Most men’s feet are disgusting. Mine are no exception – a gnarly mess of dried skin, blisters, purple nails and fungal infections (thank you, AstroTurf football). However, with the weather heating up I want to start wearing some footwear that will expose my hooves to the world. Out of concern for other people’s gag reflex, I’ve been endeavouring to get them into a more respectable condition: painting antibacterial stuff on the nails, filing them down, exfoliating the crusty skin and slathering the whole lot in moisturiser. It’s a struggle, but slowly I’m starting to see results. I just have to face facts: I am never going to be a foot model.
There is a range of summery, toe-revealing options for men. The pool slider has come into fashion – a real surprise for me, because I associate them with my childhood swimming club, and it’s safe to say that none of us were flying high in the style-stakes poolside. Nevertheless the slider is strutting down the catwalk, and that’s good news, as sliders are extremely comfortable – almost orthopaedically so.
I wanted to get a liquid silver pair of Nike sliders, but they sold out in about four seconds, so I settled on a pair of all-white ones with a subtle camo print (tricky to say what they’re camouflaging against). My girlfriend loathes them. She won’t let me leave the house wearing them. She thinks they’re too naughty. She’s wrong. They are exactly the right amount of naughty. I do privately accept her point that you can’t beat the classic, the navy and white Adidas three-stripe, but unfortunately I’ve argued myself into a corner and can’t back down. If you fancy a slightly smarter slider, Hunter (yes, the welly guys) do a rather chic plain black pair.
The other options are leather sandals – personally I think they always make people look like they’re part of a historical reconstruction event. Having said that, it’s interesting that Birkenstocks are popping up again. They look good, but be warned: you have to keep them clean and well aired. I had to prematurely dispose of my last pair due to their eye-burningly toxic odour.
In spite of all my buffing and scrubbing and clipping and rubbing, it may be that I just play it safe with espadrilles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the espadrille is a great shoe. Light, comfy, looks good, cheap – and, crucially, doesn’t reveal the horrors beneath. If you fancy spending a bit more, you can always splash out on some Soludos or Havaianas. Both have a thin plastic layer on the sole that makes them last longer, and they are made of a more robust canvas.
Whatever you decide, please remember that flip-flops are only OK on the beach. Even if you’re Australian.
Follow Rick on Twitter @rickedwards1