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.
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
“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.