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The slip-on shoe trend is here to stay

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Birkenstock via Spotlight Launchmetrics

Ever since adidas’ Adilette sliders made their way from the pool to the street in the early 2000s, slip-on shoes have been having a moment.

Arguably not the most comfortable slider with its spiky soles, they were designed in the 1960s to be a transitional item for athletes, most important was the element of being waterproof, so they could be worn from the court or running to shower rooms, easing tired feet. Never were they meant for anything long distance or even as daywear.

As athleisure entered the fashion consciousness, it brought with it a new way of dressing, one that favoured comfort over rigid corporate styling. Subsequently, slip-on shoes began to get noticed, boosting sales at traditional sandal producers alongside new start-ups jumping on the trend bandwagon.

The king of slip-on sandals, the German-produced Birkenstocks, have long owned the category, with luxury players like Gucci and Celine introducing fur-lined iterations and loafers in the 2010s, which elevated the shoe to the catwalk, bringing soaring profits to parent companies Kering and LVMH.

A rise in laceless shoes

Data is backing up the slip-on trend. Clearpay, the BNPL solutions provider, said it is identifying a rise in laceless shoes. Their data shows sales of Uggs have seen a 105 percent increase quarter on quarter.

Crocs, the marmite of footwear, is seeing a surge in searches for its rubber sandals, up 744 percent.

Sales of Yeezy’s Foam Runners are up 431 percent, as shoppers opt for a luxurious version of the clog-silhouette.

After years of sneakers dominating the market and lauded as one of the hottest globally traded assets, slip-on shoes have seen a 306 percent increase in sales of QoQ and 14 percent YoY, said Clearpay. Birkenstock sales are up 173 percent YoY, with the company debuting collabs with luxury brands Dior including Rick Owens.

Perhaps life is too short to be fiddling with shoe laces?