#932 Wearing sandals when you shouldn’t be wearing sandals

I went to college in a small town that got hit hard by weather extremes.

In the Fall, the summer winds would quickly cool and sharpen, ripping into your cheeks on your way home from class, leaving them red and finely shredded, like you’d just applied blush with sandpaper.

In the Winter, the roads and sidewalks would be covered in piles of wet slush, little bombs of slippery ice-dirt and road salt that would explode onto your pants and shoes and leave nasty stains when they dried.

In the Spring the snow would melt away, leaving soggy grass everywhere. You would see that grass and think it was pretty solid, but your foot would just sink into it, cold little mud bubbles rising around your shoe from all directions and soaking right into your sock. It felt like you were walking on a peat bog covered in smushed worms and last year’s dog poo.

No, it wasn’t pretty.

My roommates and I were left with just two choices:

  1. Try to predict and adjust for the weather. You know, wear lots of layers, carry umbrellas on sunny days, build a collection of waterproof boots, and start using phrases like “bunker in” and “venture out.”
  2. Ignore it completely.

Well, we chose to ignore it. And we faced the consequences, let me tell you.

We got wind burn and had sleet slip down the back of our T-shirts. We would get massive dirt soakers and permanently stretch our socks peeling them off our feet at the front of our door. We got dry legs, we got bone chill, and brother, we got rain hair bad.

And eventually, we got good at ignoring it all.

My roommate Dee was the master of ignoring the weather, the biggest proof being that he wore sandals year round. Wind, snow, rain, it didn’t matter. “The toes need to breathe,” he’d say sternly, “breathe.” And he’d emphasize the point with a sturdy lip and a firm strapping of the Velcro. Then he’d slap on his heavy backpack, give you a wink, and trudge out into a blizzard, navigating ice patches and slush piles like a pro.

Sure, there was the occasional Bad Day that came with being chronically unprepared for Mother Nature’s worst blows, generally involving a dirty-puddle splashing all over your feet from a passing truck or maybe being unable to feel your toes until you put them in the toaster oven for twenty minutes. But we made it through.

And come on, there is something really nice about wearing sandals when you shouldn’t be wearing sandals. It’s liberation from shoe shackles, freedom from the oppressing sock, and a violent rebellion against those frostbite warnings on the weather channel.

People of the world, let’s face it: if we can come together to take down the shoe then really, nothing can stop us.


Photos from: here and here

43 thoughts on “#932 Wearing sandals when you shouldn’t be wearing sandals

  1. Second Jazzy’s comments about SD’s love of flip flops. As a recent transplant to SD from NYC, I’ve got to say, I love getting to wear flip flops all the time, year round.

    On the topic of the thread though, wearing sandals when you’re not supposed to extends beyond just mere weather concerns. I’ve found that in San Diego, flip flops are appopriate almost anywhere. The concept of “appropriate footwear” is just completely different from NYC. I’ll go to a restaurant in SD, that is at a “fancy-level” equivalent that in NYC everyone would be in leather shoes (no sneakers or casual shoes), and at least a third of the crowd will be in flip flops. Its glorious.

  2. I wear sandals at University during lectures, and I feel mischievious whenever I do so. This is perhaps the most awesome of all the awesome things you’ve so far paid attention to, in my mind.

  3. Wearing sandals is all fine and well. I don’t even mind when folks refer to them as Jesus shoes. But wearing them with black socks is grounds for a cockpunching.

  4. I live in Michigan and I love wearing shorts and t-shirt in the worst winter storms when the windchill is -30 there is lots of slush from cars and its snowing like its never snowed before. You hair is frozen and snow remains unmelted on your face but you continue on without letting it bother you one bit. Then you pass that little kid who looks on in awe think what a bad-ass and will remember you 15 years later as he encounters the biggest storm of his generation.

  5. I live in New York, and I wear my flip flops year round, despite the fact that there is a giant hole in the bottom of one of them, and I feel every single rock I step on. They are the comfiest footwear I own, and I’m from farther north, where it’s colder, so where I am seems pretty warm to me. All my friends think I’m totally insane, though, when there’s snow on the ground, it’s raining, and it’s about 15º out, and I’m wearing my ever faithful flipflops.

  6. I grew up in Florida and we wore our flip flops even on the coldest day of the year. Even up in North Carolina I still generally follow that same tradition. Sure there are a few days when the boots go on but 98% of the time, the flip flops are on. The first time I saw snow (this February) I was so excited I ran out bare foot, upon realizing that that was a bad idea I immediately ran back and slipped on my trusty flip flops.

