I’m a horrible person. A mean, judgmental, horrible snob of a person. The idea of frowning upon any form of such popular and comfortable footwear is just plain horrible.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll let it rip…
Somehow, we’ve gone from a reasonably well-dressed culture to one that needs to bring the comfort of the frat house into adulthood in public. Tucking in a shirt has apparently become oppressively uncomfortable, athletic wear has turned into everywhere wear and under armor is now outer armor. Between the fleecy, stretchy fabrics and the elastic waistbands, the mission to dress as casual as humanly possible has put a growing number of adults in soft, shapeless clothing that was once reserved for infants and toddlers.
Preference in footwear has shifted accordingly. Since lace-ups or even slip-ons that cover the whole foot have become too cumbersome and dressy for a lot of people, we’re now subjecting the general public to our dirty feet and unkempt toes when we go out. But since people have abandoned written language in favor of emojis and Snapchat – the digital equivalent of cave paintings – it makes sense that people are going back to footwear that was also designed in a cave.
“But George, I like flip-flops, and my kids wear them, too. They’re comfortable.”
I get it. I own flip-flops, and I wear them… around the house or when I’m on a beach or near a swimming pool. Only. For a casual, easy, no-brainer shoe for grown-ups in public, there is a better option.
My favorite antidote to the flip-flop is the espadrille. Espadrilles are casual flat shoes with an upper typically made with canvas or cotton and a sole made with esparto rope (from a tough grass-like fiber). Originally designed as peasant shoes that date back centuries in parts of France and Spain, espadrilles provide light and airy foot protection with cool style, extreme comfort and ease of wear.
As far as the right ones to get, you can go basic or designer, depending on your style and budget. A simple pair from Soludos can run you between $30 and $85, depending on the fabric or the sale. A nice pair of TOMS can be had for anywhere between $45 and $100. H&M makes espadrilles that go for less than $20, but I’m not a fan or supporter of the fast-fashion business model.
“But George, why does it matter if people want to wear flip-flops?”
When you let things slide in certain areas, however trivial it seems, the easier it becomes to let them slide in other areas, too. There is a reason people look at old photos of Americans who dressed up more and say things like, “Wow, people were so glamorous then. They looked so good. What happened?” The answer to the question What happened? is that people started letting things slide. As we slide down the slippery slope, what was once unthinkable (i.e. flip-flops in a restaurant) eventually becomes the norm. And here we are, just a onesie away from wearing Crocs and a diaper to the mall.
“But George, I think espadrilles are ugly.”
Exposed feet and toes are uglier. Trust me.
Just for fun…
Greg Proops, one of our smartest comics and arguably our best-dressed one, said some of the smartest and funniest things I’ve ever heard about flip-flops and men’s exposed toes. Enjoy: