By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Because apparently this week our goal is to publicly humiliate ourselves, we'll share with you some deluded vision we have each summer. In this bad Fellini rip-off played out on New York's crusty streets, we star as the innocent Italian peasant girl, filling up our straw basket with insecticide-free huckleberries and free-range eggs. Our hair fallseh, fuck it, cascades. Our billowy-tiered skirt billows, as billowy-tiered skirts are wont to do. Of course, we're wearing some wimpy shoe that frees us from the oppressive shackles of buckles, laces, and even common sense. We're in rubber flip-flops . . . and we've got some stank feet.
We'd like to grimace every time we see our fellow New Yorkers taking the city's sewer soup in thongs, if only we weren't wearing the same flimsy shoes ourselves. They're easy, and with the trend to bejewel every leather flip-flop in existence this summer, only the weakling rubber kind are available in all-purpose black.
However, this is far from a brilliant choice, according to Dr. Louis Galli, a podiatrist at Mt. Sinai Hospital. "If you have a break in the skin, because you're walking and the dirt gets into your flip-flop, it can actually work its way into the skin and you can develop a virus or fungal infection," he said. Galli, a board-certified foot-and-ankle surgeon, said he sees an increase in ankle sprains and fractures during the summer months because people are more likely to trip while wearing shoes, like flip-flops, that have no lateral support. Also, he said most women "need a little of a heel, because it brings the ground up to them. The flip-flop, the fact that it's flat, actually causes your foot to slap down and puts more pressure on the ball of your foot."
In an effort to rescue our feet from creepy-crawlies hatching more brethren in our big toe, we'd like to offer up a few shoe alternatives. (Keep in mind, none of these have been approved by the good doctor; we just like to harbor the illusion that they'll protect our feet a tad more). In short, another excuse to go shopping.
For when the weather's a bit cooler, their corduroy ballet flats seem to be a sturdier option than those cotton Mary Janes from Chinatown. We'd also suggest these jacquard ones, ideal under a pair of jeans.
The basic leather sandals from their Madras line, available in red, black, or gold, are like something Madeleine would wear; then there's the suede, round-toe shoes to go with any of their painter's-smock dresses.
Coclico's Verano is a suede, lace-up sandal with only a one-inch platform heel, on sale for around $110 to $120. Puma's yoga line, Nuala, also produced some surprisingly fine sandals this season, both on sale at Coclico for $99 each. Check out the Cela, or the Aja.
Home of the cheap ballet slipper (around $30), and we're also fond of the Kenneth Cole Reaction pointy-toed slingbacks they've got for $69.95.
A mighty fine selection of skimmers (think ballet flats cut lower on the side) are on sale for $19 to $29 a pair.
They're only stocking two shoes, but they're versatile enough to wear with pretty much any indie Brooklyn designer Plum carries: open-toe huaraches in silver leather, and gold cut-out ballet flats. Both from Dolce Vita for $68 each.
Huaraches with leather lace-ups, starting at $85; the softest silver ballet slippers with leather flowers, $128; and suede sandals that can wrap up the ankle in 12 different ways, from Lolli by Reincarnation.