Something interesting happened this summer. A Pool Slide Revolution, some may say. Of course, pool slides have been worn for years – by boys in the hood, with tracksuits. And, as their name suggests, by the pool. But this summer, they became relevant in a fashion context.
It's all about chic comfort. We pinpointed the start of this movement last September here. Just after Prada debuted intriguing toe-sock flats, and everyone was sporting New Balance or Nikes at the shows. Then, the summer started and pool slides became the shoe of choice, particularly with women. The trend can perhaps be linked to Céline's fur-lined Birkenstock-style flats for S/S13. Featured in the campaign shot by Juergen Teller, girls appeared lounging poolside in the furry beauties. But really this isn't practical for most occasions.
The traditional pool slide offers up so much more. Firstly, they are completely affordable. If you have small girl feet, you can even scoop up kids' ones. We are talking about a longstanding, cool shoe for under £20. Secondly, they are comfortable. Thirdly, and perhaps the best reason of all, is that they are unexpected; just like all brilliant things in fashion. In 1996, Alexander McQueen caused headlines with his "bumster" trousers. In 1997, Rei Kawakubo shocked her audience with a "lumps and bumps" collection. The Pool Slides will undoubtedly be one of the fashion memories of the 2010s. Birkenstocks could have easily have been the shoe of choice, or even the beautiful Chanel espadrilles. But pool slides won this time. A trend that started on the street.
"Perhaps the best reason of all, is that they are unexpected; just like all brilliant things in fashion"
Boys have been wearing Pool Slides for years. NOWNESS commissioning director and AnOther contributor Raven Smith has been a slide devotee for three years. "They are ironic, they are non-committal, they are cheap," he explains. "More freeing than a moccasin, less pretentious than a Birkenstock, slides give me what I hereby christen 'Aloof Feet'. It's summer in London and I don't want a fussy, mushy, show-off platform idiot jelly/cork hybrid shoe. I want to wear something comfortable but not look like I've completely let myself go and given up on fashion. Slides are the answer." Snoop Lion is always featuring his on his Instagram feed. RCA graduate and Fashion East designer Liam Hodges dressed all of his models in Pool Slides for his S/S14 collection.
Chic women wearing slides is certainly news. One of the forerunners of the trend is Sharmadean Reid, entrepreneur and founder of WAH. "Carri Cassette Playa and I have been wearing them for years," she explains. "We were influenced by Mexican kids in LA who wear them en route to play basketball. I love how loungey they are." Key exponents of the 2013 London Pool Slide revolution include stylist Caroline Newell, Victoria Young and Francesca Burns.
Our tips? Get some quick. They need to be worn during hot weather. Choose your brand: Nike slides have a padded strap and are great in black and white, or grey and neon. Adidas are classic, and are good in navy and white. If you want to keep designer, Gucci do these. Balance the sporty aesthetic with chic attire. Socks and slides are better for boys.
Text by Laura Bradley