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In Fashion, what are Slides?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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In fashion, slides are a style of shoe which can range from formal to casual. As a general rule, slides are designed in such a way that the wearer can easily slide his or her foot out of the shoe. This is the only distinguishing feature of slides, and the term could be said to apply to a large number of shoe styles. Slide shoes are popular among both men and women, and are readily available at shoe stores, especially in the summer. Many types of slides are available for an assortment of occasions and garments.

One of the most classic examples of the slide is a mule. Any type of backless shoe can be called a mule. High heeled dress sandals might be classified as mules, as long as they are backless, and so can sheepskin lined house slippers for cold times of year. As can be seen, mules run the gamut in terms of style and intended use. Dress mules are very common, especially in warm climates where open shoes are more comfortable. Mules are also used as casual shoes, because they can be kicked on and off with ease. With mules, sizing is also not as crucial for the shoes, since the backless design permits feet of varying sizes.

Dress slides tend to be made with high quality materials and decorative accents. Any type of material can be used to make dress slides, including leather, lace, ribbon, and cotton. Dress slides are decorated with colorful patterns, embroidery, beading, metalwork, inlay, and other details which make them distinctive. Generally, dress slides are worn by women, and they are designed to coordinate with simple dresses and skirts.

More casual slides are worn by men and women. House slippers often take the form of slides, as do a number of casual shoes designed for wear around the garden. These slides may be made from durable washable materials like plastics, or from warm layers which provide insulation, like lambswool or flannel. These casual slides are designed for comfort, rather than good looks, and are often readily available at low cost in shoe stores. Some luxury versions, however, can cost as much as dress shoes, reflecting the high quality of the components of some casual slides.

Slides are also given out at spas, hotels, and athletic facilities so that guests do not walk barefooted on public floors. These slides are usually washed with hot water and antibacterial soaps after use, to ensure that infections such as athlete's foot are not passed from guest to guest. These slides are provided as a courtesy, to help guests step out of their daily life and prepare for a spa treatment, hotel stay, swim, workout, or similar activity. In many cases, the shoes are also available for purchase as souvenirs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
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