These are the Steve Mono artisanal sandals. In the 1987 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, Robert Downey Jr’s character, pharmaceutical-liker Julian, wore something similar. His were black and he wore them with socks. It might have been the LA setting. It might have been the 80s. It might have been the character’s preference for self-medication. But that’s what he did. And upon seeing the film at the time, I thought it was the ugliest, most effeminate and downright obscene approach to bloke’s footwear.
And here I am, over 30 years later, thinking the exact opposite.
I’ll get one thing straight from the off, these must be worn with socks. I kind of assumed we were now living in a world now acceptant of the sandal/sock combo. But even my girl (who works in fashion) still provokes raised eyebrows with the look. And just look at Oi Polloi – the most enthusiastic proponent of socks-with-sandals. They still feel the need to legitimise the combination every time they mention Birkenstocks. I thought it was a given by now. Particularly with men. Outside the consumers of a few specialist videos on Redtube, I can’t imagine who wants to look at a mens’ feet?
Beyond the ‘socks only’ ruling, it’s anything goes. Trousers, jeans, shorts… they’ll all work. The sandals are handmade made in Spain by, “craftsmen in the factory of the Basque Country”, feature natural vegetable calf leather and are, according to retailer I Am Shop, both “functional and sustainable”. It is also suggested that this style is, “timeless”. A description that perhaps refers to the 30 year gestation period between hating them in an 80’s film and eventually wanting to buy them?