Annie Vihtelic

Flip-flop manifesto

By - Jul 10th, 2010 04:00 am
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This might work for some people, but I’ll pass. Photo by Evelynishere via Flickr

In Milwaukee, it seems as soon as it warms up I see feet everywhere – hanging out of car windows and propped up on tables in restaurants.

I see bare feet in places where feet shouldn’t necessarily be bare, like the gas station – once I saw a girl pumping gas barefoot and bikini clad. And the grocery store – I saw a little kid wading in a tub of bulk peanuts…I’m not joking.

I’m tired of seeing feet in places where I don’t want to see them, but not just because I’m squeamish or think it’s unsanitary. It just seems at times to slip on a flimsy flip-flop is too much a burden in itself.

What I’m trying to say is that in the summer, people seem to grow very careless when it comes to their feet.

I wear flip-flops to get a pedicure or to the beach, but that’s about it. There’s not enough coverage for me. My feet feel too vulnerable and I’m paranoid of what I might step in or on. Also, I like to keep my feet clean. I’m a big advocate for clean, well taken-care-of feet, especially if you do feel the need to expose them.

But a flip-flop does not take the place of a more substantial shoe in many cases. The anatomy of a flip-flop is simple: a thin rubber sole held loosely to the foot by a y-shaped strap that passes between the first and second toes, and around either side of the foot. This is hardly a shoe of substance and should not be considered so when partaking in more rugged summer activities.

People walk the littered and jagged Summerfest grounds and pay no attention to what they might step on or in. The neighborhood kids and adults ride their bike and I almost can hear the heel of their flip-flop as it catches in their spokes. The thought of a potential accident makes me cringe.

Thankfully, there is a trend that has put an end to my summer foot worries somewhat at ease – boots. Yes, boots… in the summer, perfectly paired with skirts, dresses or  shorts. It took

Peep-toe booties! Photo by Erin Petersen

awhile for this look to mosey over from the west coast, but it’s a trend we really seem to embrace, and I feel it’s here to stay. It makes so much sense.

Milwaukee winters are long and brutal. We go through great lengths to keep our feet warm, dry and protected. The transition into less substantial footwear – or none at all — is a cruel and abrupt change in environment for our primary mode of transportation – our feet. With the anticipation of wearing lighter clothes, we put some really good pieces from our wardrobes into hibernation.

Perhaps a nice mid-calf boot instead? Photo by Erin Petersen

Here in the Midwest we’re more than happy to say buh-bye to our boots. But for people who call a warm state like California home, they don’t have to make such drastic wardrobe transitions in the fall and winter months. A boot and short bottom is the perfect option for festivals and fairs when you spend a lot of time outside and walking. You’ll be comfortable with your feet covered and completely safe, and you’ll still look cute.

Just be aware that not every boot is a good summer boot. Stay away from Uggs and other hardcore winter weather boots where the thought of wearing them in anything but snow makes you sweat. Think more along the lines of a cowboy or ankle boot – think ‘fall’.

Another great look for a summer boot is slouchy suede or an open toe bootie. Anything above mid-calf starts to look a little heavy takes away from your comfort factor. Summer garments get very small so sometimes it feels good to feel a little more covered, even if it is on your feet.

If you’re like me and struggling with summer footwear just a little bit, dig a little deeper in your closet and I’m sure you’ll find some old favorites that you won’t have to wait three more months to put on.

0 thoughts on “Threads: Flip-flop manifesto”

  1. Anonymous says:

    so, what about us guys who aren’t about to be caught wearing a “slouchy-suede” boot alternative this summer? we have an alternative to sneakers and socks and that just so happens to be the dreaded flip-flop. As unattractive as so many people’s feet are, the flip-flop is a necessary accessory for these hot summer months. it’s surely here to stay. Oh, and there is no complaining on my end about the occasional pair of cute feet in a pair of flip-flops.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I hear you Eric. Dudes are definitely more limited to footwear options. I don’t know any guys that would opt for a slouchy boot either.Instead of sneakers and sox maybe try a pair of more breathable canvas shoes like Converse. Think of this as a more disposable shoe to be worn for one season only. Sorry, didn’t mean to forget about the fellas! Annie

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