temperatures, the Teva’s left our toes noticeably colder than their counterparts.
The North Face ThermoBall Traction V Denali Mules
What we liked: We’d be remiss not to compare The North Face ThermoBall to another TNF style — slipping on these outdoor slides felt very akin to tossing on our stalwart Nuptse puffer jacket, thanks to their lightweight ThermoBall eco insulation and recycled fleece upper. Seriously, the Denali Mules are like little sleeping bags for your feet, perfect for freezing nights at home, but with the added benefit of a waterproof DWR coating, they do just as well outside. They also look amazing – the compliments rolled in any time we donned these bad boys for a trip downtown (or uptown, or around town).
What we didn’t: Despite a comparable amount of wear, the ThermoBall Denali Mules were noticeably worse for wear, with some serious scuffing around the outsole’s rim. While the integrity wasn’t compromised and the water-repellant casing did its job admirably, they also proved hard to clean than their counterparts. The sole feels designed more for comfort than for outdoor performance, and, with an airtight, insulated fit, the breathability factor left much to be desired in toasty environments.
Teva Vs. The North Face: Which One Is Right For You?
Outer Material: 100% recycled ripstop upper | Outsole: 50% recycled rubber outsole | Weight: 11 oz.
- Collapsible heel
- Easy to clean
- Tons of colors
- Not as warm
- Not very breathable
TLDR: If you’re looking for a style to conquer the outdoors, The Teva ReEmber is your slipper. Comfortable enough to survive a day on your feet and fashioned with a durable (and easy to clean) outer, it’s a solid option for anyone looking to get the most out of their lounge-forward footwear.
Outer Material: Water-repellent finished recycled P.E.T. fleece upper | Outsole: 20% recycled rubber outsole | Weight: 8.45 oz.
- Collapsible heel
- Sleek look
- Thinner sole
- Upper can be hard to clean
TLDR: ‘Gram worthy and every bit as warm as a TNF Puffer, the ThermoBall Mules are the perfect pick for those circulationally-challenge, sartorially-inclined or who count themselves among the millions of The North Face fans. While they lose out by a hair to Teva’s generally ruggedness, they’re more than capable of getting you around city and campsite alike.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.