A Most “Sandal”ous Post! What’s Worth the Cost?

Let’s see now. June is almost over. And for over a month, I’ve been meaning to write a post on the subject of sandals.  You see, I’m on a no-buy.  A little over a month ago, I decided that there were more than enough clothes and other items in my possession.   I honestly did not need any more stuff.

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The exception to the rule being if my husband buys it for me. That doesn’t work.

Shoes?  There is a plethora of shoes in my closet. And quite frankly, the heels are collecting a bit of dust since the pandemic.  For some reason, during the past winter, I ended up wearing more flats and boots than heels.  And as I age, the lower kitten heels and flats are making my feet happier. To be honest, I’ve thought long and hard about selling my shoes on Mercari or Poshmark but I just cannot deal with people—especially if they try to scam me by saying my shoes aren’t what they thought they would be. I’ll just continue to allow them to collect dust.

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All of these shoes, with the exception of the floral ones (I trashed because the fit was horrific) are still in my closet. Collecting dust.

But now, it’s summer. And actually, when the weather warms up in late spring, I’m ready to say goodbye to closed shoes and give my feet and tootsies a break. It goes beyond the pedicure. It’s the absolute freedom that a sandal affords. Like being barefoot without really being barefoot. Trust me, I love being barefoot. I drive barefoot. And growing up so close to the beach, I spent most of the summers as a teen…barefoot!

This photo was actually taken in March of 2016. It was an early spring that year!

Things are a bit different now. I dare not run through the grass barefoot in my development because not everyone picks up after their dog. Add to the fact that workers have been in the neighborhood replacing roofs and dropping rusty nails like rain, I really don’t need to step on an old, corroded nail and get God only knows what kind of infection, even though I had a tetanus shot two years ago. The feet may need and want freedom, but protection is needed as well.

I also dare not walk barefoot in the streets of France for the same reason, but I love both driving and passengering barefoot in the car!

Flip-flops as a sandal are not my jam. Besides, I think they can be dangerous and other than the beach or pool, they just look sloppy. Don’t even get me started on the number of travelers wearing flip flops on airplanes. With bad feet. That end up sitting next to me!

I Hate Feet GIF by Big Brother

Darlin’ I’m with you. And people with the filthiest feet exposed while wearing flip-flops always seem to be drawn to me!

And because my feet are so ridiculously narrow, many mass-produced sandals literally slide off my feet. So then, just what do I look for in sandals?  We’re gonna discuss that now.  Come with me.

All sandals are not created alike.  All sandals are not meant to fit every kind of foot.  And over the years I’ve amassed quite the collection ranging from mid-price to higher-priced. I believe somewhere in this post there will even be a very cheap pair if I can find them.  (Forget it. I couldn’t find them) But I’ll go over some of the sandals and their brands that I do have. And mind you, every single pair has been with me for a while.  I’ll start off with the two purchased just before my  No-Buy and continue from there. Some of my purchases have been for naught as well and some, I still purchased knowing full-well that they were not worth the money they retail for.

Tory Burch Miller Sandals: These are the most recent. The black geometrical pattern pair was purchased in early spring on sale. It was supposed to be a big sale price at $139 but the sandals were still a bit expensive for what it’s worth. The nude ones (the color “Makeup”) were purchased with gift cards from Nordstrom. So even though I only paid $50, the $198 price point is still ridiculously overpriced.

The “Iconic” Tory Burch Miller Sandal. I state iconic in a semi-sarcastic tone.  From appearance, they are a nice looking sandal. Not gonna lie about that. However, they do fall short in length and if you have a wider foot you need to size up. If you have a narrow foot, stick with your regular size because if you size up, you will break a bone. You will!

