A Chronicle of the Pool Slide

…from bro staple to seriously cool summer sandal.

By Randi Bergman

When we were kids, pool slides were the shit. They were squishy, foamy and delightfully cloudlike when you shuffled across the mall in ‘em. They were so popular in the ‘90s, that when you actually took them to the pool, you’d have to be mega strategic about where you placed your pair, for fear of them being unwittingly worn home by a clepto friend. Eventually, pool slides were replaced by the beloved flip flop in the ‘00s, but just like every trend in history, they have cycled back to the top and. Are. Everywhere. Here, we recount a brief history of the style, its popularity and its rise to the top of our shopping list:

The beginning
Their provenance dates back to 1962, when Adidas created the iconic three-stripe “Adilette” style for German soccer players to wear in the shower. Just like your mom, the folks over at Adidas were concerned about what lurks in communal bathrooms, and so the players protected their feet from grossness thanks to their new fangled shower shoes.

The rise
In the mid-nineties, pool slides became more than just practical: they were downright style statements.

Bros loved ‘em…
Pool slides became synonymous with jock style, and were worn frequently with gym socks, board shorts, wifebeater tanks and button down shirts. Just think of any character Paul Walker played and he was probably wearing pool slides (shout out to She’s All That.) Or, you know, Kevin Federline.

Pool scenes…
A hallmark of teen movies and TV shows, pool scenes were the most natural place for slide style to reign supreme. Think Cruel Intentions, Beverly Hills 90210… the list goes on. (Jesse Bradford was sporting them throughout Swimfan, that’s for sure.)

Facebook liked ‘em…
By the mid-2000s, the pool slide had dropped off, but that didn’t stop Mark Zuckerberg from making them his thing. Facebook’s daddy notoriously wore ‘em to work with jeans and a hoodie, thus welcoming a whole new era of dressing down for work.

They went highbrow…
After over a decade of being relegated to actual pools, showers and Facebook HQ, slides made their debuts on the runway at Céline, Marni and Marc Jacobs. Soon, celebs like Gigi Hadid, and Rihanna were into ‘em, sporting the look everywhere from Coachella to NYC—hell, Miley even wore ‘em while performing on stage.

Normcore forever…
Pool slides became a hallmark of the much talked about Normcore trend (read: dressing in the most #normal way possible), and were worn with track pants, T-shirts and baseball caps.

Pool slides have had their highs and lows, but today they’ve kinda just settled at being regular ole rad. Browse our selection for your new fave summer sandal.

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