Opinion: Are Socks and Sandals Cool? Taking Birken-Stock of the Situation

A photo illustration of the author, Killian Altayeb, showing off their socks and sandals combination in front of Wesley Hall. The style choice is depicted as working in snowy weather, looking fashionable to some, but questionable to others (Photo illustration by Killian Altayeb).

As the temperature drops and snow blankets the ground, students pile on layers and the more cautious don gloves and scarves. However, for some students, one thing does not change regardless of the weather: The choice to wear socks and sandals.

While Menominee native and first-year Derek Koshorek says he’s simply “okay with it,” despite not wearing them himself, others have much more to say on the topic. To some, it can be a passionately debated point of conversation. 

Athletes, swimmers in particular, are usually seen wearing them around campus. As someone devoted wholeheartedly to the socks and sandals cause, I made sure to ask Albion swimmer and Northville first-year Lauren Bailey her thoughts. She shook the snow off of her own pairing of brightly colored socks and Birkenstocks before expressing her devotion to wearing socks and sandals.

“You’ll never catch me going to practice without them,” Bailey said.

Grand Rapids first-year Abigail Dombrowski jumped to agree with the style choice. She put down her bag, looked me in the eyes and said how much she loved socks and sandals. Dombrowski even offered to walk all the way back to her dorm to put her own on, just for the sake of the joke.

If there was a socks and sandals fan club, I’d be the president. I once walked to and from The Ludington Center twice in one day in 9°F while wearing the combo.

The Guardian itself says that “the style can be seen within a lineage of traditionally ‘ugly’ shoes such as Crocs and Birkenstocks becoming ‘so bad they are good’” in an article published during London Fashion Week in 2020. 

However, some people I asked weren’t as devoted to the shoe choice, and like George Bush in a press conference from 2008, I quickly saw a shoe being thrown at my head. 

During a discussion about wearing sandals in lab environments – every STEM professor’s worst nightmare – South Lyon native and first-year Sophia Ash rose from her seat to make a declaration.

“People who wear socks and sandals suck,” Ash said while staring at her friend, who had previously expressed how socks and sandals are versatile and fashionable.DePaul University’s college publication, The Depaulia, coined the term “going command-toe” in an article titled: “Socks and sandals are fouling up fashion show runways.

Socks and sandals (are) the hallmark of European tourists and sad dads everywhere,” the website reads.

Whether you believe socks and sandals are meant for people who exclusively shop at IKEA or a gift from the heavens, I think there’s one footwear opinion that can unite us all:

Putting your Crocs’ strap above your ankle should be called “putting them in sports mode.”

About Killian Altayeb 25 Articles
Killian Altayeb is from Novi, Michigan and is a second-year student at Albion College. They are a Biochemistry Major with a journalistic interest in all things public health. Contact Killian via email at NA12@albion.edu.

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