So I did it. I can’t believe I did, and if you know me you will be shocked as well. I have rules that I live by, and doing this broke one of the cardinal rules in the world of Allie.
Thou Shalt Not Wear Ugly Footwear.
Uggs came out, and that is the sound I made when I saw them worn on the feet of every skinny little teen girl in the mall. Jelly shoes made a comeback and they made me back up with horror. Let’s not even get into the therapy I had to accept the creation of high-heeled hiking boots.
And then Crocs arrived.
They’re comfortable, they’re antimicrobial so even though they are made of plastic they won’t make your feet stink. They don’t cause blisters or sweaty tootsies. Sounds perfect for gardening or standing all day as a nurse or doctor or chef. This does NOT mean they are appropriate for daily wear. No matter how many cute colors they come in, they are UGLY. They can’t be made cute with a denim miniskirt, a pair of leggings or a vintage tee. They are hideous things that look as though they are made by Lego and should be banned except for those who would usually wear orthopedic shoes.
So I am going to a music festival this summer. Four days of camping, tunes, and lots of mud. I am addicted to the internet (um, yeah have four blogs people… it’s a problem!) and have been hitting message boards for this festival, finding out what camping gear I should take, what to wear, how to pack. There are full posts out there about the proper footwear because when it rains at this festival grounds, the place turns into major super duper mud. I have seen photographs of dozens of flip flops lost in mud. They say Tevas cause blisters, sneakers get destroyed, and the cheapest soundest footwear for this event is Crocs. They rinse off, they protect your feet from the sun and being stepped on, they stay in place in a mud pit, they don’t get stinky and you can stand all day and not be in pain.
I was planning on taking my Reef flops and maybe an old pair of tennis, but after testimonial after testimonial about these blasted marshmallow shoes, I figured I should give them a try. It would suck to be stuck in Tennessee mud for a week with the wrong shoes.
My husband works at REI and if any of you are married to retail folks, you know you usually get their discount. I headed to his shop to try on these dreaded Crocs. From the message boards, I heard they ran a bit big; I usually wear a 7.5 but fit comfortably in a 6. In my size I had the choice of red, purple, seafoam green, cadet blue and olive green. I was really hoping for the hot pink and tried on a size 5 but they were a tad too small. My husband came by and said the purple was funky without trying too hard. I decided on the traditional Cayman style, though they had the Mary Jane version. Sorry, if I am going to buy shoes of Styrofoam, I am going to accept the material, and not pretend they are cute or anything like “real” shoes.
So I popped them on and walked around the shoe department. Even though they seem to be made like flip flops with toe covers, they seem to support the foot quite nicely. They aren’t as structured as Birkenstocks on the foot, but comfortable nonetheless. Slingbacks usually slide down on my weird ankles, but these stayed in place. The nubbies on the foot bed weren’t painful as they are in Adidas flops and my very sweaty feet felt dry and comfortable in their marshmallow casing.
Then I looked at my reflection and was horrified. These shoes are HIDEOUS. My wide ankles looked totally nonexistent making my legs look like tree trunks. I am petite, but with these purple puffs I looked as though I should be on Little People, Big World. A reasonable outfit of Bermudas and a tee looked positively slovenly with these Barney-size and color shoes.
I took them off and took them to the register, vowing to never wear them outside of music festivals and my back yard. I could see why they received such great reviews; they are darn comfortable shoes!
The next day I walked to my friend’s house for a yoga session. She lives almost a mile away and I decided to wear the Crocs and see how they handle real walking. I arrived at her house blister free and just as comfortable as if I were wearing Nikes.
That night I was heading into town for a community meeting and got dressed and thought… maybe I should wear the Crocs. They’re comfortable, I will be walking to town, they’ll add a slash of color to my neutral-hue outfit. I put them on, I looked at my reflection in the mirror… and I took them off and replaced them with some stacked flops from J. Crew.
I just couldn’t do it. It was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Crocs have gone up into the closet with the camping gear, awaiting next month when they can serve their duty in Manchester, Tennessee. I may have succumbed to the Crocs phenomenon, but I haven’t sacrificed my sanity or sense of style in the process!
So ladies, if you are heading into mud, muck and gunk this summer… then go ahead and get the proper footwear. However, this does not give you license to wear them to the grocery store, the gas station, the mall or gosh forbid, work. Have some self-respect and wear only items that flatter you. THIS INCLUDES SHOES. If you need comfortable shoes, companies like Aerosoles, Naturalizer, Easy Spirit, Born and Dansko that offer comfortable shoes in flattering styles. Do not suffer for style, be it with pain or with bad fashion!