As a fitness editor, I review sneakers for a living, so I know what I’m looking for when it comes to workout shoes. I want them to be comfortable, to fit well, and to be supportive as I run, squat, and walk around. So when I heard all of the hype around the Skechers slip-in shoes, I decided to put them to the test.
I’ve already reviewed the Skechers Go Walk shoes and was impressed by the Arch Fit insole system, which is podiatrist-certified and offers instant arch support as you move. Yet the insanely popular slip-ins were new to me. Would they live up to the hype? And how would they compare to some of the best running shoes or the best hiking boots on the market? Read my Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth review below to find out more.
Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth review: Price and availability
The Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth shoes cost $110/£120 and are available in both men’s and women’s sizing, although the men’s version of the shoe is named Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Advantageous for some reason. The women’s shoe comes in three colorways in the women’s version — black, black/white, and black/burgundy (in the UK there is a white/black version) and two in the men’s — black and navy.
The shoes come in women’s sizes US 6 to US 11 in a medium and a wide fit, and men’s sizes US 8 to US 14. Both the men’s and women’s shoes come in half sizes.
Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth review: Design and fit
By design, the Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth shoes are a slip-on shoe, with a thick, comfortable mid-sole, and a breathable mesh upper. As a personal preference, a slip-on shoe wouldn’t be my go-to, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and while these won’t be making it onto any catwalks anytime soon, they didn’t look like orthopedic shoes.
I opted for the white/black version of the shoe, which probably wasn’t the most sensible decision heading into winter, but I felt they looked most like the normal workout sneakers I’d reach for. Plus, unlike the best women’s running shoes, these are machine washable, so will, in theory, be easier to clean — great if you’re as fanatical as I am about keeping your sneakers clean.
One thing to note here is that I really struggled with the fit of these shoes. I wear a UK 4.5 in my everyday sneakers, but a UK 5 in my running shoes (confused? Check out my guide on how to buy running shoes here). When I was testing the Skechers Go Walk shoes, I found the UK 5 miles too big, so I opted to go down a whole size in these, wearing a UK 4. Yet even with thick workout socks, I still struggled, with my foot slipping slightly at the back of the shoe. This might be a style thing — slip-on shoes, by nature, aren’t going to be as customizable as lace-ups, as you’re not able to pull the upper tight against your foot. Yet it might also be my feet — I have incredibly high arches, so it might be that the slip-in shoes just aren’t for me. Either way, if you’re between sizes, I recommend sizing down, or ordering both pairs and trying these on at home (on the carpet).
The upper of these shoes is much like you’d expect from a workout sneaker — soft, stretchy, and breathable. The knit upper isn’t too snug against the foot, which is often the case with bootie-like uppers such as this one, and I didn’t struggle with any rubbing or chafing. There’s also a decent amount of padding around the heel of the shoe, which helped, as even though I experienced the shoe slipping slightly, it didn’t leave me with blisters.
The midsole of this shoe is where the magic happens — they really are like walking on a cloud. Before my Skechers arrived, I’d read a lot of reviews to try and understand where the hype was coming from. A lot of doctors and nurses swore by them for long days on the wards, and a few customers said they wore them as slippers. They weren’t wrong to do so — these are seriously comfortable shoes.
Skechers says this is down to a couple of factors — the Heel Pillow design that cradles your foot and keeps it in place, the plush foam, named ‘Max Cushioning Elite’, the breathable insole, and the natural rocker geometry of the shoe, which rocks you forward slightly as you walk. When comparing this to the Skechers Go Walk shoes, I’d say it’s slightly plusher. It feels soft underfoot, and when standing at my desk and working in these, my feet felt supported.
That said, while I could comfortably walk around all day in these when heading out for actual hikes in them, I felt like I needed a little more support. More on this below.
The outsole of these shoes is definitely best suited to sidewalks, light trails, and treadmills. I wouldn’t recommend taking these off-road, as there’s not a huge amount of grip or deep lugs to help you grip. If you are heading out on a longer hike, check out the best hiking boots or the best trail running shoes here.
Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth review: Performance
From the get-go, I found these shoes extremely comfortable. I could easily wear them all day, but would I recommend them for workouts or hiking? Probably not. I’ve worn these shoes for over 100 miles over the past month, both on faster power walks with my unruly cocker spaniel in tow, for walking workouts on the treadmill (check out what happened when I did the 12-3-30 workout for a week, and the best walking workouts to try), and just running errands. While the shoes were comfortable, I’d personally recommend some more support for longer hikes.
Of course, this could be a personal preference — as mentioned above I struggled with the sizing and have high arches, but I found I missed being able to lace the shoes up tightly around the top of my foot on longer walks. That said, when I was walking to the shops, standing at my desk, and just going about my day, they were super comfortable.
They are also, by design, wonderfully easy to slip on and off, so if you have mobility issues, you’re traveling a lot, or you’re just looking for shoes you can slip on in a hurry after a yoga class, these are fantastic.
Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth review: Verdict
If you’re looking for a super-cushioned, super-comfortable pair of slip-on sneakers, you won’t find anything more comfortable than the Skechers Slip-in Max Cushioning Smooth shoes. They’re wonderfully plush, and really do make you feel like you’re walking on clouds.
That said, if you’ve got ambitions to go on hikes or long walks wearing these shoes, I’d shop for the Skechers Go Walk shoes or something like the Nike Pegasus 39 instead, which has a little more support across the top of the shoe and the ankle thanks to the lacing system.