The Miller sandals are incredibly popular.  Many even refer to this sandal is “iconic”—I think that’s a stretch. The overall design is actually quite nice. They take a bit of time to break in to total comfort but they aren’t bad.  The foot/sole of the sandal runs a tad short so sizing up is a good option—if your foot isn’t narrow.  This was my issue.  My shoe size is 8 ½.  The S/A at Nordstrom suggested size up to a nine for “ultimate” fit and comfort. I did and almost broke my leg with the first step. The vamp of the sandal was so wide that I slide out of the sandals and tripped. My regular size of 8 ½ fit much better. And although the vamp is a bit narrower than the next size up, the sandals could be a bit narrower.  But they look good. I prefer to wear them with maxi dresses and pants and don’t wear them very often. They still need to be broken in a bit more.  Overall, they are nice and flattering to the foot but absolutely not worth the cost of $198 and upwards!

During Spring these were worn with pants quite often. It’s too hot for pants presently. Honestly, it’s too hot for underwear but my parts are sagging so that’s another story.  They look nice and surprisingly, this pair is more comfortable than the other pair. Go figure.

Same sandal in the Makeup color. I like a good nude and this color is wonderful. But for mass-produced sandals that aren’t custom fit, these are wayyyyyyyy overpriced.  There’s no way I would be buying another pair of these sandals. I can see spending $39.99 or $29.99 for these because, quite franky, that’s all they are worth…ahhhh paying for a name!

Jack Rogers: Women, especially of the Preppy genre, go crazy over this brand.  Granted, the design of the Navajo is iconic and is a great summer look. The original design, by another brand was Jackie Kennedy’s favorite. Jack Rogers jumped on the bandwagon, copied the design and through strategic and brilliant marketing, made this company a multi-million preppy-must-have.  But the fit is absolutely horrific. And I don’t know why I keep giving this brand “another chance” because those chances barely work.   Currently, I have a pair in the platinum color which is beautiful.  The width is “Narrow” –yes, the brand sells narrow sandals.  However, and a huge however, the leather stretches. A lot!  When I first got the sandals I loved the fit—especially since it was narrow. Then after three wearings—only three, the leather stretched out to the point when I do wear them, I need to dig my toes into the insole just to keep them on.   Again, for a sandal priced well over $100, it’s not worth the cost.

Over the years, I do believe that I’ve given Oona at least three pair of these. I don’t even know what I have these strawberry sandals in my possession. These sandals, even at a narrow width, are an absolute waste for those of the narrow foot. They work much better for wider feet!

Palm Beach Sandals:  This brand, created prior to Jack Rogers, was the original iconic sandal but for some reason isn’t as popular as Jack Rogers. It was a small family-run company but I do believe now has since changed ownership and is available for franchise as advertised on the Palm Beach Sandals website.   It’s a shame too, because these sandals happen to be very good. The price of the sandals, in my opinion, is too costly for what it’s worth.  Sorry, but at $128 and upwards, as good as the sandals are, it isn’t worth it.  But the fit is much more narrow-foot friendly. Add to that, these are hand-made but not custom-fit.  I have a few pair and every pair has been purchased from both Poshmark and Mercari for a fraction of the retail cost. The average price I’ve paid is $30 and well-worth it. I feel if you can find these sandals on a “pre-loved” website you can do wonderfully. All the pairs I’ve purchased were never worn!  The leather doesn’t stretch.  They are hand made and I personally think these are much better than the Jack Rogers.

Every pair of PBS that I own were purchased pre-loved and never worn. I lucked out but it took a while to find the right pairs.  I have to say, I do like these a lot!

The gun metal gray is my favorite. It’s basically a neutral that goes well with so many of my summer clothing and I can wear them into the early fall–okay, late fall–who am I kidding? Notice how nice the fit is across the strap. Truly a narrow foot sandal!

Tony Bonanno Sandals:  I must take a moment of pause here. Tony is the son of Stephen Bonanno of Stephen Bonanno Sandals (now defunct) and of the Bonanno family who made those iconic treasures for Jackie Kennedy.  Tony deserves a ton of credit for revitalizing the family business and I wish him nothing but tremendous success. He makes the sandals to your measurements.  I purchased a pair of the Eva Sandals and he made them to fit a narrow width.  Over the two years I’ve worn these, the leather has stretched a bit and I would love to purchase another pair but have him make them narrower across the strap. When I leave my no-buy I’ll do this.  Look. The Jack Rogers, The Palm Beach Sandals and the Tony Bonanno sandals all share similarities in design and are all a bit pricey. But this is a true small business and I want him to do well. So, I would bite the bullet on another pair. But not now.

