Looking back at the '90s, I fondly remember the flurry of Saturday morning cartoons, dessert-inspired cereal, and jelly sandals. Despite all the fun, there is likely one thing your nostalgia-tinted glasses have made you forget about wearing jelly sandals: How uncomfortable they actually were, are, and will always be. It seems weird to think that a shoe originally marketed at children could be so painful. But IMO, jelly shoes weren't really child-friendly footwear. If I'm being totally honest, I daresay they're not even feet-friendly.
However, summer is here and you probably want to get your tootsies out and wiggle your newly-manicured feet in glee. If you have plans to head to the beach, you may have already ordered a pair of jelly kicks. After all, what better summery shoe could there be for paddling in the ocean?
As a child, chances are you felt invincible in your jellies. You could traverse any terrain, run around with ease, get them wet, and still look like the most fashionable kid on the block while doing so. Jelly sandals were also easy to clean. You could pour a bucket of sea water over your feet, or get the garden hose out to spray down your shoes, and they'd be sparkling again in no time. They seemed like the perfect sandals. That is, until you realized how horrible they were to wear.
Silver Sparkle Heeled Jellies Sandals '90s, $30, etsy.com
Nobody told you that you'd have to break in your jelly shoes. Heck, I bet even your mom was surprised when you removed your jellies after dramatically complaining, only to find that your feet had been rubbed red raw. It didn't take long for these sparkly shoes to ravage your soles, because let's face it, you were walking around wearing unyielding plastic and trying to pass it off as actual footwear.
In truth, your foot flesh would seep through the holes on the jellies, creating sore stripes upon removing your sandals of doom. The heel strap would rub uncontrollably, and don't get me started on the hellish buckle. Jelly sandals were the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing of the fashion world: They looked so pretty and so inviting, yet as soon as you stepped foot in them, they turned against you.
Life seemed very unfair to 7-year-old you: You who saw your BFFs laughing and playing jump rope in their glittering canvas sandals, while you put Band-Aids on your blisters.
Holographic Glitter Jelly Shoes Vintage Deadstock, $30, etsy.com
That said, there was a hack that you may or may not have learned when you were younger, and that you may still be none the wiser to now. You could tame these vicious kicks with another accessory: socks.
Although you may be wrinkling your nose in disgust at the thought of wearing socks with sandals, you might be surprised to learn that some folks appear to be making socks with sandals cool. Rihanna even wore socks with sandals and smashed the alleged faux pas.
Sure, you might not be able to go rock-pooling in a pair of socks and jelly sandals, unless you don't mind getting your feet wet, but the comfort you'll gain from wearing a pair of socks will likely far outweigh the negatives. Besides, there are tons of cool socks out there, so you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to mixing and matching them with your sandals.
Of course, you can always throw caution to the wind and wear your jellies without socks. But be warned: The side effects may not be pleasant. Whether you choose to flaunt your jelly sandals with or without a protective barrier, just make sure you have a blast and unleash your inner child.
Because if you can't go puddle-jumping when you're rocking your jelly sandals, when can you?
Images: Besos Vintage/Etsy (1); Courtesy Brands