Slides have officially eclipsed flip-flops as the world’s poolside footwear of choice. These easy-to-wear sandals are casual, comfortable and practical, making them the perfect footwear for summer vacations, lounging around in the garden and heading to the beach.
Now, with the world opening back up in time for holiday season, it’s time to start thinking about arming yourself with a pair to see the hotter months through in style.
To help you out, we’ve created this guide to the best men’s sliders available right now, from simple rubber pool slides to premium leather and suede options. They range from budget-friendly to luxury and there’s something to suit every taste.
What are slides?
‘Slide’ is actually a pretty broad term. The style can vary a lot, particularly where materials are concerned, but generally speaking it’s any backless, open-toed sandal – essentially an open-toed flip-flop. They’ve been around since Ancient Rome, but their current wave of popularity began in the 1960s, and really took off in the 2010s when pop and rap icons started to get papped wearing them with socks around LA.
Today, slides are the go-to casual sandal and a practical summer shoes every man should own. They’re simple, easy and will allow you to tan, because having brown legs and pasty white feet is never a good look.
Before diving straight in and buying a pair of slides, there are a few things to keep in mind that’ll ensure you end up with the right ones for you. From what they’re made of to how they fit, these are the key purchasing considerations.
Slides are simple, so one of the key ways brands make them stand out from the crowd is through the use of colour, graphics, branding and patterns. There are some pretty bold designs out there, and if you want to rock a fluorescent pink pair with an oversized logo then who are we to stop you?
That said, we always find the mantra ‘less is more’ to be helpful when dealing with anything style related, and would encourage others to keep it in mind when shopping for slides.
Comfort is key when shopping for any type of footwear. On the whole, slides are pretty comfortable but it’s still a good idea to try a pair on before you commit, just as you would with a regular pair of shoes.
The fit should feel relaxed without being so loose that they fall off when you walk. Going with your regular shoe size is usually the best approach.
This is where slides can vary a lot. Material makes a big difference in terms of style and price. At the low end, simple rubber slides are the cheapest, simplest and most practical. They won’t get damaged by water or spilled piña coladas , and they’ll last a long time.
Then you have the premium slides. These ones are often made by luxury brands and feature upscale materials like Italian leather and suede. They’re a bit more elegant than their synthetic counterparts and tend to look better with a summer shirt.
The Best Men’s Slides For Summer
Below you’ll find a selection of Ape’s favourite slides this season, from basic rubber options for chilling around the pool to premium leather versions for those smarter holiday occasions.
The Arizona sandal from Birkenstock is nothing short of a footwear icon and the Barbados slide borrows a lot of what makes it so special. Crafted from light and flexible EVA, the sole provides the same level of comfort, shock absorption and arch support as you would find on the Arizona, with the added benefit of being completed waterproof.
Perfect for the beach or around the pool, try wearing them with a pair of tailored swimming shorts and an open linen shirt.
Simple, affordable and versatile, it’s no wonder this no-frills slide from Adidas is one of the best-selling options there is. It’s a rubber design with a thick strap to the forefoot bearing Adidas’ iconic Three Stripes branding.
A timeless classic that won’t break the bank and will go with anything and everything your vacation wardrobe can throw its way.
Suicoke’s fashion-forward take on sandals has earned the Japanese brand a cult following. The designs all share a distinctly utilitarian look and feature functional details like webbing straps and Velcro.
For anyone looking for a totally unique spin on the concept of a slide, the brand’s Moto-Cab is a great alternative.
Polo Ralph Lauren Classic Slides
With a simple rubber construction, they come in a number of colours, all bearing Polo Ralph Lauren’s instantly recognisable polo player branding to the strap.
Jil Sander Padded Slides
These oversized crossover-strap slides from queen of minimalism Jil Sander are a fashion-forward premium option made from beautiful Italian leather and featuring a moulded leather footbed for maximum comfort.
James Perse Suede Slides
A luxury take on the slide, this suede version from James Perse are made in Italy and feature contoured footbeds for even weight distribution.
They’re something a little bit different and will suit anyone looking for a versatile slide that can be worn to the beach or out for dinner. Just don’t wear them around the pool as suede doesn’t do well in the wet.
The Benassi slide from Nike is a time-honoured classic that won’t break the bank. It’s as basic as they come and doesn’t offer any weird or wonderful features, but it doesn’t need to – it just gets the job done exactly the way it’s supposed to.
Dr. Martens Dax Leather Slides
Trust Dr. Martens to produce a more rebellious take on the slide. The Dax design distils everything that’s great about the brand’s iconic 8-eyelet boot into sandal form – robust shape, air cushioned sole, signature yellow stitching and general no-f*cks -given attitude – creating an edgy, alternative take on summer footwear.
Wear with black shorts and a black tee for a fashion-forward take on vacation dressing.
Gucci Web Slides
From the Horsebit Loafer to the Ace sneaker, Gucci has a few iconic footwear designs under its green-and-red webbed belt.
But it’s not all sneakers and smart casual slip-ons – the Italian label’s signature slide is well on its way to becoming a luxury summer footwear staple too. The rubber sandal is made in Italy and features a commando-style sole as well as classic Gucci coloured stripes to the strap.