The Tony Bonanno Eva Sandal. Truth be told, I like this model because it’s a change from the usual Original Classis.  

I also like the fact you can make your own choices when it comes to the leather and the whipstitching trim.  The navy leather and gold trim is a nice combination. But next time I purchase these, I’ll definitely ask for a narrower strap!

Rondini Sandals: Hands down, my all-time favorite sandal. There’s nothing more to say. Well, actually, there’s a lot to say!  The Rondini family has been making sandals in St. Tropez (their only shop) since 1927.

Most people associate St. Tropez with Yachts, the mega-wealthy and nightclubs. I associate St. Trop with Rondini and my Father-In-Law Dany Lartigue (RIP). TBH, I don’t really feel like I’m there until I see this shop!

My husband’s mother wore the family’s custom-made sandals. His grandmother did. His father did. And now…I do and have been for about 14 years. From my first pair to the most recent pair which was purchased on our last visit, I’ve never been dissatisfied. Sadly, our trip to the South of France this summer and last summer were cancelled. I’m praying next summer is a go and I’ll head back to the little studio early in the morning to get there when Rondini opens!

My husband’s mother, the beautiful Evie Lartigue–she’s wearing her Tropezienne sandals. And..get this, she dated Roger Vadim–he even mentioned her in his book! I need a moment!

I’ll never forget the first time I was there. The studio was very cozy and small with a limited number of seats. There was a line outside by the time I made my purchase and it was one of the best shopping experiences I’ve ever had.  The foot is carefully measured in length and width. No pressure whatsoever to chose the sandal you want. The customer service is stellar. If you don’t speak French—don’t worry because someone will be able to help you speaking English!

And look! Rondini is open on Sunday!

They go far and above to get that perfect fit for you.  Back in 2018 I purchased the Pouce Tressé in Red. Well, for that particular sandal my foot was so narrow that extra time was needed to make them. Three days later we headed back and the sandals were ready. The sandals were €130 with no extra charge to make them narrower.

My foot was so narrow that it took a couple of days to make these extra narrow. Anoter plus is they will be honest and let you know if your foot isn’t a good fit or a certain style. I had another style in mind and was told that my foot was just too narrow. I appreciate that. A lot.

The sandals come with their own little protective pouch which is epic for traveling!

Another year, I guess it was six or seven years ago, when Chippy was younger, he snacked a favorite pair of Rondini’s—the Tropezienne sandals. He chewed one of the straps till it was broken. We packed the sandals in our luggage, and when we stopped at the shop to have the strap fixed, I was told that the leather replacement might not be the same exact color leather because I had mine for a number of years. Honestly, you can’t even tell which strap was repaired.  It’s crazy.

The Salomé sandal, a chic black number is worn to the office and when I want a bit of a dressier sandal look. These are remarkably comfortable and absolutely no “break-in” time! The cost of my black leather Salomé sandals was 145.  As an aside, this is an extremely popular sandals and offered in a plethora of colors.

This is one chic pair of sandals. I want another pair.

There’s just something so elegant about this elongated T-strap. It makes the foot look so pretty!

Allow me to say that these custom-made sandals make a $10 dress look like a million!

The Tropeziennes are the ones that are my old reliables.  Imitated, duped, knocked off all over France. But there’s nothing like the one and only original by Rondini! I cannot believe how well-molded to my feet these are and every time I wear them, I think of The Frenchman’s mother and her Tropezienne sandals. Keeping it in the family! At €150 for the double-tanned leather, and upwards for other kinds of leather, these are so worth it.

