Magnificent Bastard

Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Ask the MB: Pool and Beach Footwear

Ask the MB: Pool and Beach Footwear

Q: Hey MB: Headed to Miami and Key West next week and need footwear for the beach and pool. That sounds easy but I struggle with open-toe and also need arch support. I've tried OluKai, Sanuk, and I am embarrassed to say, Teva. None have worked out. Any ideas?

A: A Google search for "stylish orthopedic closed toe sandals" returns zero results.

But we have a couple of suggestions.

First, try to find a pair of Converse All-Star Chuck It mesh slip-ons on eBay. Arguably Converse's greatest contribution to footwear since the All-Star high-top in 1917, these are our all-time favorite beach/pool shoes. Sporty, light, submersible as a Triton 100, quick-drying, comfortable, and oddly enough, boasting better arch support than the traditional All-Stars provide. Unfortunately, Converse hasn't produced them since 2010, which is why you'll have to hunt for new old stock on eBay.

Second, since you're headed to Florida but stressing over arch support, we assume you're not going there for Spring Break — you sound like someone who is probably a little more seasoned than a college student, and presumably a little more well-heeled (and simultaneously weak-arched). So we think you probably have the means to invest in these Prada espadrille sneakers. While you won't be able to swim in them, they've got an insert, so are far more comfortable than most espadrilles that are set on a flat jute slab. And they will give you all the support your arches need no matter how heated things get on the shuffleboard court. Enjoy your vacation!

Ask the MB: Espadrilles

ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via, $17.24
ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via $17.24.
Q: What is your take on espadrilles?

A: In the June 2011 GQ creative director Jim Moore stops just short of endorsing them but recognizes their popularity saying they're "a big trend this summer," and that they're best "anytime you'd wear your flip-flops." [page 58]

Even though they were invented in the 14th century (principle of archaism), and are usually made of canvas and rope (principle of organic materials), for us they fall into the footwear no-mans land between a shoe and a sandal, currently occupied by MB bête noires Sanuks and Crocs.

However, if your preferred pedicurist is booked — June is Pedicure Awareness Month, BTW — we say go for it, as long as they're a. less than 20 bucks, and b. gingham.

Earlier: Brad Pitt wears Sanuks so they're OK. Right?

Earlier: 4 year-old Rory McDermott lost the nail on his big toe thanks to Crocs. Ow!

Ask the MB: Sanuk Shoes

Ask the MB: Sanuk Shoes
Q: Sanuk. Bastardly, or not? I figure if it's good enough for Brad Pitt, it's good enough for me.

A: Maybe because Brad Pitt wears them, maybe because of their frayed edges and unstructured construction, Sanuk sidewalk surfers have apparently fooled a lot of people into thinking they are something other than Crocs for homeless surfers. They aren't, and if you're thinking about getting a pair, only do so if you're extremely angry at your feet and want to play a practical joke on them.

Why don't we like Sanuks? It starts with the logo, which looks like some handless logo designer tried to draw one of our favorite 1970s designs -- the iconic smiley face logo -- with her mouth. Or maybe her ear.

Then there's the names of their shoes: the Vagabond, the Hobo, the Dylan, the Kerouac. We've never actually seen a vagabond, a hobo, or Bob Dylan wearing these things -- where is the model called The Sunburnt Project Manager Doing Jaeger Shots at a Bar in Boca Raton While His Wife Quietly Contemplates a Divorce?

Finally, there's the sandals themselves. That thick ungainly slab of foam they call a sole. The overly broad vamp. The weird, leaning-tower-of-Pisa tilt every model seems afflicted with. Put all this together, and what you've got is a shoe that looks like it was made by aborigine orthopedists for fellow tribesmen suffering from posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

But don't just take our word for it. Here what some of the Sanuk's biggest fans have to say about them at

* My wife thinks they are hideous but I like the appearance as well as the comfort.

* Thought I could get away wearing these without socks at work and realized feet sweat too much and start to stink.

* Comfy but sweaty and VERY STINKY...The smell is intolerable at this point.

* Sanuk Rules the roost!!! I thought Crocs were the most comfortable things I have ever put on my feet until I met Sanuk's!!! These shoes are off the hook when it comes to comfort.

* They are also great for some hacky sackin.

If such vivid first-hand testimony fails to convince you that there's nothing bastardly about these things, nothing will.



Pimm's Cup

  • 2 oz Pimm's No. 1
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • cucumber slice

Fill tall glass with ice. Pour in Pimm’s and ginger beer. Stir. Garnish with cucumber slice.


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