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What Are The Best Slides for Men and Women?

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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Slides are some of the most versatile shoes in your wardrobe, whether you’re grabbing the mail, hitting the pool, or going on a coffee run. “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,” says former Strategist writer Jordan Bowman. When we spoke to a panel of stylish people about the best slides for men and women, Birkenstocks predictably emerged as the gold standard for fashionably fugly footwear; still, several of our experts, from designers to stylists to fashion bloggers, recommended some dressier options for a nice dinner with friends. And a couple clogs and mules snuck in there to prod us to expand our definition of what a slide can be. Our findings below include everything from dainty and minimalist to chunky and robust — but we guarantee that all of them score top marks in comfort and convenience.

Best unisex slides

Adidas Adilette Slides
From $19

“Sometimes I just want to go out wearing bike shorts and a T-shirt and a nice comfortable slide,” says Ready to Stare fashion blogger Alysse Dalessandro, and in those instances she reaches for her trusty Adidas Adilettes. Whether she’s going through airport security or just stepping out for a coffee run, “They’re the go-to because they’re so, so, so comfortable. They’re just low-key and easy to wear,” she says. These slides are also beloved by cheerleaders, college students, and drag queens, so their iconic status is certainly well-deserved.

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. They’re also a favorite of Strategist writer Arielle Avila, who feels “as if I could walk for days in them,” and SuChin Pak, who says the brand’s proprietary “OOfoam” forces “you to put pressure on different points of your foot,” which helps reduce stress on sore feet, knees, and lower backs.

“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. 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; when former Cut fashion news writer Emilia Petrarca went in search of a good waterproof shoe, she described the Arizona EVA sandals as “basically the same as Crocs, only better-looking.” The rubbery 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.”

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. “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.” Stylist Philippe Uter is also a fan of the leather version, calling them “the ultimate go-to for comfort and a fashion-forward look.” When the weather cools down, he suggests throwing them on with a pair of thick knitted socks “so you can enjoy wearing them year-round.”

A stylish Birkenstock alternative, Message’s cork slides are “by far the best slides I’ve ever worn,” says Cuyana co-founder Shilpa Shah. They’re constructed with a stretchy elastic band that envelops your feet like a hug, and though Shah was “worried that the upper fabric would get loose over time,” she’s worn them for months and “hasn’t felt any difference.” Who What Wear editor Bobby Schuessler used to struggle with rubber slides giving him blisters even after a short period of time, but has worn the Message slides for a full day at the pool and beach with zero irritation. “I noticed the comfort aspect immediately,” he says. “It’s way more supportive than a regular pair of slides. And I got them in orange for a fun pop of color!”

Best slides for men

“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, of this Hoka entry into the casual/leisure space. “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, this is the best $50 you can spend.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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.”

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

Digital creator Ashley Carter loves Target’s more affordable version of the EVA Birkenstock, which goes up to a size 12 and comes in tons of bright, summery colors. “I started off with standard black, and now I have them in red and white too,” she says. Carter has owned her slides for about four years now, and they’re still going strong. “They still look new,” she says. They’re her go-to pool shoe or she’ll pair them with sweatpants and some funky-colored socks to run errands.

For a lighter-weight pair of Birkenstocks, former Strategist writer Hilary Reid owns and loves these single-strap ones. “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,” she says. Though she may not reach for them for a miles-long walk, they’re ideal “for running errands or for wearing around my apartment.” They also make great pool shoes — 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.]

Any time plus-size model Jordan Underwood does an outfit video for TikTok, “I’m wearing my Ugg slides,” they say. They have a medical condition that causes their legs to become “really swollen, and these slides have been one of the most comfortable shoes for me to wear because they’re really stretchy” and can accommodate swelling or wider feet in general. In addition to its forgiving elastic band and squishy, cloud-like platform, Underwood also appreciates the slide’s super-chunky, “Bratz-doll shoe” silhouette. “They really balance out my outfits,” they say.

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.”

These Maguire slides have been a go-to “several summers running” for model and writer Lydia Okello. From June to September, the Barcas are their “wardrobe workhorse sandal” because they’re “chic enough to wear to dinner but easy-going enough for a park hang.”

These Helsa slides have “just a hint of sportiness” and are “super-cute and versatile,” says stylist Djuna Bel. The puffy, marshmallow-y construction is “really, really comfortable, which is the best part. They’re so easy to slip on and go,” which, as a mom, is an extra plus for Bel.

According to Craighill e-commerce manager Rilka Noel, the leather on these Labucq slides “is so buttery, and just gets better with time.” She reaches for them more on special occasions rather than for everyday errand-running, such as parties or nice dinners with friends. “I love to style them with a long skirt or denim shorts. They can really be dressed up or down!”

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What Are the Best Slides for Men and Women?