    Viva la sandal!

  7. I decided on my 18th birthday to only wear flip flops for 1 year. For the entire year. This was made more difficult as I live in Missouri, where we get snow and ice about once a week for 5 months. The other 7 months have rain and tornadoes weekly.

    After that year I decided to do it for another year and then another. I made it until September 2008, 7 years and 7 months until I finally got a job where shoes were required…it was a sad sad say. I salute your friend toes do need to breathe!

  8. I think that it is perfectly acceptable to wear socks with my sandals. I seem to run into a lot of opposition from my wife and family when we go out in public with me in tow with my socks and sandals.
    Has anyone else encountered this kind of sandal fashion heckling?

    1. I love to wear socks with my sandals. My friends think this is the most horrible thing ever! I tell them I can totally rock the sock/sandal combo. I had this great pair of pink Nike sandals. I wore them with all these great super thick cozy socks. Unfortunately, my boyfriend slipped them on one night to take out the garbage and realized the beauty of the sandal. He kept wearing them and stretched them all out of shape so I couldn’t wear them anymore. He still wears them…with white socks.

  9. I love my flip flops, or as my mom calls them, thongs. In the fall sometimes I’ll pansy and put on some loudly colored toe socks to keep them above freezing.

  10. I am a self confessed sandal lover. i have over 1000 pairs of sandals! although i have worn less than half of them, i still pursue on my crusade to find the perfect foot recepticle, problem is, i nearly always think that i have found the perfect pair at the time of purchase, but the buzz quickly fades once i get my credit card bill!
    i thank you for your “#932 Wearing sandals when you shouldn’t be wearing sandals « 1000 Awesome Things” bit.
    It gave a true fashion lover the perfect fix!

  11. There *are* people who dislike being barefoot (I personally am happiest when wearing socks, though slippers/shoes as well are okay too), and I would be terribly unhappy wearing sandals in the cold! I can barely stand them in the middle of summer when it’s too hot to wear practically anything… but then again, I’m odd.

  12. Don’t wanna hurt anybody’s feelings but most guys have horrible-looking feet – unaesthetically-shaped and mostly very uncared-for. And when those garbage scows are flopped on places where people sit or rest their arms or heads? A crime against humanity. My especial favorite is the two guys in the movie theater with ugly unmanicured feet that they’ve propped up for all the world to savor, critiquing the appearance of any and all women as they come in.

    And while you’re at it – stop shaving your heads. God gave you hair for a reason and that’s so the rest of us don’t have to look at your lumpy bumpy moley skull. In sum: we’re not your podiatrist nor your phrenologist, so have some decency and thought for others.

  13. Neil – if you are referring to the small town in which you did your undergrad, well, I am currently in that very town experiencing the very phenomenon you are describing. Today is a balmy, Sandal-Appropriate Day. Tomorrow, however, might not be…. nonetheless, students will be toes à l’air!

  14. I hate unmanicured feet! I don’t to be stabbed or scratched by toenails. It looks ugly and skieves me out. Real turn off!

  15. I too LOVE sandals, and living in Wisconsin I have a limited amount of time to comfortably wear flip flops. I’m also a teacher. My favorite thing was when a second-grader “yelled” at me about my wearing sandals in October. He looked at me and said, “Isn’t it a little cold for sandals?” AWESOME

  16. RYDER and NAOTS, both the best!
    I do believe those are Dee’s feet, posing as Flo’s feet in Optomistic dressers!

  17. I absolutly love this site
    makes you appreciate the little things in life that we take for grantit!!

  18. Ok I live down south and even thought we sometimes get snow in the winter you will see people in flip flops all day long. Yes we might regret it when we get home but hey what can ya do where I live the weather is bipolar.

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  20. I love wearing sandals too! If I lived someplace warmer (I live in Illinois,
    near the Wisconsin border), I would wear them full-time (if allowed to).
    Still, when winter comes and I can’t wear them outside, I’ll just keep
    wearing them inside – some types make great substitutes for
    bedroom slippers. (I also enjoy going barefoot as well; it’s
    like instant summertime. I’ve wanted to find a “no bare feet allowed”
    sign – and cover the “no”.)

  21. How about socks and sandals? For some reason I have a particular like for the combination and proudly wore the combination all last summer (and a few days this month already!)

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