Summer Footwear in the City
They predicted the shoe for the summer would be the not-so-distant relative to the ugly shoe; the ugly sandal. I can tell you firsthand from walking the streets and riding the subways that this is not entirely accurate. The real sandal of the summer, as worn by the masses, is actually a simple, thick strapped, some-what platformed black/white/tan sandal that I’m going to call “the functional sandal”.
While it’s no Manolo, the functional sandal is not entirely orthopedic-looking either. It’s basic, it’s black, it goes with just about everything, and it’s available everywhere. While searching for the perfect hot weather shoe to accompany me on my ten day venture to the east coast, I did a thorough search for the most comfortable thing I could wear on my feet without breaking the bank. What came up, time and time again, was the functional sandal. Just about every shoe retailer is selling about a dozen variations on the sandal from mid to low tier brands like Steve Madden, Bamboo and Clarks. It’s accessibility has no doubt added to its popularity.
While trekking around the city I noticed another trend. In a walkable city that thrives off public transportation and an easily navigable grid, most humans rely on their Chevro-legs to get around. This translates to well worn footwear built for comfort i.e. flats and sneakers. A rough break down of female pedestrians would look like this:
60% functional sandals
10% Doc Martens
Being a boot fanatic, you can guess which category I fell into most days. I actually purchased a pair of 14 eyelet Docs especially for the trip, as my favorite pair of knee highs were giving out and my other combats were not weather proofed. As anyone familiar with New York weather knows, you can never be too sure about the weather reports. One minute it’s 90% humidity, the next it’s raining and five minutes later the sun is out. Unpredictable meteorological predictions make it tough to pack accordingly, so I went with a sure thing and a seasonally appropriate thing.
I think during my entire trip I only spotted a handful of heels out in the wild. Even then, nothing over a couple inches. I’m sure there were some platforms and Louboutins out there some where, but I didn’t see them. Something else I found interesting was the bravery of those sporting fresh white sneakers through Time Square. The sheer number of humans rushing past each other, paying more attention to their phones than their step is enough to make one hypersensitive about getting trampled upon. I can remember spotting a young man in a pair of immaculate Lacoste’s and all I could do was shake my head at the thought of his little gators getting stomped. But, now that I think of it, I don’t believe I was ever stepped on at any point. I guess I’ve still got some paranoia about smudged Pumas thanks to Chris Rock...
If someone smudges your Puma, let it slide...
Fashionable flats for the win