Slide sandals, or simply “slides,” can be a great option when it comes to casual summer footwear.
Our detailed guide below covers everything you need to know about slide sandals including:
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What Are Slides?
Slides are a classic style of summer shoes consisting of a sole and an upper connected to the sole that covers the instep. The toes and ankle are exposed, and they get their name because you “slide” into and out of them.
The upper can be one solid piece as you see at left, and sometimes it may be criss-crossed in an “X” fashion.
See Bespoke Unit’s Guide To Slides below to learn more:
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Top 8 Best Men’s Slides
The Adilette CF+ by Adidas is a classic single-band slide featuring a Cloudfoam Plus footbed for comfort and support. We’re particularly fond of the simple design with the classic three white stripes that Adidas has made so famous.
How To Wear
Wear these with a bathing suit for a sporty beach look or pair them with active-wear shorts in the summertime.
The Adilette CF+ slides are available in a wide variety of colorways. We recommend the Navy Blue if you’re in need of versatile slide shoes for the summertime. However, there are plenty of bolder colors to choose from, such as Royal Blue or Scarlet Red.
The Darwyn Cross Band by Rockport is a great casual slide for the summer. These slide sandals feature a leather crossband upper, as well as an EVA footbed and shock-absorbent cushioning for extra comfort.
How To Wear
Put these on with a pair of khaki-colored shorts and a polo shirt for a classic summertime look that will fit right in at a backyard BBQ or a sunny day spent poolside.
These are available in “Coach Brown” leather and “Brown II” leather. We prefer the Coach Brown leather which has a nice sheen to it that looks great and adds a bit of formality to an otherwise informal style of shoe.
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If you’re in search of the perfect athletic slides then look no further. The Ultra Comfort by Nike is a particularly comfortable slide shoe with an undeniably sporty look.
How To Wear
These are just about athletic as slides get so they are a great option for wearing to and from the gym, as well as in the locker room. Even when you’re not at the gym the Nike Ultra Comfort slides are perfect for wearing with active-wear and other athletic clothing while lounging around at home.
This particular slide is available in black or light grey. We recommend the grey which has a cool modern look that adds to the overall athletic style of the shoe.
The Fraisier by Lacoste is chic slide that would be perfect for walking across the perfectly maintained grass that connects the tennis courts to the lavish mansion at your summer home in the Hamptons. But don’t worry, the multi-million dollar home is not required for these slide shoes and they’ll go just as well at whatever beach or lakeside town you vacation at in the summer.
How To Wear
Pair these with green chino-style shorts for a fun look that will help to accentuate the Lacoste alligator logo. Alternatively, consider pairing them with white shorts and a bright polo shirt for a look that is chic and casual at the same time.
We recommend going with the traditional white and green color combination for a clean summer look. However, the Fraisiers are also available in several other colors like red, navy and black.
The New Balance PureAlign Recharge combines the performance and comfort of an athletic slide with the slightly more conservative look of a leather slide. The is can go with a pair of chino shorts
How To Wear
Although these are techinically athletic slides, but they look best with chino shorts as opposed to athletic gear. Opt for a pair of shorts in a neutral color, such as beige or a mid-grey tone, and throw on a casual blue t-shirt or other summer color.
We’re big fans of the brown and black combo shown above. These are also available in a full black version, but we think the two-tone brown and black is a much more appropriate option for the summer.
The Tarifa by Pikolinos is an eye-catching slide featuring a calf leather upper with a double criss-cross design. While slide are certainly an informal style of shoe, these are definitely on the more formal end of the spectrum and they are quite versatile.
How To Wear
Wear these on your next vacation to the Carribean or while walking around town at the shore this summer. The nice leather upper gives you the option to dress these up a bit with a nice pair of shorts and golf shirt.
Pikolinos Tarifa slides are available in black leather and a light brown leather. We really like the light brown leather option, but these work just as well in black.
Men’s Slide Sandals: Where Do They Come From?
Many of us saw these in our college dorms, as it was unadvisable to allow your bare feet to touch the floor in the communal showers. Their origins go back much, much further.
As you can see, sandals are a primitive form of footwear. There’s not a whole lot going on in terms of construction, so it’s no surprise that they’re the oldest shoe style known to humankind. The oldest ones were found, interestingly, in what is now Oregon in the United States. Carbon dating puts them at approximately 10,000 years old!
