Mogul Etiquette 101….. The Sandal

Written by on June 6, 2013

Let’s start this off by letting you all know, I don’t do sandals. It is not my cool. There is something that just shouts feminine when it comes to those shoes. Nothing against the men out there who likes to partake in the sandal, I have nothing against you. But when it comes to my toes and feet, I have come to the realization that the sandal is not a good look for me.

It started sometime back in grade school. I remember wearing a pair one hot summer day down south. I was outside running around like boys do in the summer and I must have fucked around and scrapped my toes on the concrete. All I remember is my summer love Sheila laughing hysterically at me as I looked at my toenails trying to keep my cool in check. But that little scrap hurt like hell, but from all pain there is a lesson to learn. My lesson was to never wear another pair of sandals again!! And as the years went by, I never stepped foot in another pair. As a matter of fact after my toe incident, I think I took them off right then and there and ran for my Nikes.

But I know some of you Moguls like to sport a sandal every once in a while. Ask Men has compiled a nice list of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to wearing sandals.

Men’s sandals don’ts

Don’t take a hike

Keen Newport H2 - Credit: Zappos.com

When it comes to the worst offenders in the world of men’s sandals, ones designed for serious outdoor activity top the list. This variety looks more like a full-on shoe with oddball cutouts than a sleek summer sandal. No one would doubt its comfort or utility with a lug sole and all those synthetic water-absorbent materials. After all, something so hideous must have been created to serve a purpose. However, function should never completely trump style. If you’re going to take a hike, do it with a pair of real boots, not a stout sandal.

Don’t go granola

Birkenstock Taupe Suade Arizona - Credit: Birkentstock USA

Birkenstocks and Tevas are better suited for a sit-in than a night out. You probably owned at least one pair of these granola-crunching shoes at summer camp and wore them with a not-so-subtly witty frat boy style T-shirt, cargo shorts and a hemp necklace. It’s time to grow up. A real man’s sandal should channel casual sophistication, not a bonfire. The ironic thing about these men’s sandals is that they are supposed to somehow be practical. The relatively hefty price tag and inability to withstand moisture say otherwise. One stroll on the lakeshore with these, and you’ll be waiting days for them to dry out. In the meantime, you’re left smelling like a dirty locker room.

Don’t cover up

Socks and sandals - Credit: iStockphoto.com

It’s difficult to say how exactly the sock and sandal combination came into existence. By contrast, it’s astoundingly easy to spot the offenders every summer. Just go to your local amusement park, museum or outlet shopping center — basically any place where there are tourists en masse. You’ll be bound to find argyle sock-covered feet strangled in a sandal gasping for air. Some even wear it unabashedly as though an open-toed shoe were designed to be corrupted in the most heinous of ways.

Don’t buy in bulk

Dr. Martens Breckin - Credit: Zappos.com

Some people might be surprised to find out that Dr. Martens still exist. The iconic, chunky black shoe/boot with yellow stitching certainly had its moment with mall-rat teens in the ’90s. What isn’t surprising is that if Dr. Martens were to make a men’s sandal, it would be equally cumbersome. Summer fashion is supposed to be light and carefree, but wearing a shoe that looks like a block of wood on your foot doesn’t exactly radiate airiness. Thick foam and rubber-sole sandals with equally bulky uppers are just as offensive as the hiking type without any of the functionality.

Don’t slide around

Adidas Adissage Fitfoam Slide - Credit: DICK'S Sporting Goods

Unless you’re a sideline soccer player, leave the athletic slip-ons at home. It may be easy and comfortable to slip your foot into a lightweight foam and rubber sandal, but it’s not a statement you ever want to make outside of your home or maybe the showers at the gym. This is one sandal that, despite sturdiness, has a limited ability to survive outside of its normal habitat. No matter how your wear the slide, it will always make you look like you just came from soccer practice. Even a benched Beckham wouldn’t be able to pull this one off.

Now that you know the men’s sandals don’ts, it’s time to check out the dos…

 Men’s sandals dos

Do make an X to mark the spot

Salvatore Ferragamo Maldives Sandal - Credit: NeimanMarcus.com

It can be downright difficult to find a men’s sandal that is both simple and stylish if you want something other than flip-flops. The solution: a cross-strap sandal. There are no bells and whistles here; just two uncomplicated straps to hold your foot in place. It’s also the perfect sandal if you find a traditional flip-flop that slips on between your toes to be uncomfortable. Just be careful not to go with certain faux-leather types or you could risk looking like grandpa at the retirement home.

Do wear a Brazilian thong

Havaianas Trend sandal - Credit: Havaianas

A thong as a swimsuit is a definite no-no, but on your feet it’s a different story. Havaiana flip-flops drifted ashore in the U.S. from the beaches of Brazil a few years ago. It’s hard to imagine summer fashion without the ease of this soft rubber sandal that doesn’t look like a cheap mess. The best thing about Havaianas is that they are inexpensive and come in over a dozen colors. Warning: Though flip-flops do serve their purpose at the beach or poolside, we’ll come after you if we see wearing them in the office.

Do splurge on quality

Aldo Sandal - Credit: Aldo.comFortunately, splurging on quality in this department doesn’t have to break the bank. A pair in slightly antiqued, worn leather will mold to your foot after just a few weeks and easily become your go-to shoe for the summer. They hold up just as well at the beach as they do on the streets, so you can wear them with shorts or jeans and a polo shirt. Either way, the scorching heat of summer will be no match for your comfortably cool feet.

Ask Men


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