It would be difficult for me to forget the look of bewildered disappointment that came across my dear friend Michelle’s face when she discovered I had come back from my lunch break with a brand new pair of gold leather Prada T strap sandals (they were on sale). I saw it coming. I even tried to hide the bag on my way back in to work. Alas, no one can hide things from Michelle. While I respect this woman immensely for being the most fiscally responsible person in my age group I have ever met (homeowner, boat owner, enviable self restraint), I STILL maintain that the Prada sandal purchase was one of the BEST I ever made. I have beaten these lovely metallic thongs to Hell and I’m still wearing them. The footbed is like heaven, enveloping my feet in the luxurious cushion of the most sensitive marshmallows and giving my toes the glorious thought of puppies frolicking in a flowering field. Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating a tad.
Finding summer sandals should not be a difficult task. There are so many options! Flats, wedges, flip flops, espadrilles, slides….. Don’t get too carried away. While “What would Jesus do?” may be a lovely sentiment, when buying shoes NOT SO MUCH. I strongly discourage buying any shoe that could be categorized under the heading “fisherman” unless you are, in fact, a fisherman. (I will, however, bet you $5 that fishermen don’t actually wear sandals while they are out trying to reel in giant tuna). And this goes for men as well. Unfortunately, gentlemen, your selection for not fugly, not Jesus-y sandals is pretty slim. I don’t envy you. And buying designer sandals is not going to help much, either. The men’s sandals I had the pleasure of schilling last spring while I was convincing people to part with obscene amounts of money at Salvatore Ferragamo were definitely of the ancient disciple variety. Most of the feet I sold these to probably shouldn’t have been showing their feet in public in the first place. Just for the record, standing in the shower is not actually the same as washing your feet.
I actually really like Birkenstocks. Not for formal occasions, of course. But if you’re just mucking around, they’re great! If you run into any Germans, they may look at you a bit strangely for wearing house shoes out in public, but we are an evolved nation! This is the only land where grown men dress up in tights and butt pads to jump on top of each other on fake grass. Wearing house shoes outside is the least of our problems. I digress.
While I can condone the investment in a great pair of versatile everyday sandals, especially if they are shiny, I just can’t get behind the designer flip-flop trend. I remember when you could get flip-flops at CVS for $1. I didn’t want them then. And my mom probably wouldn’t have bought them for me anyway. They’re unsupportive and they’re not safe. If you come in contact with shards of glass or rusty nails your feet would probably be better protected by cardboard boxes. Times have changed, and I’ve come around. They’re comfortable and really the only thing I care little enough about to expose to hot sand. (Ironic isn’t it? There are lots of sharp things at the beach these days).
Michelle must be rubbing off on me, because the thought of someone spending more than $30 on a pair of rubber/plastic/EVA foam ovals with straps attached makes me wonder if said person had their brain sucked out their ear through a straw by a little green man. Many illustrious fashion houses have put their stamp on the popular summer shoe and are charging hundreds of dollars. Salvatore Ferragamo has some PVC flip-flops with an über matronly bow for $160. The Prada flip-flops are plain and $270, but they DO come with a bag (I say with left eyebrow raised). Valentino has brass-studded bows on theirs for $295, but the best nonsense comes from Chanel. For $395, you can be the owner of some plastic flip-flops with their trademark Camellia flower on the foot. COME ON!!!!!! They are ALL MADE OF PLASTIC!!! Not a person on this green earth could convince me that there is a legitimate reason why any of these flip-flops are any more comfortable or supportive than a pair of cheap ones from the drug store. And it’s not like they are hand crafted by schooled cobblers. Crafting a fine leather shoe is a painstaking art. Flip-flop making is not. Save your money. Get your flip-flops at Target. Or go to Havaianas if you really want something fun. Then at the end of the summer, people who wash their feet and people who don’t can both chuck them in the trash without any guilt.