This past week in New York City, Lily-Rose Depp walked out in a rose-colored corseted top, a pair of bootcut jeans, and a modest pair of Dr. Scholl’s. The sandals are very simple: a sole crafted out of natural beechwood (certified by the Forest Stewardship Council!) and a leather strap (sourced responsibly through the Leather Working Group) that are secured with a metal buckle. They cost a grand total of $30.
While there are other unfashionable-fashion shoes, Depp’s sandals felt different. It wasn’t as outdoors-minded like Tevas or as crunch-tastic as a Birkenstock, nor did it have the bulbous effect of a Croc. It’s still comfortable, but a little less remarkable (in a good way). Chloë Sevigny wore similar shoes last summer. The new mom was spotted trotting around New York in a Simone Rocha dress and a pair of durable, waterproof Saltwater Sandals. Those come with a basic flat rubber sole and a leather upper and are priced at $34.
This type of footwear is what I like to think of as “post ugly shoe.” The moment for meme-ably unappealing shoes (think: Balenciaga Crocs) has passed. Instead, these plain sandals encapsulate no extreme; they’re neither heinous nor sexy. The shoes feel granola, and maybe that is because they literally look like they rose from the dirt with their sand-colored or mud tones. They are comfortable, but only for a light stroll. No one is rushing anywhere in this shoe.
This is the shoe of leisure, the sandal of quiet money and the easy practicality that comes with it. No frills, here! I imagine they’re worn by a 55+ woman who lives well in Brookline, Massachusetts, most likely went to Wellesley or Smith back in the day, has long gray hair, prefers wide-brimmed sun hats, enjoys gardening, and lives in a mortgage-free Victorian home complete with a Volvo that’s been kicking around and a Coexist sticker. And now that this woman’s busy days are behind her? She has time to enjoy life and simply relish in those light strolls. In other words, she’s achieved the American dream fit for an NPR-listening queen, except she has pesky foot problems. My fashion writer friend Hannah Rose Tindle says it is most likely annoying bunions. (Those adjustable wide straps on the Dr. Scholl’s come in handy!) I think it’s an arch problem. (Soles like a firm mattress!) Either way, the podiatrist has probably prescribed her a trip to the Natural Shoe Store or Ecco for a solid dose of comfort.
I love these benign sandals, mostly they symbolize the ultimate luxury: relief. Plus, the styling options are endless as they aren’t trying to make an ironic or outre fashion statement. They are so pared-back that they can be worn with relatively anything, whether that is a slip skirt or tattered, flared jeans. In other words, take it easy and wear a shoe that’s made to love life.