What is the Difference between Sling Bags and Shoulder Bags?

Sling bags and shoulder bags

The difference between sling bags and shoulder bags might not be as clear as you think. Sometimes, they look like each other except for some small difference you might easily notice. They both have different types that might make it even more confusing to differentiate them from each other. These two bags are in the handbag family, and they share some similarities. So, you need to know some of their similarities to help you see the difference between them.


A handbag is a bag, sometimes small, with straps. Women are the main users of these bags. They own them for their everyday use, including workplace, evening events, weddings, shopping and other casual outings. Some women and men carry sling bags and shoulder bags to these places.

Differences Between Sling Bags and Shoulder Bags

Sling Bags

Sling bags are backpacks with one strap that is long. The producers designed it to carry it on one shoulder in a parallel manner, or across your body. It is a casual bag, and some people called it the one-shoulder backpack. When you carry a sling bag, you can access the items in your bag while wearing it, faster and more conveniently than when you’re carrying a backpack. Unlike shoulder bags, sling bags have adjustable straps to make carrying them comfortable. In sling bags, one end is attached to the top while the other is attached to the bag’s bottom. That style makes it comfortable for you to hang the bag at your back, and you can get it off easily. Also, when you’re carrying a sling bag, it faces behind you, not like a shoulder bag that stays at your side, either right or left.

A sling has different sizes depending on your choice, but they generally have enough to carry things like books. Also, they are strong enough to withstand the weight of items like textbooks. They can use different materials in making a sling bag; some of them are canvas, leather, silk, and cotton. Some of them have pockets with zipping both inside and outside the bag. They have two designs which are the purse-style sling bag, and the backpack sling bag. Students love this bag because of the comfort and convenience they experience when they carry it. 

Types of Sling Bags

Mono Shoulder Sling Bags

Mono shoulder sling bags are a kind of backpack with one strap, and you can hang it parallel or across your body. The strap is usually wide with a zip in it to use it like a normal backpack. The mono shoulder sling bag is a backpack sling bag.

Crossbody Sling Bags

Crossbody sling bags

Crossbody Sling bags are also backpack sling bags. It is a combination of both the messenger bag and the backpack. As its name implies, you can wear it across your body.

Wallet Crossbody Bags

Wallet crossbody bags are purse-style sling bags. It has a strap attached to it, and it fits for casual outings.

Shoulder Bags

Chain shoulder bags

Shoulder bags are one of the types of handbags that comes with many variants. It has a strap so that you can hang it over your shoulder. The strap of a shoulder bag is not as long as that of a sling bag. Unlike a sling bag, the shoulder bag stays at either your right or left side depending on where you choose to hang it. Also, it has a fixed strap. Like the sling, a shoulder bag can also have zips and pockets depending on the design. The shoulder bag is large enough to hold your things for everyday use. Women also use the shoulder bag for fashion, and to carry their belongings. You can use a shoulder bag for both formal and casual settings. 

Types of Shoulder Bags

Hobo Bag

The hobo handbag is a bag with a slouchy shape and long shoulder straps. They are large and can contain many things, and they have a crescent shape. Women use this bag for fashion, and they fit more for casual outings.

Tote Bag

Shoulder Bags tote bag

A tote bag is one of the kinds of shoulder bags with an open or zipped top. The structured tote is suitable for formal use like carrying to work or business. Due to the large size of the bag, you can also use it for shopping. Producers make tote bags from different materials canvas, leather and woven material. They make some of them with eco-friendly products such as recycled fibre. 

Shopper Bag

The bag is rectangular, and you can use it for shopping just like a tote bag. It has a long strap so that you can hang it comfortably on your shoulder.


The difference between sling bags and shoulder bags is mainly on how you carry them. A sling is a one-strap backpack, and it can be in the form of a purse-style, while shoulder bags are bags with a fixed strap to hang over the shoulder.