For Some people, jelly sandals are not attractive.
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The popular shoe from the 1990s is one of the “ugly” shoes like Crocs and Tevas that are making a comeback. It is making its way out of the closets of celebrities and onto the streets. Jellies were part of Alexa Chung’s second collaboration with Juju in 2022, while Gucci released a pair of rubber slide sandals earlier this spring. In recent years, shoe brands like Hush Puppies and Zara have come out with their own versions of this shoe. Along with the comeback of styles from the 1990s and 2000s, jelly sandals have also made their way into the minds of people today. I could not resist trying them. I never wore jelly sandals when I was a youngster. Unlike most of my classmates, I hated them. Even when I was five, I could tell that the plastic-like feel of jelly sandals did not work well in Puerto Rico’s heat and humidity. The feel of jelly sandals was like cheap vinyl. When the swimming session was over, I could see them all lined up by the pool at the summer camp. The sweat from the day before was drying on their bodies, and they were about to be doused with chlorine-filled water. I did not get why everyone was so upset. Because the skin kept rubbing against the rubber, they often caused blisters and made a gel-like, smelly dirt paste that was stuck in the feet of my classmates. Thank you very much. The Barbie-themed shoes worked well for me, and I had no problems with them.
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2015 was the year when I came the closest to actually wearing a pair. After living in Spain for a semester, I started to like jelly sandals the way my roommate did. She chose a traditional style with straps made of all jelly, but I went with a pair of sandals from Zara Kids with a leather sole. (My feet are naturally small enough that they can fit in children’s shoes. ) They were not that bad after all. However, after doing this for about three months, I finally decided I did not want to look like I was ten years old anymore. On the other hand, I felt like it was time to leave my comfort zone. Therefore, I decided to wear three different kinds of sandals: thong sandals, slide sandals with straps, and platform sandals. The grown-up part of me wanted to show that I could wear a shoe that looked like it was made for kids even though I was in my 20s. I ought to have paid more attention to my instincts. On the first day of my experiment, I tried out the “Caribbean Blue” Hush Puppies jelly strappy slides. Even though the straps of the slip-on sandal looked like they were made of rubber from the outside, they were actually flexible on the inside. This gave the wearer a sense of safety while wearing the shoe. The second thing made me think about adding a pair of jelly sandals to my collection of shoes. When I was younger, the thing that bothered me the most about them was that they felt like plastic. I wore my Hush Puppies sandals with a white button-down shirt from Target and chartreuse shorts from Uniqlo. This casual outfit was great for running errands. In the middle of July, I was afraid that wearing a long-sleeve button-down shirt and jelly sandals in a city as hot as Tucson would be a nightmare that would make me sweat and get blisters.
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However, if I had to pick on one thing, it would be that I was too hot in the middle. When I went home, my feet did not hurt. Up until now, the jellies had been winning. On the third day of my experiment, I decided to wear a pair of Coach Jelly thong sandals, and that was the day everything changed. I have never been interested in clothes that look like thongs. Who wants a string like a floss rubbing against their butt crack or toes every time they walk? These did not change my mind much about anything. At first, glance, when I wore them with a black top from Zara that was too big for me and white shorts from Target, they looked like a pair of innocent sandals I could wear any summer. However, after three hours, I had an overwhelming urge to run back to my house to get away from the fire I had just been through. (It is important to remember that I was a ballet dancer for 12 years, which means I can deal with blisters much better than most people can. ) The sweaty bottom of the shoe brought back a scary memory from summer camp when I saw other kids running around with their feet covered in what looked like petroleum jelly sweat. In the meantime, the strap that looked like a thong cut into my skin, which caused a bubble to form between my toes that were about to burst at any moment. I was used to feeling this kind of pain, which I had only ever felt before when I wore professional pointe shoes. That is how I got rid of them, and I have not thought about them since. By the time I got to the third pair, I was ready to give up because I am not willing to give up comfort just to have nice shoes. I was very hesitant to take my first step in a pair of platform sandals with clear jelly straps from Forever21. To go with the shoes, I wore a bright orange tank dress from the Christopher John Rogers for Target collection. I thought that these jellies, more than any others, looked the most appealing. Nevertheless, just as I was getting ready to put them on, my partner said, “Those look like a sure way to get sweaty. ” In reality, he was right. After a few days of having blisters, I was already using bandages, but this pair did not help much. The sharp edges of the straps were so close to cutting my sweaty skin, and the straps themselves were so stiff that I could barely move without wincing in pain. The only thing that saved my outfit from being a total mess was a CJR ruffled hem. Even though jelly sandals are thought to be great for warm weather, they are one of the best ways to ruin your summer. Even though one pair of sandals was clearly the winner (I think we can all agree that it was the Hush Puppies), the other two made it clear that I will never be able to wear jelly sandals.