Not so long ago, the term “slides”, or “sliders”, didn’t register as a type of footwear. I once Googled “slider” and a gallery of mini burgers appeared. Now, however, a similar search also reveals a selection of slip-on sandals with a single wide band over the top of the foot. They have evolved from being poolside footwear into the footwear for this summer.
“Slides are being reimagined and elevated, and giving traditional sandals a run for their money,” says Sandra Choi, creative director at Jimmy Choo. The brand’s moulded-rubber Rey slides (£195) contour to the foot and have the house logo in graphic relief across the band; in black, navy and white they feel like a clear reinterpretation of the sportswear originals, but in teal, orange, silver or gold, they take on a whole new statement-making impact.
Louis Vuitton prides itself on reinterpreting street trends, and the Honolulu mule (£980) is a turbocharged slide featuring technical straps, reflective logo and sports sandwich sole, while the LV-monogrammed Waterfront mule (£445) fuses sportswear and street attitude with the brand’s iconic print. A slider band is prime real estate for a logo. Giuseppe Zanotti takes a similar approach to Vuitton with the GZ monogram repeat-print Brett Signature slides (£250) in black or white. Versace adds its Medusa head to its Palazzo pool slides (£220) that come in seven colours, including black, red or green, while Hermès takes its signature “H” motif and uses it to create the band silhouette, for a cool take on the trend. Notably, these latter slides (£510) come in leather rather than the more usual rubber (choose from black, brown or white) though I’m especially keen on those in grained denim. Further sophisticated leather interpretations can be found at Berluti, where the slides (£660) are made from a single piece of nubuck calfskin. In brown they are timeless; in off-white or dark cobalt blue, more futuristic; and etched with the house “Scritto” motif, elegant with a twist.
The holy grail of men’s sandals can be found at Alvaro, where old-school Mediterranean chic is updated for a clued-up contemporary crowd. “I grew up in Spain, where from May to September we would only wear sandals. I wanted to design something that felt easy to wear and fresh,” says founder and creative director Alvaro González. “I slimmed down the band to a width that feels secure yet also covers the optimum amount of foot – guys tend to avoid drawing attention to their feet – and pared back on the logo to create a low-key style.” The Alex (£195) has two parallel bands and comes in black or tan, while the Antonio (£195) has crossover bands in either pale tobacco or black calfskin. Versace’s Greca cross-strap leather slides (£440) have a similar Grecian feel.
Several brands have taken the leather slide and added a heel strap. They may not strictly qualify as slides, but they are definitely from the same family. Santoni’s Erik (from €490) in brown or black calfskin is a handsome, sturdy slide/sandal, while Louis Leeman has a heel-strap pair (£440) in crocodile-embossed calfskin. (Giuseppe Zanotti also uses mock croc to striking effect for more traditional slides, £410.) Leeman’s cross-strap version (£440) in woven satin with leather sole is cool too. “Slides in top-end materials can work with a variety of casual outfits,” says Leeman, who wears his brown calfskin pair with white jeans.
González suggests wearing slides with socks – as does Choi. While many might still consider socks and sandals a heinous combination, this new interest in slides has inspired a shift in attitude. I’ve seen socks paired with slides from the hip hangouts of Hackney to the smarter shores of Sicily. The look works particularly well at Gucci, where fringed, horsebit-snaffle leather slides (£450) in black or tan leather are teamed with oatmeal socks and jeans. It’s not for everyone, but it’s very cool – and extremely comfortable.
Socks or no socks, the slide is one style that has well and truly got its feet under the table.