WAs photos of Rishi Sunak preparing for the budget were released this week, the outlook of a man working hard to improve a nation’s finances has been somewhat undermined by his shoes. The footmuff, who has a reputation for being a pointy dresser, wore white socks and a pair of £ 95 sliders from Italian streetwear label Palm Angels.
Sunak has since been mocked on social media, for what users see as a game to appeal to young people. That’s because socks and slides – preferably with a designer label – are now a staple in the prestige outfit of a younger generation. Along with Palm Angels, brands such as Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Burberry are making sliders, and these shoes are sought after luxury items with the corresponding price tag. Compared to other brands, Sunak’s £ 95 choice is relatively modest. A pair of Gucci monogrammed sliders sell for £ 485 while the leather Bottega Veneta models will set you back £ 525.
Damien Paul is responsible for men’s fashion at the luxury site Matchesfashion.com, where there are currently over 100 pairs of men’s slides for sale. He says that sliders have been a favorite over the past year, becoming “the work-at-home shoe.” He cites David Beckham, Kanye West and Justin Bieber as celebrities influencing the trend. Billie Eilish is also on board. At the premiere of the James Bond movie No Time to Die, she wore Gucci heeled sandals.
If pairing socks with sandals was once a hopeless faux pas, it is now all the rage. “Coordinating your socks and slides has become… more and more synonymous with ‘haute couture’,” says Paul.
In addition to celebrities like West and Bieber, this change was influenced by the street style images of menswear editors outside of the fashion shows. Stylist Gary Armstrong is often photographed and is known for his outfits which often feature socks and sliders. He names Snoop Dogg as the true pioneer of the look and says that “the fashion started to adopt it some time ago. [The look] nods to hip-hop culture and the classic “if wrong is good” trick that fashion often uses to overturn traditional dress codes.
Not all trendy sliders come with some tempting price tags. The £ 40 Recovery sandals – designed to be worn after the run – from fitness brand Hoka have become a cult choice. And the so-called cushioned foam “pillow slides” and found on Amazon for under £ 20 are a TikTok favorite.
Armstrong says the comfort of socks and slides attracts him – “it’s like wearing slippers on the street. What’s not to like? ”- but currently prefers a backless mule, citing a Birkenstock sheepskin-lined clog as the top pick. Although practicality isn’t the top priority here , a closed-toe sandal is perhaps a little more suited to winter. Paul predicts the mule will be the next status shoe, calling it “a higher slider.”
Sunak should have an impact here. “In fact, I think fashion has evolved slightly from simple sliders already,” says Armstrong. “This [Sunak’s sliders] will almost certainly be the death knell.