Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Topsies: a snappy change of pace from the usual flip-flop

by frédérik sisa

Now these look cool!

A hands-on review will have to wait until I can get my hands on a pair of these lovelies (they don’t have my size), but since I’ve had my eyes on these for months now I just couldn’t wait to write up a little sumthin’-sumthin’. They’re called Topsies and they were created by imaginative clothing designer – and long time resident of the sunny Golden State – Franne Goldberg as an alternative to flip-flops.

Consisting of stretchy, breathable fabric fashioned as a thong sandal, Topsies differs from the usual flip-flop by also having material wrap around the ankle. The result is a stylish kind of gladiator sandal or open-toed, cut-out “bootie,” with leather-lined cushioned soles and synthetic rubber bottoms. See for yourself (click to enlarge image):

Faithful Fashionoclast readers won’t be surprised to read that part of Topsies’ appeal to me is that they’re for everyone – men, women, even children. Another plus is that these are hand-made in the US. I especially love their fun carefree attitude, as shown in this really cute ad:

But a few things in particular are noteworthy, beginning with the fact that these provide a solution to two related problems posed by flip-flops. Although we all love our noisy little friends, flip-flops can fall off our feet. Worse, extended wear can cause serious foot, heel, and ankle pain:
The [Auburn University] team videotaped 39 flip-flop-wearing volunteers and noticed how they scrunched their toes to keep the flip-flip on the foot while the heel lifted in the air. This motion stretches the plantar fascia, the connective tissue that runs from heel to toe, causing inflammation, pain along the sole, heel spurs and tired feet in general.

These symptoms were actually what flip-flop wearers at Auburn University had reported upon returning to classes in the fall. An entire summer of flip-flop wearing had taken its toll.

The researchers also found that the volunteers altered their gait, taking shorter strides and turning their ankles inward, likely to keep the flip-flop from falling off. This, the researchers worry, can cause long-term ankle and hip problems.
No one’s saying give up the flip-flops - and not all flip-flops are created equal. Chacos offer, in my experience, the most supporting and robust flip-flop form out there. But Topsies, beyond actually staying on your foot courtesy of the fabric upper and ankle wrap, offer a more foot-friendly option for when you’re going to do more than moseying to the pool. The design is intended to handle substantial activities.

And Topsies look good! They sport a chic, distinctive look that jazzes up the standard flip-flop. The company offers a respectable range of colours and prints, with more on the way (I assume); it’s easy to picture these as versatile elements of any stylish wardrobe. For myself, I’m envisioning these with a nice pair of straight-cut jeans.

Naturally, I’ll report back once I’ve had a chance to try these for myself. If you beat me to it, though, please write in at fsisa[at]thefrontpageonline[dot]com (you know the drill: replace the at and dot with @ and .) and tell me what you think! Or just post a comment below.

To get a pair for yourself, visit www.topsiesonline.com. And here’s a bonus: the fine and friendly folk at Topsies gave me a special coupon code exclusively for Fashionoclast readers to use when ordering. Enter “summer” in the coupon code box at checkout and you’ll receive a 10% discount off your order. That’s right, 10%.


Aqua Catlin said...

(Thanks for the opportunity to post here, BlogMate) Sorry for this: my eyes are hating that sandal! Eeeeek!gulp. eeew.

a.snipes said...

Love the low-cut ones.Was never able to wear flip-flops(could not keep them on,my foot is to narrow)I saw a pair in New Smyrna Beach,Fa.,they are perfect and look fabulous.Actually I would have bought several but they had only one pair in my size.

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