Please can we all just agree to stop wearing pool sliders now?
It’s getting embarrassing
In the past couple of years, trends that were once perceived as ugly fashion mistakes from a bygone era have come back in a big way. While accessories like bucket hats have made a controversial comeback, mom jeans have blended seamlessly into all of our wardrobes, making them the edgier cousin of skinny jeans and favoured by many. But there is one item that hasn’t blended in. One item that’s more than just controversial. One item that we all immediately need to agree nobody should wear.
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There’s a mentality at the moment that the uglier the clothes, the edgier they are. It’s definitely the only explanation for the rise of these feet monstrosities. But here’s the thing: pool sliders are not edgy. They are the summer shoes of choice for dads and grandads because their older feet prefer comfort over style. Now that everyone is wearing them, there is nothing special or different. They’re left as they are: basic and try-hard.
Though unwanted, the rise of pool sliders does not come as a surprise. Vintage sportswear has grown more and more popular over the past year with pool sliders as the latest summer fad in this growing trend. They belong to the same breed as novelty baseball caps, oversized tie-dye t-shirts and socks with sandals. They’re embarrassing when your dad wears them and ironic enough to be stylish when nerdy indie band members wear them. When you wear them though – you, specifically – they’re not cool. Even Rihanna couldn’t make pool sliders look cool. Her faux fur pool sliders, lusted after by many a fashionista, just look like slippers. Whichever way you try to upgrade the traditional retro sportswear staple, they are still going to look lazy.
One reason traditionally ugly clothes have come back into fashion is because of the supposedly effortless vibe that they give off. However, once they become trendy they are no longer effortless but try-hard. Pool sliders might be comfy, but they look like you’re trying so very hard to look cool. They suit boys photographed for independent fashion magazines, but rarely work in real life. Pool sliders should enjoy their time in the spotlight because it won’t be long until they become basic and bit embarrassing. The same thing happened to flower crowns a couple of years ago. It’s not worth the investment. Another appeal of pool sliders is that they can be cheap, but the cheap sports brand styles are the worst fashion offenders.
Granted, high fashion has put a stylish twist on pool sliders. Céline and Gucci have traded uncomfortable stilettos for more practical flats. However, if you’re going to spend hundreds on footwear, do you really want that money to go on pool sliders? Fashion always makes clothing look more desirable than it is and it has mastered this in brainwashing us into actually thinking it’s okay to wear pool sliders. Ideally, we would all be wearing designer pool sliders, lounging in a tropical destination with a cocktail in our hand whilst we admire our expensive footwear. The reality of a cheap pair from Sports Direct is much less glamorous. The key to pool sliders, like a lot of other clothing items, is styling. They can look trendy, but nine times out of ten they won’t end up having the desired effect.
Metallic pool sliders paired with slip dresses can look chic, but actually wearing such footwear for a special event that warrants such an outfit is impractical. The soles slap against your feet noisily like flip flops and, like when Kristen Stewart wore trainers to the MTV Movie Awards, they make it look like you’re just showing off about how quirky and unconventional you are. The comeback of pool sliders has mainly seen the rise of women’s styles with patterned and metallic designs adding a fashionable twist to the sporty staple. Traditionally, sports brand pool sliders were worn with socks by boys in tracksuits. Now the archetypal wearer is a bucket hat wearing, Red Stripe drinking hipster with an edgier than thou attitude.
Flat shoes have been favoured over heels for a few years now. We should rejoice about the liberation from sky-high heels, but there are many better options than pool sliders available at the moment. Even Birkenstocks, also once widely considered to be hideously non-fashion, are now acceptable and much more stylish than pool sliders.
Part of me wants to love pool sliders. They fit in with the “man repelling” thing and that’s so great. The rise of culottes was a triumph for the fashion movement. Culottes are now inherently cool almost no matter what you wear with them. It is unlikely that the same thing will happen with pool sliders.
They’re not even that comfortable you know. The strap digs into your foot, the rubber ones get sweaty in the heat, the sole slaps loudly and they don’t provide any support. We are no stranger to ugly shoe trends. Remember Crocs and UGGs both had their time, and we now look back at that in horror. Now we’re making the same mistake all over again with pool sliders.
Unless you’re a nerdy indie band member or a rich Céline wearing traveller lounging around on a tropical island, you need to admit defeat.