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What Are The Best Slides for Men and Women?

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As Strategist writers, we’re always noticing trends. Sometimes we notice them at the same time. That’s what happened with slides — shoes that you slip your foot in and out of, without having to lace or buckle anything — which felt particularly right for this especially local moment. To figure out why, we reached out to a panel of stylish people to find out their favorites. But first, we had a few things to discuss.

Hilary Reid: We both wanted to write about slides, so clearly slides are on the brain right now. Why do you think they’re relevant for this moment?

Jordan Bowman: Slides hold a special place in my heart and right now, everyone wants something you can wear just to go across the street. I think the most important function of a slide is whether or not they’re comfortable enough to wear inside but also rugged enough to take a stroll to the bodega or around the block. I found myself wondering about the best versions — and the most stylish, too. And I’m curious what made you think about slides.

Noted slides-wearer Dennis Rodman. Photo: Denny Keeler/Getty Images

HR: I was thinking similarly. It’s like, I go downstairs to check the mail four times a day, and the last thing I want to do is lace up shoes. Something you mentioned when we first talked about this, and that a trend forecaster I spoke to for a story last year mentioned, is this idea of “one mile wear,” which is a Japanese concept for clothing and shoes that you’d wear within a mile of your house, but still look presentable. A lot of the slides recommended by the stylish people we spoke to really fit that concept.

JB: Definitely. One thing that surprised me was how vast the definition of slides is to some people. When I think of slides, I think of those Adidas sandals with all the nubs in the sole or the Birkenstock Arizona. But a couple of the guys I spoke to also pushed clogs. They were like, “This isn’t a slide, really, but you do slide your foot in.” Which, fair. They like them because they’re hardy. But it’s like you said, people are really looking for the kind of footwear that you can wear in that one-mile radius and still be comfortable.

HR: And shoes that can still look nice, too. Some of the women we talked to recommended Birkenstocks, but I also think there’s a post-Birkenstock movement of wanting the comfort of a Birkenstock but with a little bit more style — something you could wear to dinner and look slightly dressed up in.

JB: I agree, though I’m still a Birkenstock loyalist. When I started to open up my definition of slides to include clogs or mules, I actually realized that one of my favorites is the Birkenstock Boston, which I’ve been wearing for more than a year. I thought I was going to get a thousand recommendations for those, but I ended up getting a lot of mentions for Arizonas instead.

HR: And, in the end, no one recommended the spiky Adidas ones.

Best simple slides for men

From $56

“I went down this wormhole maybe two years ago,” says designer Amardeep Singh. And he came out with Oofos Ooahhs, “the non-sport version without the logo.” Singh likes the low-key styling and simple shape of these machine-washable shoes. Unlike a lot of slide enthusiasts, however, he only wears his at home. “I don’t support slide-wearing in a major metropolitan area,” he says.

“Slides for me are all about practicality, so I tend to wear Birkenstocks EVA Arizonas to do everything around the house,” says Octavio Platon Akel, an illustrator and creator of the stylish footwear instagram page, Monsieur Saturday. The Arizona EVA is a classic slide; they’re waterproof and easy to clean so they make sense for the beach or a stroll around the block.

“I bought these just to walk the dog and became a full-on believer. These are far and away the most comfortable slides I have ever owned,” says Timothy Grindle, co-founder of Canoe Club. According to Copper Terrones, a sales manager at Canoe Club, Hoka is a traditional running company that has recently branched further into the casual/leisure space. “The recovery slide is easily one of the most comfortable footbeds we have come across,” Terrones says. “They feel substantial enough to run errands in and they are truly like walking on clouds,” Grindle adds. “If you are looking to do something for yourself to just make your life feel a little better, especially these days, this is the best $50 you can spend.”

Best stylish slides for men

According to Mike DeStefano, a style writer at Complex, “These things are super cozy. They’re my go-to footwear for the countless quick trips to the grocery store when I don’t want to lace up a pair of sneakers.” He also likes how the style of these slides makes it look like you put a little effort into your outfit. And despite the higher price, “they’re worth it,” he says. “I’ve had mine for over a year and they’ve held up no problem.”

Strategist columnist Chris Black used to equate Birkenstocks with “suburban Moms in late model SUVs and white guys in Umphrey’s McGee T-shirts.” But then he recently tried a pair of taupe suede Bostons: “It took some time to incorporate them into my look, but once I did, there was no looking back.” Justin Berkowitz, Men’s Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s, is a fan, too. “They are quite possibly the most comfortable and versatile shoes I own,” he says. “I love the molded footbed, and they take zero effort to put on and take off.” Berkowitz wears them with and without socks, and during quarantine they’ve been his go-to: “They work incredibly well with my current wardrobe choices,” he says.

