Not Just Flip-Flops: The Casual Comfort Of Slides

Yesterday's flip-flop has evolved into a comfortable, fashion-forward style of footwear better known today as slides.

Flip-flop: a true onomatopoeia in the world of men's fashion.As a kid one could be heard strolling down the sidewalk from the next block - "flip-flop-flip-flop."And heaven forbid attempting to run in them - someone might have thought you were a wild horse galloping down on them.Remember the rainbow slabs of foam layered one on top of another?How the soles would be worn paper thin by the end of summer?Well, in today's ever morphing world of fashion, you may find yourself donning a distant cousin of yesteryear's flip-flop in the now hip again form of a slide.

Slides are flip-flops in the most basic sense, but they go the extra mile, so to speak.Today leather has replaced the canvas or rubber upper thong, with solid mid-sole construction replacing the spongy foam layers that once formed the sole to create a more ergonomic platform.Most shoe manufacturers now produce both open-toed and closed-toed versions of slides.

The original flip-flop styles can still be found in shoe stores and retail for around $10, while the latest creations can reach the $400 mark for chic designer labels.

A recent development in design is the use of synthetic leather construction, offering a more breathable alternative for stuffy toes.As it is proper etiquette not to wear socks in slides, one can imagine how important increased breathability plays as a selling point.The synthetic fabric also allows for longer wear with easier upkeep than leather.It also doesn't stretch like leather, maintaining its original form throughout the life of the shoe.The fabric is lighter and most often provides a waterproof barrier between one's foot and inclement weather.

But the real development in the slide industry has been sole technology.It is quite apparent when you set a foam flip-flop next to its modern counterpart which one offers a more comfortable fit.Manufacturers are taking their previously designed contoured soles from the regular shoes in their line and transplanting them onto the slides.The upgrade offers supreme comfort and support for people who are walking further than just around the old block.One can find models that are designed specifically for podiatric support, as well as versions styled simply for comfort.

Even sporting shoes have offerings for the masses, with Teva leading the pack back in the mid-80s with their development of a rafting sandal that stayed on your feet during a choppy run down class-3 rapids.Now nearly every sporting shoe manufacturer has a sandal or slide that is marketed to their sports-minded clientele.Some of these shoes are simple versions of their tennis or running shoe platform with a thong or strap-laden support top instead of the full upper shoe construction.These versions provide excellent support and comfort for most athletic activities.There are even open-toed running shoes these days!

A Fortune 500 oil executive was even recently spotted wearing cashmere blend slacks perfectly matched to his more-hip-than-hippy Birkenstocks.He probably wouldn't have been caught dead in a pair of the old school foam soled flip-flops hanging down below his pinstripes, but with new styles in slides, why not the "╦ťStocks?Birkenstocks have been around since before 1900, but who knew that they would play such large role in this ever-changing world of men's high fashion?

With so many styles and options to choose from, ranging from dressy to casual, sporty to comfortable, the slide is here to stay.

© High Speed Ventures 2011