The athletic sandal is absolutely everywhere these days. But is it really for the best? I get the appeal of the sandal, I truly do. It is sleek, cheap and comfortable—the epitome of “I don’t give a damn about today.” That is a cute mindset to adopt for a day or two, but the sheer magnitude of these things is getting a tad bit out of hand.
A Brief History Lesson (HIST2620, Anyone?)
The athletic sandal has risen to prominence before. It was highlighted in the New York Times in the early 90s as a fast-selling outdoors product. These sandals have earned their way into our world before some of us were even born. Like most things from the 90s, it found a clever way to slither its way back into our minds and hearts and occupy a space alongside our more modern fashion trends. Athletic shoes have evolved over the past twenty years, but the simplicity of these sandals is respectable. An easy go-to shoe—something you would wear to get gas or pick up a pizza for a cozy night in. From Adidas to Gucci, every major brand has their own rendition of what a lazy, comfortable pair of slides should be. Of course, there’s a conduit for a trend returning, and it comes in the form of our beloved athletic friends.
Professional sports players have been spotted wearing these things forever. And I mean forever. After an intense practice, players like LeBron James and Dwayne Wade were wearing Nike sandals before the trend truly found its footing again (no pun intended). The idea was simple: after working hard, why not just be comfortable walking around the locker room? Professional athletes in other sports dawned these sandals soon after. If you’ve stayed in a dorm with a community bathroom, you may have even owned a pair of these yourselves.
However, that need-to-wear basis turned into a fashion statement extremely fast. This may be nothing more than my (likely unpopular) opinion, but I can’t—more like I refuse—to accept these sandals as an actual shoe that is worn in public. Partially because it’s not even made for long-term support.
These sandals are going to destroy your feet. Yes, really. They’re going to decimate your feet from the inside out. The friction of your foot and the sandal moving against each other is harsh enough to cause blisters, which could result in calluses (no, not the math class—that’s calculus). We’re talking about actual bunions here. These sandals do not support the natural arch in your foot, which can lead to bad posture and back issues later in life. Injuries like muscle cramps, spasms and shin splints can all come from an unsupported arch as well.
For those of us who live by the saying “beauty is pain,” allow me to set a scene for you. You’re getting dressed in the morning, nothing too crazy. A nice polo, a pressed pair of khakis, and you even toss on and a snazzy pair of socks to add to your look. Instead of opting for a nice pair of boots, or maybe even a crisp pair of converse, you decide to just put on your Nike sandals and call it a day. Wouldn’t you want to wear a nicer pair of shoes to match that amazing outfit? Wouldn’t you want to avoid the rather tacky style of socks and sandals?
Obviously, there is always going to be expectations. Fashion is always evolving, and with that, I’m sure the sandals will find different materials and styles to soup themselves up all over again. Along with the fashionistas/fashionistos of the world, I may even learn to stomach the sight of these things. Can we all just agree that these sandals don’t belong with every outfit? Maybe then we can avoid these sandals when we’re trying to look decent! That’s at least a start.