Sneaker Trends

These Hands-Free Sneakers Are the Easiest Things You’ll Ever Slip on Your Feet, No Bending or Bunny Ears Required

Photo: Kizik
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In the early ‘90s, as I was gearing up for kindergarten graduation, there was one test every kid in my class needed to pass before we could spend the summer pool-side pretending to be mermaids: We had to tie our shoes perfectly in front of our kindergarten teacher. I passed, a proud and accomplished student of the bunny-ear technique, and spent the summer running around in my lace-up kicks. (When I wasn't playing mermaids, of course.)

Fast forward to today, long after I learned how to tie my sneakers. While I’m still fully capable of tying my shoes, not everyone is. Be it trying to reach around a bulging baby belly or limitations from mobility restrictions, bending over and lacing up sneakers isn't necessarily easy or inclusive.

Enter Kizik sneakers, the easiest, hands-free sneaker you'll ever slip your feet into. Thanks to their brilliant no-tie construction, you can slip them on and off without tying (and untying) the laces—and without damaging the heel of the shoe. Plus, they’re stylish, comfortable, have a breathable knit upper, and don’t require an awkward, blister-inducing breaking-in period. You can’t ask much more of a pair of sneakers.

How do Kizik sneakers work, exactly?  Nelya Lobkova, DPM, a certified surgical podiatrist and founder of Step Up Footcare in New York City, explains it's all in the heel. The heels of these shoes are designed with a pliable plastic cage that squishes to allow your foot in, no pulling or lacing-up required. “The original aspect of the Kizik shoe is the cage technology in the counter of the shoe that springs back into place as you slip in the foot,” she says. “The cage technology uses a firm yet flexible plastic to recapture the shape of the shoe after slipping into it.”

Imagine it this way: Within the heel is a cross-hatch pattern of rubber strips. (Some Kizik designs have the cross-hatch on the external part of the shoe, so you can see it in action!) As you step into the sneaker, the strips compress and then bounce back into position, never wrecking or damaging the heel. This, Dr. Lobkova says, enhances stability by using a supportive material around the back of the heel bone, a benefit most flexible slip-on shoes do not have.

When I first slipped on—and yes, I mean slipped on—my pair of Kizik Lima sneakers ($109), I was truly impressed at how easy they were to get on and off. No bending down? No tying the laces? No crushing the heel? No, no, and no. They felt perfectly comfortable immediately out of the box, which, for me, is impressive. I’m prone to suffering through a break-in period with any pair of shoes, even if they’re made out of feathers. That wasn’t the case with Kiziks, so I immediately took them for a long, leisurely neighborhood walk. I did the same the next day, and again the next.

Kizik, Lima Sneakers — $109.00

Available sizes: 6-13, in half sizes in 14 colors.

Select colors also available on Amazon.

While I wear my Kizik sneakers for convenience and comfort, their hands-free design is more meaningful for those with mobility concerns. Anyone with back pain or arthritis could benefit from Kizik’s design, as could pregnant women. Those who work on their feet for long hours, like nurses and chefs, would appreciate the cushiness of Kiziks, too. Plus, think how easy they would be to slip on and off in the security line at the airport. No more holding up the TSA line!

Dr. Lobkova also recommends Kiziks for kiddos for the safety of their little feet. “I think these are good shoes for kids because they actually have a heel counter while being a slip-on shoe,” she says. “They are snug and fit well, unlike other loosely fitted slip-on shoes.”

My only criticism, if I had to come up with something: IfIt  your foot is shaped with a high arch, beware. My arch is average in every way, yet upon first wearing my Kiziks, it felt like there wasn’t quite enough support. While this hasn’t hindered my comfort level while wearing them for everyday activities, it would make me pause before throwing them on for a run. Dr. Lobkova agrees. “I would avoid Kiziks for high-impact exercises because they do not provide enough midsole support for activities such as running or jumping,” she says.

All-in-all though, Kizik sneakers are a new staple in my sneaker collection. I’ll reach for them—without bending down—daily from here on out, since they combine high style with utilitarian-like functionality, an ideal combination for all things fashion-related.

Shop more Kizik sneakers here

Kizik, Athens

Available sizes: 6-13, in half sizes, two widths, in 15 colors.

If you’re looking for a great, all-around sneaker, look no further than the Athens. It’s got the brand’s signature hands-free cage that’s easy to step into, no bending or bunny ears required. Plus it’s got a shock-absorbing outsole that’s especially forgiving on hard surfaces and tough terrain, along with washable insoles and a breathable upper knit that’ll keep feet cool and dry.

Select colors also available on Amazon.

Kizik, Madrid Eco-Knit — $99.00

Available sizes: 6-13, in half sizes, two widths, in four colors.

All the great stuff Kizik is known for, only made with a sustainable upper crafted from recycled plastic bottles. Aside from being eco-friendly, that knit is breathable and comfortably, too, designed with a 4-way stretch that moves as you do.

Select colors also available on Amazon.

Prague — $109.00

Available sizes: 6-13, in half sizes, two widths, in seven colors.

For a more casual sneaker, go for the Prague. The durable shoes feature a more casual look and swap the knit for a canvas upper, elevated with suede details. They go effortlessly with jeans, leggings, maxi dresses, and skirts, and feel heavenly, too.

Select colors also available on Amazon.

Vegas — $127.00

Available sizes: 6-13, in half sizes, two widths, in six colors.

Sleek and stylish, these leather kicks will level up any outfit. Whether it’s running errands, grabbing after-work drinks, or taking the dog for a walk, these slip-on sneakers will put some spring into your step… literally.

Select colors also available on Amazon.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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