Lately I’ve been noticing people wearing these trashy-looking brightly colored rubber shoes, sort of a cross between clogs and sandals.  “Creek shoes” is how I would ordinarily have characterized them, if I hadn’t been seeing them in all kinds of decidedly non-creek locations.  Anyway, it’s apparently a trend. Proving once again that catering to people’s need to make themselves look stupid is good business in the fashion world.

If you really want comfortable, lightweight summer footwear sandals are still the way to go.  Specifically, I recommend Chacos.  Your initial reaction is likely to be “$80 for a pair of sandals?!“.  This is reasonable.  I had the same reaction.  However, let me say this for them: they are built like tanks, and they are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever owned.  I bought my pair seven years ago.  Since then they’ve been my primary non-work summer shoe. I’ve worn them hiking, through streams, through deep mud, at the beach… and the only difference in them is that the tread is slightly worn.

Other nice things about them:

  • The treads are replaceable, just like you can replace the treads on your boots or dress shoes.
  • The straps are cleverly constructed from a single band of material, which runs under the sole and back out again in several places.  This means it is impossible for the bands to pull free from the sole, as they can in other sandals.
  • The single-band design enables you to adjust the straps for a perfect fit, since any strap’s length can be adjusted.
  • A third benefit from the single-strap design:  there are no plastic fittings to chafe.  I’ve owned several pairs of Teva sandals, and no matter how many neoprane pads they bulked the fittings up with, I always found my feet getting chafed.
  • There’s no velcro to wear out or collect lint.
  • The model I have has a toe-loop, which makes for a greater control and a more secure fit.

I get a kick out of things which are well-engineered, and these really are the pinnacle of sandal design.

And they don’t make you look like an idiot.

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  1. Completely agreed about Crocs – the things look completely stupid. I can understand, maybe, for kids… but not for anyone even vaguely resembling an adult.

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Tevas, personally. I bought a pair for around $70-80 back in college, and they survived a cross-country road/camping/hiking trip and hundreds of miles of trail and city walking since. I’ve never had much of a problem with chafing (though you definitely get that on knock-off fake Tevas), but I may well look into the Chacos you describe for my next pair of sandals. 🙂

    1. Seriously, when I started seeing Crocs everywhere I was like “…is everyone coming back from crawfishin’ and innertubin’ down at the crick?”

      I always wanted to like Tevas, but the fit was never quite right, and like I said, they always chafed me. Plus the incredible simplicity of the Chacos appeals to the engineer in me 🙂

      1. I can see that. I wonder how they’d do for someone with flat feet…

  2. Jesus boots

    I have a REALLY nice pair of Clarke’s that I love but I noticed again yesterday at Busch Gardens that when they get wet they are just horrible. The leather is like grease under my foot and I’m afraid the straps alone are not enough to hold them on while there is zero friction between my foot and the sole. Good sandals though.

    I would like a decent pair of sandals that will hold up to my feet (I walk a LOT) and will stand up to getting wet and are easy to clean. (the problem with leather)

    The other issue I have is ARCH SUPPORT and too-bendy-ness. A good sole needs to have both arch support and not be able to bend in half at the sole.

    1. Re: Jesus boots

      In my experience, ALL sandals do poorly when wet. With that said, my Chacos are the best of a bad lot. When I’ve been wading and I’m back on dry land, I just give the adjustment strap a nice hard yank to make them super-tight until they dry a bit, and I don’t usually have problems unless I’m doing something that causes a lot of lateral torsion, like climbing rocks or badminton.

      There’s some information on Chaco sole design here:

    2. Re: Jesus boots

      Oh yeah, and the toe-loop really helps when they get wet.

  3. I wear Crocs almost daily… but I don’t wear the neon bright hideous ones, I oredered mine in black. I waer them for one reason only… they are terrifically designed orthopedically. I have plantar fasciatis (heel pain) and the Crocs are the only thing that does not make my feet throb in agony at the end of the day.

    Those sandlals look great, and really durable… if they are orthopedically supportive I may follow up on your recommendation for summer… but don’t knock my Crocs! *smiles*

    1. I don’t know if they would give you the support you need, but there’s some information on their soles and biomechanics here:

      1. I found another problem… the womens design’s are too small for my feets! I got big feets….

        The men’s design’s might work…

  4. Re: speaking of well designed…


  5. Re: speaking of well designed…

    N00d beats barefoot any day. Well, any reasonably temperate day.

  6. Full on agree: Crocs are teh fugly, clow-shoe sandals. I’m all for sandals that cover the toe as I have found them to be useful. I’m currently wearing a pair of Sketchers along those lines. The Crocs just seem so trailer-trashy gel-shoe dorkass bad.

    1. The black are not bad… they don’t look as “gel-shoe”. Add that to the fact that I do not get the styles that are beach-t… I tend to get the styles designed for nurses and other professionals.

  7. Well I have a pair of those clog like things. I quite love them. Of course I got mine a few years ago before I started seeing them everywhere.

    Got them from Payless too!

    The thing is I was amazed that they fit my feet. When I saw them, my first reaction was “these things are as deformed as my own feet – hey, maybe they’ll fit!” and they did.

    So I bought them. I’ve tried sandles but very few fit my feet well. My rubber clogs have one minor flaw of chaffing at the back top of my heels. Where as sandles tend to fit me so poorly that I can’t even manage to break them in. A few hours of sandals and my feet are chaffed and blistered.

    Due to being born club foot my feet seem to have a bit more curvature. (ie: very few flip flops work for me because usually the flip-flop wants to jut back at the wrong angle).

    So I am quite happy for the existance of these rubber clogs. That said, mine are black with a few dark blue highlights. As opposed to rainbow pink purple red blue and green that seem oh so common.

  8. I’ve heard from people that crocs are incredibly comfortable though. I’ve seen several nurses at the hospital wearing them and if someone knows what’s good to wear for being on your feet all day it’s a nurse. Of course nursing scrubs are already pretty cheesy so having crocs doesn’t really change the look much. I had a parnoid, demented patient the other day who was wearing crocs. She asked to look at my feet and when she saw I did not have crocs she refused to let me touch her again for the rest of the shift.

  9. I got them for all my kids. They’re pretty cute on tiny little feet, plus they can put them on themselves (a HUGE plus) and I can wash them very easily without damage. Extremely practical for little boys.

    Personally, though, I wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Of course, you say “sandal” to me and I think something open toed with a 4″ heel.

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