Though this doesn’t necessarily apply to slides, the ancient Greeks and Egyptians wore sandals quite frequently.
In modern times, flip-flops became popular in the United States shortly after the Second World War. Slides have been right there with them the whole time, though their popularity is arguably not as ubiquitous as their thonged cousins.
How To Wear Slide Sandals
When the weather gets hot, it can be tough to work up the motivation to wear full shoes. Even the most dedicated of us will have days when even the lightest of shoes are just too much. Toe-flaunting controversy aside, it behooves us men to have some really lightweight options at our fingertips. Or should we say toe tips? Or perhaps tippy-toes?
Flip-flops aren’t the only summertime footwear on the block, guys. Slides are great options that are equally as comfortable. They offer both a different look and relief for men who don’t care to have anything in between their toes.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when wearing slides:
Pedicures & You
Like their flip-flop cousins, slides leave your toes exposed. We’ll get into the question of whether or not this is appropriate for non-beach or locker room wear in the next section, but for now let’s assume that it’s kosher to wear these open-toed numbers as you would any other shoe.
Your. Feet. Can. Not. Be. Gross.
If your toenails are overgrown, trim them. If you have toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, or any other affliction that appears unhealthy, treat it before exposing your toes in public. We shower, brush our teeth, and apply deodorant before leaving the house partly because it’s bad manners to subject other people to our often-unpleasant body odor.
The same logic applies to forcing people to look at your gross toes.
If you have to get a pedicure, do so. It won’t kill you.
Formality: Can I Wear These In The City?
Short answer: yes, but only if your feet aren’t gross as outlined above. Even this is a point of contention, as many folks feel as if slides and other such footwear should be kept at home, at the beach, or in the locker room.
Regardless of which side of this debate you fall on, slides are casual. They’re often sold in bright colors that can’t really be dressed up, and even simple black or brown ones aren’t dressy enough for anything more than casual trousers. To wear them with anything more formal is to miss the point.
Here’s a brief breakdown of what to wear slides with:
Jeans, shorts, & casual trousers: Slides of any color or material, making sure they’re coordinated with your trousers or at least some other part of your outfit. Remember that slides made of black or dark brown leather have a dressier vibe than more colorful ones made of rubber. Keep the darker ones for dinner or drinks out and wear the colorful ones during the day for more casual affairs, like brunch or grocery shopping.
Don’t wear these with socks.
Slides are for warm weather unless you are looking to intentionally contract frostbite. This generally means three months out of the year for many places in the world. If you happen to live in a tropical paradise like Hawaii, Santorini, or Jacksonville, Florida, you can wear them all year round.
For those of us in more temperate climates, here’s a breakdown:
- Spring: N/A (unless it’s a particularly hot late spring day, in which case see the summer guidelines below)
- Summer: Bright colors during the day, black or brown at night
- Autumn: N/A
- Winter: N/A
Tips On Managing Slide Discomfort
Though slides will avoid you having anything in between your toes like you’d have with flip-flops, like any sockless shoe, they can present their own host of issues.
The most common issue with slides is uncomfortable rubbing against either or both sides of the feet. This doesn’t happen in every case, but certainly in enough cases to warrant a mention here. How can you deal with this? There are a couple of ways:
- Use a lot of leather conditioner and use it often to soften the upper if it’s made of leather.
- Wear them inside with socks to break them in. Remove your socks before wearing them outside.
- Band-Aid Friction Block (link will take you to Amazon). This stuff is like magic, but you’ll have to reapply periodically.
Are Slide Sandals For Me?
If you live in a place where it gets hot for any amount of time during the year, you should definitely own a pair of sandals, and slides are a great option. It’s just a matter of whether or not you prefer them aesthetically to flip-flops.
If your feet are in presentable condition, you would be well-served by grabbing a pair of slides. Whether or not you prefer to wear them in town or only while on vacation is entirely up to you. In fact, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue in the comments section. Let us know!
Want to learn more about other styles of shoes and men’s footwear in general? Visit some of our other helpful resources below:
- Best Flip Flops & How To Wear Them
- Top Boat Shoes & How To Wear Them
- Best Summer Shoes
- All Shoe Styles
"Got my new slides just in time for summer! Thanks for the great recommendations."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★
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