Gaps within a subducting plate can alter the surrounding mantle flow field and the overall subduction zone dynamics by allowing hot sub-slab mantle to flow through the gaps and into the mantle wedge. This through-slab flow can produce melting of the slab gap edges as well as significant upwelling that can lead to anomalous alkaline volcanism and/or dynamic uplift in the overriding plate, while the altered mantle flow patterns affect the trench evolution. Numerous geodynamic models have investigated the processes that form slab gaps, but few studies have examined the dynamics of slab gap-altered mantle flow, its effects on trench morphology and kinematics, or the controlling parameters on these processes. Here, laboratory subduction models with a pre-cut gap in a subducting silicone plate are used to explore how slab gap size, and slab gap depth influence the surrounding mantle flow field and trench dynamics. Results suggest that both the vertical extent and the depth of the top (trailing edge) of the slab gap are crucial parameters for modulating overall subduction dynamics. They show that a slab gap, which occurs near the surface and initially comprises 30% of the subducting plate width, can extend enough vertically in the slab to produce significant vertical flow through the gap. Changes to the trench geometry and kinematics are also evident in the models, such that double- and triple-arc geometries are formed during subduction of a shallow slab gap. All of these results are consistent with observations of slab gaps and their induced surface expressions, or the lack thereof, in Eastern Anatolia, East Java, Italy, and Argentina.