These add a touch of class to an abandoned lot in Brooklyn, NY. Yes. I wore these during our weekend in Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago. And I walked the city streets all day and these were as comfortable as an old pair of slippers! 

They’ve been chewed on by Chippy and repaired. I’ve had them maybe 12 years? And they fit better than ever!

Over a decade old and still looking great!

The Sahariennes are the first Rondini sandals I’ve purchased. They are so special to me and I use these as my go-to beach sandal. More than a flip-flop but not as dressy as the other sandals, these are indestructible!  And yet, remain looking fantastic. Present priced at €140, I believe the price may have been ten or twenty euros less when I purchased these years ago.

The abuse these sandals have taken is incredible. I’ve sat at ocean’s edge only to get them soaked. They have been worn in the pouring rain and stepped into puddles. They’ve been to every beach from our visits to France and Long Island and New Jersey and these babies are still fine. There’s some cracking at the inside but I’ll condition them–at some point.  They fit my feet perfectly.

This picture was taken the week before Memorial Day when we were down the shore.  Year after year they are my “beach” sandals!

The Bikini is my favorite sandal of all time. I freaking love this sandal so much that for the past two years, I’ve envisioned myself taking the ferry from Sainte-Maxime early in the morning, to arrive at Rondini at opening and purchasing a pair in gold leather. This sandal is just so beautiful and feminine and looks so pretty. It’s a bit boho and glamorous at the same time but can be worn with basically anything. It’s so versatile. This fabulous sandal retails for €150 in the double-tanned leather that I have and €155 for the metallic, which I plan on adding to my collection.

My favorite sandal of all time. I get tons of inquiries and compliments when I wear these.  They are just magnificent!

The strap placement is just so gorgeous and those leather straps once tied, don’t loosen during the day!  This is the ultimate summer sandal!

I wear these to work quite often

Trip Bits and Travel Tips. And Astute Observations | Atypical 60And  everywhere else! 

Another few words I want to add to this. The Rondini sandals are a great price and stellar value for the price. All the other sandals I mentioned have price points ranging from approximately $128 upwards to the price of the $198 Tory Burch Miller. That’s the full retail price.

The Shoes of Summer. Sandals, of Course! | Atypical 60

Yes. These sandals are pricey but they are custom-made. all leather and literally mold to your feet. You will have these for decades!

And although the USD is at a pretty pathetic conversion rate as of this date, the conversion from 150 euros for the bikini sandal to the $179.50 conversion rate still comes in less expensive than the mass-produced Tory Burch sandals. Think about that. A custom fit and made sandal for less than $200 USD. A sandal you will have for years and years and over a decade. A sandal that can be repaired at a minimal cost.  In addition, the sandal molds to your feet in the best possible way. All leather. It doesn’t get better than that.

My little family of Rondini Sandals. I need another pair or three.

I also am a huge believer that when traveling, purchase an item that will be with you forever.  An item that you can’t get at home. And that’s where the Rondini sandals come in. I know many people who purchase Chanel and Louis Vuitton leather goods in France and other parts in Europe because the price is slightly better than here. But you can find that stuff here. I would rather go for something a bit unique. But that’s just my opinion. I honestly don’t mean to get preachy!

Oh. One last thing. I didn’t include strappy heels in the post because I personally don’t consider these as a true sandal. IMO, they are a shoe. But I love these gold strappy shoes! Very feminine!

So that’s it. Sandals that can be better than barefoot. It’s Sandalous I tell you, Sandalous!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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13 Responses to A Most “Sandal”ous Post! What’s Worth the Cost?

  1. Anne M Bray says:

    I drive barefoot too! A work friend who grew up in Florida introduced me to the concept.
    It’s illegal in CA and I. Don’t. Care.

