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These hands-free shoes are pretty awesome

Kizik has managed to make a no-tie sneaker I actually want to wear.

Closeup of Kizik shoe from back, reinforced heel in focus Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac

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  • Hands-free Kizik sneakers slip on without tying laces, and without damaging the heel of the shoe.
  • As someone who can’t tie shoes due to a disability that involves hand weakness, I appreciate that these sneakers are both practical and stylish.
  • While the sneakers are a great option and starting point for the brand, I wish Kizik made more shoe styles, like ankle boots or pumps.


As a person who can't use their hands very well due to disability, finding stylish apparel has always been a challenge. This isn’t a huge concern now that I'm a fairly confident adult. However, we all know that in the school years, fashion is everything. I was no different on that front, and I hated feeling like I/my shoes didn’t fit in.

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Instead, I've always had to opt for hands-free shoes like slip-ons, flip-flops, or, in my darkest moments, Velcro shoes.

This was the cost of independence: to wear shoes that required tying meant I had to ask a friend for help. So, in the name of autonomy, I wore uncool shoes. (There are some very nice-looking Velcro kicks on the market now, thankfully.)

I no longer feel that my life depends upon wearing the correct style of sneaker, but I have been very pleased to discover that several footwear brands make hands-free shoes.

I don't think a single pair of athletic shoes I've ever owned didn’t end up with a broken-down heel after all the slipping on and off, as I use my feet to accomplish daily tasks most would use their hands to do. Lucky for me, Kizik made a shoe designed to be used in exactly that way.

How Kizik shoes work

Gif of someone sliding their feet into Kiziks
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac

Wow, that's easy.

While many slip-on tennis shoes have finger loops to help keep the shoe's structure intact as you slide your foot in, Kizik designed a heel cup that can compress and bounce back over and over without losing its shape. This is thanks to what the company calls External Cage Technology: a crosshatch pattern of rubber strips that wrap around the heel cup. This "cage" can collapse and spring back into place, which means the shoe's heel never curls in or gets crushed.

What I like

They look like normal shoes

A pair of baby blue Kizik shoes against a gray background
Credit: Kizik

I love that these special shoes make inclusive design look stylish.

My Kiziks have a breathable knit upper with laces that can actually be tied, but don’t worry. Once you get them at your ideal tightness, make a good double knot and you'll never have to tie them again. The fact that they look like normal shoes—with styles for men, women, and kids—makes me feel like a normal person wearing them.

Kizik shoes are comfortable

Side view of gray Kizik sneakers
Credit: Reviewed / Sarah Kovac

Despite the flexible heel, these shoes stay on securely.

I've tried a few hands-free shoes available today, and Kizik shoes (I tried the Kizik Athens and then may or may not have bought a few more pairs) are by far the most pleasant to wear.

They are supportive, and the heel cup is comfortable—a feature that I have not found to be true with other reinforced, heavy-duty heel cups designed to bounce back.

Kizik shoes are lightweight and feel like a regular shoe. I've worn them for occasional walks and errands, but the real test was when I recently wore them to a theme park with my family. I was able to slip them on and off whenever I needed to, and they remained miraculously comfortable all day.

I love the designs

Multiple Kizik shoes all facing right on pink background
Credit: Kizik

While there are a variety of shoe looks, we'd love to see Kizik offer even more.

Kiziks range in style from the "hey-look-at-me" bright, contrasting colorways to a discrete black sneaker. There are styles and colors to fit pretty much any tennis-shoe-appropriate occasion, and priced at around $100, they won't break the bank (unless you buy them in every color—no judgment). Since I began wearing Kiziks a few months ago, even more colors and styles have been released. I hope that trend continues, but that brings me to my next point.

What I don't like

There could be more shoe types

Black, gray, pink, and green women's Kizik sneakers
Credit: Kizik

Some of the Kizik designs are wild, while others look like regular tennis shoes.

As it's so difficult to find a good slip-on tennis shoe, I understand why most brands are starting here with their innovative heel designs. However, I would love a pair of ballet flats, ankle boots, or even pumps that don’t end up squished awkwardly to one side of the heel after so many uses.

Should you buy Kiziks ?

Yes, especially if you need sneakers that are easy to put on. I think there are probably lots of able-bodied people out there who don't like taking the time to tie shoes and end up slipping them on more often than not. This is tough on your shoes, and, if you find yourself trying to pry the top of the heel cup back into place after slipping your sneakers on, Kiziks are for you.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.