Social media mocks Chancellor’s attempt to mimic the footwear trends of younger generations
Rishi Sunak’s photos of him preparing for the budget were published this week. His footwear distorted the image of a man working hard to improve the nation’s finances. He wore white socks and PS95 sliders by Palm Angels, an Italian streetwear brand.
Sunak was mocked online for what some consider a play to appeal young people. Because sliders and socks – with a designer label preferred – have become a standard of status dressing for a younger generation. These luxury shoes, which are also made by brands like Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Burberry, can be found at a premium price. Sunak’s PS95 selection is quite modest when compared to other brands. Gucci’s monogrammed sliders retail for PS485 and leather Bottega Veneta models will cost you PS525.
Damien Paul is head of menswear at the luxury website Matchesfashion.com, where there are more than 100 pairs of men’s sliders for sale currently: “Sliders have become the most popular work-from-home shoe in the last year.” He mentions Kanye West, Justin Bieber and David Beckham as examples of celebrities who have influenced the trend. Billie Eilish also supports the trend. She wore Gucci heels at the premiere of James Bond’s film No Time to Die.
It is no longer a fashion faux pas to pair socks with sandals. Paul says that the combination of socks and sliders is now a hallmark of ‘high fashion.’
This shift was influenced not only by celebrities like West or Bieber but also street style images from menswear editors that aren’t part of fashion shows. Gary Armstrong, a stylist, is frequently photographed. He is well-known for his outfits which often include sliders and socks. Snoop Dogg is his favorite, and he says that “fashion began to embrace it a while ago.” The look is a nod to hip-hop culture as well as the classic “so wrong, it’s right” trick fashion uses to subvert traditional dress codes.
Fashionable sliders don’t always come at a high price. The PS40 Recovery sandals from fitness brand Hoka – made to be worn after running and are a popular choice. TikTok’s favorite product is the cushioned foam “pillow slide”, which can be found on Amazon for as low as PS20.
Armstrong said that he likes the cosiness of sliders and socks – it’s almost like wearing slippers in public. “What’s not to like?” – Armstrong currently chooses a backless mule, citing a Birkenstock shearling clog as his top choice. Although practicality is not the main priority, a sandal that has a closed toe may be more winter-friendly. Paul says the mule will be the next status shoe and calls it “a more elevated slider”.
Sunak will be a major force in this area. Armstrong says that “I think fashion has already moved slightly away from simple sliders.” “This [Sunak’s sliders] will almost certainly sound the death knell.”