Friday, November 9, 2012

it's a sandal! it's a boot! it's...pants?

by frédérik

Presented under the headline of “Fashion That Makes Us Sad” by Yahoo! fashion blog The Thread, DaniKShoes’ idiosyncratic jean sandal boots earned the distinction of “unimaginably odd footwear” by blogger Julie Pereira – and much ridicule by yahoo commentators who live up to the stereotype of yahoo commentators.  You can read the rather condescending article here.

But I’m going to come to designer Danielle’s defense – with alliteration! And a proper portion of pontification!

First, however, here’s a look at a few items from Danielle’s Etsy shop:

Images borrowed from the DaniKShoes Etsy shop under fair use.

Each pair of rubber-soled sandal boots are handmade from vintage jeans and assorted fabrics, with ornaments ranging from colourful buttons to chains. Prices range from $125-145, and the shoes are one-of-kind.

Some have called these ugly. Some have suggested that whomsoever would wear these deserve to be ridiculed. In short, the response has been the very opposite of what defines the “Fashionoclast” spirit. Which isn’t to say you have to like, covet, or otherwise indulge in the kind of genuflection reserved for particularly inspiring designs.

For my part, while I might take issue with the construction of individual pairs of sandal-boots in Danielle’s shop, there’s much I appreciate about the concept:

  • This is an undeniably novel way to reuse old fabrics instead of condemning them to landfills. Eco-friendliness: always a big green plus in my book.
  • Humour is as legitimate a design element as any other. Why shouldn’t fashion designers infuse a bit of good-natured absurdity into their work? People seem to forget the distinction between laughing AT something and laughing WITH something. 
  • Everything adds up to create an unconventional variation on the “conventional” sandal-boot like this one from

Image borrowed under fair use from

After all, if they can put cowboy boot sandals out there, why not a pants motif? (Technically, these are cheats: leg warmer-like boot tops paired with flip-flops.)

Image borrowed under fair use from Cactus Creek Daily

So yes, I like them. They're different. While I don't think these jean sandal boots are for everyone, I think they're far more interesting than the garish, cheap-looking Crocs and shapeless Uggs that a few yahoo commentators brought up in comparison.

My only reservation from a design standpoint is one I tend to have of any sandal-boots; a too-generous circumference at the ankle disrupts our perception of body proportions. Result: the appearance of stick-legs in too-big shoes, or fattened ankles. (Sandals 2 and 4 above illustrate my point, compared to 1 and 3 which to look better on account of working with the body instead of against it.)

As for how to wear the jean sandal boots, I think pragmatism suggests the obvious: not with full-length pants, but with capris (maybe), shorts, or skirts. You don’t need pants tucked under the hem of your pants, right?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!


Mica said...

You're right it is an imaginative use for old jeans, but I just don't understand these shoes, or any of these where you have the strap at the toes and lots of fabric around the ankles, like the sandal-boot you pointed out. I don't get peeptoe boots either though.
It's either cold enough for strappy sandals or it's not, when is it the right temperature to cover up your ankle and foot but let your toes out? I would end up with cold toes or warm ankles...
Just add this whole trend to the "don't understand" pile for me!

Frederik Sisa said...

I'd say the boots aren't intended to be anything other that style affectations since, as you say, they aren't very practical. I'll take them over peeptoes, however, which always strike me as both impractical and aesthetically unappealing. Still, since most of these sandal boots tend to distort the wearer's ankles, I have to agree that they are rather puzzling. :) said...

I was gonna say #3 actually looks quite nice! I have leather versions of something similar... I have always liked them. Not sure if denim will be easy to match, definitely can't wear them with denim... so that might be the tricky part with these ones you posted about.

Here are some old entries from my old blog:

Frederik Sisa said...

Hey bB! Your shoes look great. You definitely rock them, particularly in this post:

Thanks for sharing!

But yes: denim with denim is tricky even when considering matching jackets, shirts, and pants, let alone shoes. I suppose the only option is to go perpendicular, with entirely different fabrics. said...

I think a knee-length black dress would be perfect with these!

Frederik Sisa said...

I can picture that! Good suggestion! :)

JD said...

I like these. When yahoo bashed them, I wanted to defend the maker. So. Whatever. I like them.

Frederik Sisa said...

Hey Jim. Yahoo's fashion commentators are a very judgmental lot. It amazes just how offended and upset people let themselves get over these things.

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