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RFI: Summer footwear that is cool

As part of my ongoing, inevitable, regrettable hippification, I am considering buying non-boot footwear for the summer. Something possibly in the sandal family. The last time I wore sandals, they were plastic k-mart flip flops when my age was in single digits.

I am, of course, still me, and don't want something like birkenstocks. However, I'm tired of wearing hot combat boots in summer, and taking longer to do up my boots than it takes to put on the entire rest of my outfit. So, I want some kind of summer footwear that's a) fairly easy to put on and take off, b) allows for greater airflow than combat boots, and c) looks good.

I've been looking at the Vibram Five Toes with the instep strap. Anyone know of other good looking sandal relatives I should be considering? Is it, for example, worth combing the stores on Yonge for some kind of gothy sandal with spikes on or something?


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
Surely you can (or know someone who can) install spikes on an otherwise non-gothy sandal.
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
Being a girl, I get to wear all manner of black strappy sandals. ;) I do have a pair of very sturdy and comfy sandals that I bought from Fluevog - they look a bit like Birksm but much more stylish.

My other go-to shoe for comfort and style in the summer has always been Converse. I think Nike owns them now (boo!), but No Sweat makes a damn good knockoff that is 100% union-made: http://www.ethicalsoles.ca/home.php
Jun. 29th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, right after posting this I googled "goth sandal" and saw a lot of shoes that I don't think I can really pull off. :)

Oddly enough, converse hurt my feet - the reason I don't usually wear shoes is that anything that laces tight over the instep and lacks a bit of a heel will hurt my feet. So I never wear the chuck taylors I have.
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
I was having a similar problem with my Converses (well, the faux Converses I bought because I'm cheap), and I picked up some of those really cheap heel inserts, and they are now the most comfortable closed-toe shoes I own. Not sure if that will help you, but it might! :)
Jun. 30th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
My Converse used to hurt my feet too until I went to Running Room and got a really good insole for them. Now they're fab!
Jun. 30th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
If you "need" something with a heal cushion, then VFFs are pretty much right out. They got nuthin there. However, if you stomp around 'cause you're used to your stompy boots, then they might be just what you need to get out of the habit.
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
I love my Chacos. http://www.chacousa.com/US/en-US/Gallery.mvc.aspx/M-SAND/Mens/Sandals
Not the prettiest but comfortable.
Jun. 29th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Vibram Five Fingers are really great shoes.

However, they are not fast to put on at first, they don't have a whole lot more airflow than combat boots, and while they do look good you have to find a color and design that looks good on you and be ready for people to talk with you about them.

A pair of jungle boots with a good pair of wool socks will have better breathability than VFFs because each toe is encased in its own plastic rubber sheath.

The thing I like best about VFFs is that they let me walk using all of my foot and my toes for balance and they are the closest thing I can wear to barefoot while working on freight docks and making deliveries.

The most comfortable and fastest on/off shoe I have now is a self made pair of huaraches made off of this pattern http://www.invisibleshoe.com/ I changed the pattern by making three loops of string at each hole point in the sole and run a wide shoelace through those loops, around my ankle, and then tie in front of my ankle. My soles on those is just 8oz leather. And just to keep the huarache sandals from being too cutsie, I have black laces with skull and crossbones in them.
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
Hrm. I'd been hoping that the Sprint would have enough exposed skin to make a noticeable improvement.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:49 am (UTC)
*shakes head* Sorry. I wear the sprints. I just spent the evening outside in the wind and cool of evening watching Shakespeare in the park and my feet were toasty warm, each toe slotted into its own little cocoon.

In spite of my opinion, you may wish to find a store that sells VFFs and try them on for yourself. I found them tricky to fit and am very glad I didn't order them online for the first time.

They may just be what you're looking for.
Jun. 29th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC)
I know a lot of people who have been very happy with Keen brand shoes. Whether or not they meet your definition of "good looking" is difficult to know, but they're comfortable as hell and they come in black.
Jun. 29th, 2010 09:43 pm (UTC)
I second everything dicea said about the VFFs. The most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Recently got my second pair. I've discovered the sweaty-ness can be greatly reduced with the addition of the Injinji toe socks. They nicely wick the moisture away. Other thin toe socks my help too, but I've only tried the Injinji from their webstore. I think all the men's shoe styles come in all black (the socks too). Goes with everything in my wardrobe.

It's true that people will talk to you more. They've been likened to ninja shoes, and super hero shoes.

On a vaguely related in an every-day costume accessory kinda way... You bought a ninja umbrella a while back, didn't you? How's that working out? What's the actual umbrella quality like?
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Oddly enough, my current "don't wanna wear boots, want comfy and less hot" footwear are my rubber-soled tabi. Which get mis-identified as "cloven hoofed shoes" about half the time.

The ninja umbrella is fantastic - it's very well built, and the longer handle and solid shaft mean that I can put two hands on it and hold onto it when strong winds have everyone else's umbrella turning inside out.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Oooh, I will have to pick up a pair of the Injinji. Thank you for the recommendation.
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:34 am (UTC)
I'm a fan of both VFFs and Keens. My toes like space. :)

(ObDisclaimer: I only have Keens shoes, not sandals.)

I would suggest Keens for city-wear and VFFs for festival/outdoor-but-not-sand wear. VFFs are fairly sucktastic pounding concrete all day long, which is how I usually end up wearing them. But maybe I'm a sissy. :P
Jun. 30th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
I know kettu know's, but for curgoth's info...

I wear my VFFs on concrete all day without a problem. Also good (for me) for running, bouldering (not rock-climbing), tree-climbing, and cycling (assuming your peddles don't have spikes for traction). Though sand really does suck. I can get away with strolling through a sandbox due to the higher cut of my Flows and KSO Trecks, but playing on a beach is right out. Go barefoot.

I also second the notion of trying them on in person before you order online. MEC has some styles, but no colours that look good. If you're between sizes, better to go a little loose than tight. They won't stretch out as you wear them, but you can use the socks to fill in some roomyness.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
I very much <3 my Dansko sandals - they're comfortable and very solidly built, with a big chunky clog-type sole. But I just checked Dansko's web sites, and they do not apparently have any men's sandals. :-(

There are maybe one or two of the women's sandals that might be able to pass as unisex, though (the Mallory style on that page, and maybe one or two others depending on how girly is too girly). BTW, all of them come in more colours than are shown on the category page, and black is virtually always one of them.

At least a few stores in Toronto carry Dansko - Walking on a Cloud does, and I'm pretty sure there are others. Also, if you know what size you take in European sizes (well, European women's sizes in this case), you can often find them on eBay or other online places for less than regular retail. Be warned that they're not cheap, but they last forever.

BTW, one thing I love on the Dansko web site is the "May we also suggest" bit at the bottom of each of the individual product pages. Instead of suggesting other products, it suggests things like taking your dog to work, baking a pie, donating to Habitat for Humanity, etc.
Jun. 30th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
for the surfing goth (whether sand or sidewalks)
If you want shoes that are like flip-flops, but are shoes, Sanuk is the way to go. I wore my pair all summer and well into the fall and winter, before I took them out of regular shoe rotation (nearly worn through). And that was with nearly daily wear, and a high daily walking quotient.

Lots come in black. Also, see tubeflops
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