The Return of the Mandal? We Kinda Hope Not

Far be it from us to criticize the inimitably witty Guy Trebay, veteran fashion writer for The New York Times. The man has an insight and perspective on the industry that only years of experience can provide.

So it came much to our surprise when we read his story sympathizing with men who wear mandals, specifically the Birkenstock Ramses, a men’s thong sandal. As observers of some categorical rules of style, at first we balked at the suggestion that any man should be encouraged to wear a sandal, let alone one that evokes spring semesters spent smoking too much hash on the quad. (And didn’t you read our men’s summer footwear guide the other day? No sandals if you’re not at the beach, bro.)

But then, like any good reporter, Mr. Trebay covered the shoe’s other benefits — the arch support, the cooler soles, the company’s attempts to “raise the ante on design” — and we softened. A little.

Because maybe sometimes we should be comfortable. And maybe our feet deserve to take advantage of the summer sun and cool breezes every now and again. Our good friend Abby at Fashionista is contemplating buying a pair of summer sandals — she might even get Birkenstocks — and we support that. We’re just not sure of the Birkenstock is the right mandal for us.

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