Looks aren't everything. Summer slides, uninspiring as they may sometimes be, are among the season's crop of It shoes, along with the likes of fold-back mules and slip-on loafers.
I can’t quite put my finger on the trend’s origin – I recall a mad-dash to Zara when the store brought out those metallic pool slides last year. Throughout the summer months, they were frequently spotted at pools and beaches, and peeking out from the lengthy hems of abayas. I’m pretty sure that’s when it became a mass-market trend.
At first, I wasn’t convinced of its appeal. Flat slides, often times with rubber soles, aren’t the most arousing of shoes, even for a girl who values comfort and lives in trainers. For me, they were as lacklustre as – dare I say it – flip-flops. But during the past year, I have come to embrace the shoe silhouette, especially after seeing how major fashion labels are putting their own unique stamps on the sandals. From Marni’s bold, bejewelled slides to Proenza Schouler’s punky versions, the market is saturated with loads of options for the summer season, and a great many of them are as covetable as a new pair of heels.
Let’s start with Hermès’s classic Oran sandal – it was the shoe of last summer, and is something of a staple in the shoe collections of fashion-loving Arabs. If you’re looking for a timeless investment, this is it. Assuming you keep them in good condition, they will last years, and never lose their trend appeal.
There are summer slides available for practically every personality type and seasonal trend. If the whole minimalist aesthetic is your thing, then opt for simple slides, in all-black or all-white, with thin front straps. Give the style further edge with a pop of metallic. For more amped-up slides that feature minimalism with a chic twist, look to Balenciaga.
Though they have quite basic roots, slides needn’t be drab. That being said, even if they’re unadorned rubber renditions from Nike or Adidas, intended for more of an athletic outing, sporty slides can be worked into a more attractive outfit plan, especially one with “athleisure” influences. A pair of leggings, loose white top and classy leather handbag (preferably with a Gucci or Louis Vuitton monogram print, or ritzy gold hardware) can be finished off easily with a pair of monochrome slides, rubber soles, three stripes or “swoosh” logo and all.
If you’re looking for footwear with more of a unique flair, seek out summer slides with fun embellishments. From crystals to pom-poms, there are some intriguing styles currently in store, both on the high street and from luxury labels. Bright, bejewelled ornaments atop pastel, gold or silver straps can even be great options for formal affairs, and with Ramadan and Eid around the corner, I expect them to be in high demand. For the ultimate fancy flat sandal, look no further than the thick-strapped, jewel-studded design by Rochas.
On a personal note, I have been obsessing quite unhealthily over the slides from Gucci’s Blooms collection. They’re essentially black rubber pool slides, with the signature Gucci Blooms canvas print strap. I was on the verge of buying them, but was steered away by colleagues, who are clearly more practically minded than I am. Truth be told, their advice was sound: Dh1,100 is, after all, a hefty chunk of money for simple slides made of rubber, even if they’re designer ones. Must I instead invest in a pair of Hermès slip-ons? Well, there goes a big part of my May salary.