Photographer Oliver Hooson, recommends the Zumas as an alternative to Birkenstock Bostons. They’re tough, and “I’ve always liked the hand-woven/moccasin style,” he says. “Some of my favorite brands, like engineered garments and Monitaly, use these for styling year over year.”

Best clogs for men

A few of the experts we spoke to also recommend the classic clog or mule when trying to get a ‘fit off during a short walk to the grocery store or — if you’re fortunate enough — your own garden. “The Hathenbruck Chillbies definitely appeals to my utilitarian fetish,” says James Bailey, a creative director who’s worked with clients including Rihanna and the Weeknd. “Anything that looks like it’s an off cut on the factory floor or that will only get better as it’s beaten up is where my heart truly lies.” Drew Romero, a floor manager at Dover Street Market, likes Chillbies too. “Closed-toed mules and clogs are more my avenue.”

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For a less expensive alternative to Chillbies, Romero recommends rubber Sloggers, calling them “great for the indoors or gardening.”

Romero is also a fan of these low-key but tasteful clogs from Birkenstock. “You get hundreds of years of orthopedic consideration without a huge price tag,” he says. “The A630’s ultra-wide footbed allows my foot to relax and is very comfortable.” Although the chunky sole may turn a few heads in the street, “the black colorway definitely humbles them a bit,” he says. They’re super easy to clean and maintain and “they have a substantial weight to them. They don’t feel cheap or negligible. There’s even a steel-toe version if you really want to get crazy with it,” Romero says.

Best outdoors mocs for men

If you’re looking for slide-like footwear that can handle some light hiking, Antonio Ciongoli, Creative Director of 18 East, recommends the Merrell Hydromoc. He’s been wearing his all summer. “They have the ease and comfort of a slide but are actually molded to your foot so that I can hit trails with them without worrying that they’ll slip off,” he says. And if you happen to come across a stream on the trail, just walk right through. “I can jump in without worrying about getting them wet or cutting up my feet.”

Merrell Hut Moc
From $42

Pete Macnee, co-founder of Adsum, is a big fan of the Merrell Hut Moc. “It’s a hybrid between an indoor slipper and mule/slide that you can wear outside,” he says. “Great for slipping on after a bike ride or tending to the BBQ.” The Hut Moc has a breathable mesh lining and microfiber collapsible heel that makes them super easy to get into.

Best slides for women

It didn’t come as much of a surprise that Birkenstocks were the favorite slides of many of the women we talked to, as well. “I tried to get into Crocs, I really did, but they just don’t do it for me,” says The Cut fashion news writer Emilia Petrarca. “Some people make their goofiness seem cool or funny, but for whatever reason, I can’t pull it off.” Still, Petrarca says she needed a good waterproof shoe, and came across this pair of rubbery Birkenstocks that she describes as “basically the same as Crocs, only better-looking.” The EVA rubber material makes the shoes lightweight — like “walking on foam packaging” — and, importantly, blister-proof. “I wouldn’t recommend walking around New York City in them, though,” notes Petrarca. “Especially not the white pair, which I have — they’re too delicate.”

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For something a little more hardy, you can’t go wrong with a classic Arizona. “I’m leaning on comfort and reliability when it comes to footwear this summer, and there’s no better friend than my trusty Birkenstock Arizonas, that iconic sandal which so seamlessly molds to the shape of your feet,” says Rachel Coleman, a social media lead at Berlin-based travel booking agency GetYourGuide. “This summer I’m trying out a white leather version of the classic slide, and I had forgotten how easy it is to break in this sandal — no blisters required.” Coleman told us she’ll pair the Arizonas with just about anything in her summer wardrobe, but that lately she’s been throwing on with a “long flowy sundress” and shopper tote.

For a lighter-weight pair of Birkenstocks, these are what I (Hilary) own and love. I remember being surprised by how reasonable the price was when I bought them, and surprised again by how comfortable they turned out to be. I might not wear them for a miles-long walk, but for running errands or for wearing around my apartment, they’re ideal. They make great pool shoes, too — the EVA dries in minutes, and the strap, which is a little more substantial than flip-flops, feels secure on the foot so that you don’t worry about slipping out of them. [Editor’s note: This style is currently available in very limited sizing on Amazon, but more sizes are available on Birkenstock’s website.]