    • Catherine says:

      Anne. Driving barefoot used to be illegal in NYC. I used to drive barefoot there. I happened to get lost in a very “iffy” part of Brooklyn some years back. So I double-parked behind a police car, got out of the car and went over to the police man. He explained how to get back on the Belt pkway. Then told me driving barefoot wasn’t legal. I asked him if he wanted to ticket me and he laughed. But–I also had my dad’s PBA card in hand! XOXOXOXO

  2. Susan says:

    I love that Salomé the best! If I ever ever get back to France (the crappiest of health diagnosis you can have, am now wearing wigs from chemo and travel may not be in my future ) I will be sure to go there. Like you, I want to bring back things I can’t get here!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan. I’m praying and sending good vibes and karma to you that you’ll be able to head back to traveling! Right though? I search for what I cannot get here! It’s the best way! XOXOXO

  3. Juliet says:

    Quite frankly I think it is vital to air our feet in summer – its healthy and reduces infection/fungus ick type things. Although some feet shouldnt be seen anywhere in the vicinity of others – but that comes down to not giving them air or maintenance in the first place… As a Kiwi I grew up with flip flops which I wear around the house and garden here in the UK but I probably wouldnt wear them in public except if I was in NZ and even then there are flip flops and feet and there are flip flops and feet, in other words plain colours and well cared for feet not scabby cracked versions of either. and only for certain jaunts As for sandals – I have chunky feet but I love Camper (a European brand) which I can wear for miles (20 in a single walk no problems in London last summer), but I do think natural materials are important for feet and knowing what works for your foot shape. If your feet arent happy then no way can the rest of you be.

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet I so agree with you that feet need to be aired out. It’s a good thing to air our dawgs! LOL. The flip flop thing is actually a worrisome thing these days. A friend of mine has a friend who’s husband tripped on a flip-flop going outside their home. His foot slid out of it, he fell, hit his head and he is no longer with us. It’s awful. My husband actually almost had a serious accident in France. He was wearing flip flops and the same thing happened but he was on a stairway and was able to grab the bannister. I’m cecking out Campers mow! XOXOXOXO

  4. bonnie says:

    Lots of good advice here Catherine. I do like those handmade sandals. But with bunions I can’t wear something with just straps. Do they have other styles? Maybe one day I’ll get there too. Sorry your Paris trip is on hold. Mine is too and I”m so eager to see the redo of the Samaritaine. Have you seen some of the pictures – breathtaking.
    Enjoy wiggling your toes in the sand at the beach

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bonnie. Check out the Rondini site! There are definitely bunion-friendly sandals! O.M.G. one of my Insta friends is in Paris now and she said it’s impossible to get into Samaritaine. The lines are crazy. I can’t imagine because we’ll be there on Black Friday. It’s gonna be crazy. The one saving grace is that we’ll be staying right up the street so I can keep watch! I have seen that store empty for years so I’m really excited to head there! XOXOXO

  5. I love finding “Hidden Gems” when I travel. You are so right about finding something you love and keeping it forever to remind you of that special trip.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Grace!

      Right??!! I love the hidden gems that I always go to! In Paris, it’s Jeanne D’Anjou–a little jewelry shop on Pont Neuf and Sophie Sacs for bags. And in the South, it’s Rondini. So much better than touristy trinkets! XOXOXOXO

  6. Fiona says:

    Loving the Rondinis Cathe, you have nice looking feet so can wear all of those strappy styles. Pleased to hear they have oignon friendly designs, although right now à trip to France seems to be nothing more than a dream. Just think of the shopping lists we’ll have when we do eventually get back there…you’ll be taking a suitcase to City Pharma! 🤣

  7. vavashagwell says:

    It’s cool that the Rodini site lets you measure your foot and upload the information and so it does sound possible to order a pair without traveling there. I might try that. And ultimately I’d like to go there in person at some point, too. Some years back, I went to the Ferragamo shop in Florence, Italy and bought the most amazing sandals I’d ever seen. They are true treasures! Totally agree on your approach to shopping while traveling!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Vava. Be sure to call your credit card company first before ordering. My husband was telling me before he ordered the leather conditioner and tote bag for me that the transaction failed until he called the bank. ID theft is running rampant. I had to file a police report because someone tried to apply for unemployment benefits using my ID. SMHXOXOXOXO

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