Shoe Glossary: Slide

This footwear staple has existed for centuries

Low Section Of Woman Sitting With Pink High Heels Sandals On Boardwalk
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A slide, also known as a slide sandal, is a backless, open-toed shoe that gets its name from being easy to slide on and off the foot. The shoe has single or multiple straps that run across the center top part of the shoe. The strap(s) can be a thick, thin, woven, braided, twisted or knotted, and it can cover a small part of the foot or the nearly the entire foot from the toe to the ankle, but in order for a shoe to be categorized as a slide, it cannot have any toe or ankle straps.

The slide is a type of sandal, but not all sandals are slides. For example, flip flops might be easy to slip on, but they aren't slides. Slides are available is dressy, casual and athletic styles, and they can be completely flat or have any heel height, like a mule.


The slide has been around for centuries. It's a type of sandal: the simplest, earliest form of footwear. Some of the oldest findings have been found in archeological digs in the American Southwest that are more than 8,000 years old. Over time the shape of sandals evolved to include a protective sole and a v-shaped strap to stay on the foot.

Adidas Slides

Perhaps the most iconic type of slides in the Adidas Adilette. The Adilette was introduced in the early '70s are the "go anywhere, do anything" slide. Since their debut the slides have been particularly popular amongst athletes, as the Adilette is the perfect post-game shoe for walking around a dirty locker room floor.

Adidas has since gone on to offer several different variations of the popular slide, some featuring velcro straps and massaging rubber nubs in the footbed Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a well-known wearer of Adidas slides, and the shoes appear throughout the movie based on Facebook's conception, "The Social Network."

The Slide Today

The slide is having a fashion moment. Athleisure was an already burgeoning trend when the slide truly took off after French fashion house Chloé featured a pair of high fashion slides in a 2013 resort look book. Now athletic wear is appropriate garb to wear outside of the gym, and Adidas slides, previously thought of as shower shoes, are popular for men and women.

How to Wear the Slide

A sporty slide like the Adidas Adilette or something similar is an unexpected, yet significantly fashionable, addition to any casual outfit. But slides don't have to be sporty. In fact, many designers, including Prada, Burberry and Marc Jacobs, are incorporating high fashion slides into their collections. Trendy slides will keep you looking chic and pulled together; not disheveled, like you just got out of the shower or are running late to an 8 a.m. college lecture.

If the slide is still too casual for your liking, try a mule. Like the slide, the mule has reemerged within the past few years as the kind of shoe like strikes to perfect balance between casual and dressy.

Men and women can treat the slide as they would any other type of sandal. The shoe is conducive to warm weather and looks great with shorts, pants, capris, skirts and dresses.