Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Debate – Round 4: Sandals vs. Espadrilles


 The age old question that afflicts all men on a yearly cycle – am I beach ready this summer? Whilst obviously, the extent to which our winter padding still remains is of course a concern, here we examine the extent to which we can trim the verges and keep some often overlooked parts of our anatomy in line – our feet.

As an opening premise, we assume that if you are opting to don either of these items you will be doing so sockless and, controversially, well-kempt. The Sandal – possibly the earliest form of footwear today, has perhaps unfortunately become the hostage of the sartorial terrorist – the dad. Roaming around in his utility sandal, complete with adjustable Velcro and woolly argyles has meant that for generations this versatile piece has been comprehensively ignored. 

Recently however the tides have turned somewhat, possible in large part due to hyper-masculine Greeks and Romans on our screens. Importantly, this opening of our minds has meant that we can now appreciate the sandal for its virtues. Leather straps and a heavy metal buckle, all ooze the classical masculine aesthetic that ancient Rome symbolises. In terms of practicality, a simple pair of sandals merely rests between two toes. A more complex pair may have a single buckle. What cannot be emphasised enough too, is the aeration – where most shoes in summer need to be sold with their own odour eaters, the sandal keeps feet cool enough to prevent a sweaty stride in the first place. 


In the meantime, along the Mediterranean the espadrille was being created. From the Catalan word “esparto,” the tough grass used to make rope; this forms a fundamental part of the shoe even today. With soles created out of this tough rope-like material and a typically canvas upper, it is often the fashion-forward man’s summer footwear. Like the sandal, it is easy to slip on, relatively inexpensive (assuming we don’t opt for a designer’s offering) and adds a little panache to an outfit. But beware, with increased cover comes the dreaded perspiration. As a more enclosed construct, the espadrille leaves us open to smell, blisters and all manner of horrible conditions one would only associate with an athlete. The trick, here, is a pair of socks – not the dirty white ones, but those of the invisible nature. It is now possible to get a pair that will slip discreetly over the foot, whilst nestling low enough to go undetected by even the most eagled eyed passer-by. 

Having mentioned being well-kempt at the beginning of this post, it is paramount that anybody who opts for the sandal approach trims, cleans and maintains their feet properly. Don’t be the one that nobody wanted to partner with in PE out of a disdain for hooves. In addition, those of us who have some Hobbit in their lineage should do their best to curtail any further growth. Yes, it goes against masculine philosophy but we present you with the following choice – King Leonidas or Frodo Baggins? Thought so. In that spirit, the floor is open to footwear – and discussion. Are sandals still “Star Trek enthusiast,” or does the espadrille prevent adequate ventilation? Perhaps, neither of these options are desirable and you’d rather don a pair of brogues?

1 comment :

  1. These sandals have great arch support (and are particularly useful for those suffering from fascistic feet). They are also very open, so the foot can breathe and perspire. page here

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