From $31

This strappy, sporty slide comes recommended to us by Rilka Noel, e-commerce planner at Kith. “Tevas are my legit everyday sandal this summer especially during quar — I wear them as a house sandal and also have a pair for outside,” she says. “They’re so comfy, waterproof, and cute.” Like the Birkenstocks, these Tevas have EVA soles, which gives them a cushion-y footbed that stays dry and also cool on the hottest summer days. These are also an appealing option if you’re thinking about sustainability: The upper straps are made from 100% recycled plastic and the shoes are completely vegan.

Best stylish slides for women

There’s a line of thought that if you’re going to spend a lot of money on a new pair of shoes, the shoes shouldn’t just be especially nice-looking — they should be comfortable enough to wear all the time. Alyssa Coscarelli calls this bold pair from Proenza Schouler and Birkenstock’s recent collaboration, “the slides of the summer.” And they’re worth the splurge, she says. “They’re an investment, but I’m fairly confident in saying they could be the only shoe one wears the entire season — comfortable, versatile, but still cute enough to run into someone you haven’t seen in four months at the grocery store and feel okay about it.”

Designer Susan Alexandra is also in the Birkenstocks club, but her main criteria for a pair is that “they must be absolutely weird.” She hunts for hers at independent shoe stores, which often carry pairs in patterns that aren’t available online. “I’m schlepping around in a well worn pair of Birkenstock Madrid’s I got in Paris last summer (thanks for letting me say that),” says Alexandra. “The strap is a hologram.” And while that exact pair isn’t currently online, she pointed us toward this “weirdo pair” that is.

Noel also told us about this pair of slides that have uppers made from a mix of suede, nylon, and canvas, but all the comfort of an extra-thick EVA sole. “I love the Suicoke sandals because they have a streetwear silhouette, but are still sporty, which is what I aim for in my everyday wardrobe,” she says.

Best minimalist slides for women

If you’re looking for the comfort of a Birkenstock but with a bit more elegance, Molly Elizalde, a co-founder of the new media startup Your Magic recommends these. “I love the ease of slides, but my PT has told me a million times how bad they are for your feet (little support and your toes have to work to keep them on the foot),” she says. “Beyond Birkenstocks, it’s pretty difficult to find a supportive sandal that also feels modern and stylish — but the Emme Parsons Bari sandals are IT.” The comfort comes from a soft and supportive leather footbed (“I’d say just as much as any Birkenstocks,” notes Elizalde). And despite the minimalist silhouette, the shoes feel as secure as clunkier competitors. “I was worried that the minimal straps would make my toes feel too free, but it takes no effort to keep this shoe on your foot,” Elizalde says. “And unlike Birkenstocks, they elevate a casual biker shorts or frayed denim summer outfit — and with just as much ease.”

For a similarly minimalist slide at a lower price point, consider this triple-strap pair, which comes recommended by Melanie Masarin, founder of Ghia. “I like minimalist slides that are versatile and can be easily dressed up or down from day to night. These slides from Mango fit the bill perfectly,” says Masarin. “They’re definitely one of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I own.” The slides come in both a dressier dark brown shade and a versatile camel, and have a leather upper and footbed that we imagine would break in well with wear.

“I always struggle to find summer sandals that are comfortable and at the same time stylish, but I was truly impressed by Nomasei sandals,” says Marina Testino, founder of digital communications agency Point Off View. “They’re honestly probably the best sandals I’ve owned,” she says of the sandals, which combine a sleek neoprene upper with a cushiony terry cloth footbed, making them almost like a hotel slipper you can wear both around the house and out and about. “I love wearing colors and tend to go for neutral colors for shoes so I can combine with everything — I thought the bright red would be difficult to wear with color, but honestly it’s super fun and looks great with everything.”

Best dressy slides

If you prefer something with a closed toe, stylist Djuna Bel pointed us toward this elegant pair of mule slides from Le Monde Beryl. “These slides have become my house shoes — since I’ve been spending the majority of my time at home, I still want to look chic and be comfortable,” Bel says. “They’re super comfortable and easy to wear, and easy to keep on your foot when you’re walking around.” Plus, she says, “it’s really quality leather, so they don’t need a break in period.” She ordered hers in a size up so they’re easy to slip on with some extra room. “They’re very versatile,” she says. “I think they look super cute with my pajama sets, but also look great with easy summer dresses, jeans and a cami.”

For another dressy option, Noel suggests this large-buckled pair from ATP Atelier. “These were a splurge when I went to a wedding last year. ATP’s leather is super soft and doesn’t need any breaking in — they’re just delicious,” she says. The wide upper covers most of the foot, making these an ideal hybrid between an open- and closed-toe shoe — and one we can imagine wearing into the early fall.

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What Are the Best Slides for Men and Women?