Check out The Sandalman site and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this brand from Newport Beach, California is pretty trad. Their products are beautifully handmade, they’ve been going since 1974 and their aesthetic seems straight up athletic fogey. The kind of silver fox who goes boogie boarding, wears beads and can still turn the odd head down the crab shack. As you’ll see here though, The Sandalman’s Japan only product is another thing entirely.
Called the Lace Buckle Shoe, it’s sort of sandalish, but it’s really a shoe. But one that could pass for a sandal. But one that’s better than a sandal. If that makes sense. It brings to mind the work of New York footwearists Aurora, but with the addition of an ostentatious ripple sole. They’re a casual shoe sure, but one for dudes with minds as sharp as their demeanour is soft.
The rounded toes, the complimentary cigarette suede on the strap; these are one inscrutable pair of shoes. If you can negotiate the Japanese retailer and actually buy a pair, you’re the kind of guy that deserves a pair. Only very few people will understand your devotion to the obscure. But then, isn’t that the point.