Though we’re spending lots (and lots, and lots) of time at home, there are still instances where venturing outside is necessary. So what’s a person to do when they have to take their wine bottles to the recycling bin, and they don’t want to wear their slippers outside because outdoor shoes and indoor shoes should be separate things? And they also happen to be way too lazy to put sneakers on? (It’s me, I am the person.) A pair of flip flops may seem like the obvious choice, but slide shoes for summer are better for your feet, both in the foot-health sense and also an aesthetic one. And they’re just as easy to wear.
Miguel Cunha, DPT, founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City, says that he tells his patients to avoid flip flops as much as possible. “It’s fine if you must wear them at the gym or the beach to avoid walking barefoot, but walking with flip flops for prolonged periods of time causes our foot to collapse, affecting our gait and posture,” he says. “[This] can lead to a tremendous amount of stress, not only to the foot but to the rest of the body.” Dr. Cunha says that slides are more supportive and more comfortable.
“Summer slide shoes are somewhat similar to a surgical shoe [writer’s note: sexy] as they have a harder sole than most traditional sandals or flip flops and can accommodate more uneven and hard terrain which, of course, can help minimize injury,” he says. He adds that the soles are often ribbed, which gives you more traction and stability.
Ideally, your slide shoes should have about a ¾-inch wedge to keep pressure off of your Achilles tendon. Avoid completely flat slides, as these contribute to the “collapse of the arch,” he says, which can cause foot pain, in addition to other issues like knee and back pain. He gives extra points for slides that have an arched footbed.
Shop now: Roam Neon Slider Sandals, $126
These vegan leather slides have memory foam incorporated into the strap and have a molded footbed for support. Perfect for the long, socially-distanced walks around your neighborhood you take when you can’t stand being in your apartment anymore and you’ve already screamed into your pillow your allotted three times that day.
Shop now: Dr. Scholl’s Original Eva Sandal, $30
The wooden clog version is the OG Dr. Scholl’s shoe and, similar to Birkenstocks, it’s also been embraced throughout fashion history. I’m partial to this sportier pair, because they’re less expensive than the wooden iteration. Also, when I slip them on I can pretend it’s to go hang poolside, not just to collect the Postmates order that is the “last time I’m getting takeout this month.”
Shop now: Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle, $150
Podiatrists love Birks! I love the crisp look of this white pair*, even though I am a person who absolutely could not keep them clean. Luckily, there are multiple colors to choose from, including navy, black, and brown.
*One of the photos on the site styles them with black tights. Please do not do this.
Shop now: Vionic Hayden Platform Slide, $64 (originally $130)
These slides come in black and red, and are also available in wide sizes. Since the design is simple, they basically go with all of your quarantine looks, from the tie-dye sweatsuit you’ve been wearing for the last four days to the silk bathrobe you impulse purchased after polishing off a bottle of sauvy b while watching Palm Springs.
Shop now: Bared Footwear Piculet, $175
I spent far too much time Googling “is a slide always a sandal?” and I still don’t know if these technically qualify. But they are easy to slip on, very cute, and created by a podiatrist so I’m including them. Also, Dr. Cunha says that slingbacks are a good option because they “usually have some heel height to them and they support the ankle.” I say these are the ones I will reach for when I’m too lazy to redo my at-home pedicure, and I don’t want my unpolished, grown out toenails to be the reason why my hot neighbor and I don’t live happily ever after. That should be due to something normal, like my anxious attachment style and inability to stop talking about astrology.
Shop now: Cole Haan Grand Ambition Flatform Slide Sandal, $80 (originally $160)
These make me nostalgic for the ’90s, not just because of the fashion but because of, well, *gestures vaguely at the hellscape that is 2020*.