I wore these Skechers Slip-Ins while hitting the gym — here's my verdict

Hate tying your laces? The Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 may be your new go-to shoe

a photo of the Sketchers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0
(Image: © Skechers)

Tom's Guide Verdict

Sketchers Slip-Ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brillant Path combines comfort, ease and style for those who hate tying their laces. But if you need a shoe for more intensive athletic pursuits, you may want to look elsewhere.


  • +

    Intuitive slip-in design

  • +

    Lightweight and very comfortable

  • +

    Faux laces give the shoe a classic look


  • -

    Lack of strong lateral support

  • -

    Heel pillow can cause blisters

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I’ll admit it: while I know it’s bad for the shoe (and even worse for my foot health), I’m notoriously bad at tying and untying my sneakers. I’ll try to be diligent in those first few weeks after unboxing them, but I always eventually end up wriggling my foot into and out of my shoes without ever touching the laces. I used to think I was the only one who bypassed this rather necessary step. However almost all of my personal training clients have copped to the same behavior. Some have even confessed that lacing up their kicks is a barrier to hitting the gym at all.

Skechers has solved this universal problem with their Slip-ins line of active footwear. No need to tighten and loosen any annoying shoelaces — just slide your feet into a pair, and you’re ready to go. Can a “slip-in” sneaker design properly support your foot through a workout, though and how do they compare to the best cross-training shoes on the market? I decided to put the Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brilliant Path to the test. Read my full review to find out more. 

Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brilliant Path review: Price and Availability

The Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brilliant Path retails for $90. The “Brilliant Path” model seems to only be available in women’s sizes (US 5-11 in medium widths), however a similar model — the “New Arc” — is available in men’s sizes (US 7.5-14 in medium or wide widths). The Brilliant Path comes in five different colors, while the New Arc seems to only come in one. 

Pricing remains consistent among all the major retailers, give or take a few dollars.      

Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brilliant Path review: Design and Fit

At first glance, the Sketchers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 don’t seem all that different from a regular sneaker: a thick mid and outsole at the base support a flexible mesh upper with what appears to be a standard lacing system. A closer look reveals that those laces are just for show – they’re sewn into place, and can’t be used in any kind of functional capacity. Personally, I prefer this design choice for a slip-in sneaker. I’ve avoided slip-ins in the past because the lack of laces make them look a little “orthopedic” to me, but thanks to the inclusion of faux laces, the Ultra Flex 3.0’s feel a lot more fashion-forward. 

Adding to the sleeker style of the Sketchers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 is the upper mesh’s solid color. The deep mauve that I’d chosen paired well with my wardrobe, and the absence of any bold patterning made the transition from workout sneaker to casual footwear effortless.

a photo of the Sketchers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0

(Image credit: Future)

I’m almost always a US size 8 in any shoe, and the 8’s in the Ultra Flex 3.0 felt like the right size for the most part. That being said, I had some significant slippage through the heel which ended up causing a blister after my first extended wear. Skechers’ exclusive “heel pillow” — extra padding in the heel which is supposed to prevent excessive chafing — actually exacerbated the problem. Donning thicker, higher-profile socks on subsequent wears solved the issue. 

Other than the heel rubbing, the upper portion of the shoe was comfortable and breathable. It usually takes me a bit of time to break in my sneakers (especially in the toe box), but after one wear the Ultra Flex 3.0’s felt appropriately molded to my foot, and didn’t cause any undue pain in my usual problem areas (like the balls of my feet and toes). 

Sketchers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0

(Image credit: Future)

The midsoles of the Ultra Flex 3.0 were practically pillowy, with Skechers’ signature “Air-Cooled Memory Foam” lining the entire insole from toe to heel. This made the shoe among the most comfortable I’ve ever tested. In fact, there were a few instances where I forgot I was wearing them and ended up walking through my apartment with them on. I train most of my clients virtually nowadays, but if I were still working out of a gym, I would be wearing these very frequently. 

A thick yet extremely lightweight outsole contributed to this pillowy feel, while providing acceptable support. There isn’t much traction on the bottom of the shoe, however, it’s sufficient enough for walks and maybe some light treadmill jogging.  

Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brilliant Path review: Performance

I’ve mentioned that the Ultra Flex 3.0’s are extremely plush, and this is their main performance highlight — if you’re on your feet or walk around for most of your workday, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable shoe. As the name implies, they’re incredibly easy to slip on and off, making them a great choice for anyone with mobility issues. And if your exercise routine primarily consists of walking or light resistance training, the Ultra Max 3.0s would be a relatively appropriate training shoe. 

The downside to the Ultra Flex 3.0’s flexible mesh upper is that there isn’t much strong lateral support through the ankle or heel. If you’re just going on a walk or wearing them for work, this isn’t a deal breaker. But if you want to go for a run, join a HIIT class, or hit the trails for a hike, the risk of rolling your ankle in the Ultra Flex 3.0 is higher. The risk is even greater if you have flat arches like I do — I had a few close calls while wearing them for a very jump-heavy HIIT circuit. 

a photo of the Sketchers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0

(Image credit: Future)

There’s no doubt that the cloud-like memory foam in the insoles is a huge plus for general comfort, but all this cushioning will inevitably affect your foot stability. Again, if you’re mainly walking in them or doing light activity, that’s not such a huge deal. Proper foot stability is crucial when you’re lifting heavy weight though, so I’d avoid wearing them for any intense resistance training sessions. 

Skechers Slip-ins Ultra Flex 3.0 Brilliant Path review: Verdict

Skechers has advanced the slip-in sneaker game with their Ultra Flex 3.0, a shoe that’s sleek, stylish, and hard to tell apart from regular sneakers thanks to their decorative laces. Extremely comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, the Ultra Flex 3.0’s transition from leggings and sports bras to jeans and sweaters easily, and their hands-free slip-on design is a game changer for those with mobility issues (or for those who can’t be bothered to tie and untie their shoes). 

If the extent of your athletic pursuits are long walks or light strength training like Pilates or barre, you can rely on the Ultra Max 3.0’s for the job. For more intense efforts, however, you’d be better off in a traditional lace-up sneaker.  

Jennifer Rizzuto

Jennifer Rizzuto is a freelance writer and certified personal trainer based in Long Island, NY. She covers various fitness-related topics and reviews for Tom's Guide. She also writes sketch comedy and short films, and performs frequently as an actor, singer, and improviser. When she's not writing, working out, or performing, you'll find her trying to convince her husband to get a dog.