Sunday, May 10, 2015

palm beachin'

If you ever saw me around campus, you would know that unless it’s less than forty degrees, it’s pretty likely that I’m wearing my Jack Rogers. I love the colors, I love the classic styling, and I love the simplicity and ease of slipping on a sandal that looks like I put effort into what I was wearing—even if I ran out of the house and forgot to brush my hair, or had lipstick on my teeth. I initially discovered Jacks in seeing Jackie Kennedy in them, and, as Jack Rogers has said that they were the source for Jackie's sandals during the early 1960s. If Jackie thought they were a staple, they were clearly good.

I bought my favorite pair of Jacks last summer and took to breaking them in. Little did I know, this would require multiple blisters and raw toes. I finally broke them in after about a month. It practically killed me. When you initially buy Jacks, the straps are a little bit tight but stretch with a couple of wears and the soles are stiff, but they eventually ease up. But, more than any of the other discomfort, the dreaded stitched toe strap and rondelle was and is my enemy. Even after a year, my green and white Jacks that I’ve worn to just about everything still rub my foot just a little bit if I wear them for too long. I spent almost a month finally wearing down the toe strap to where it was comfortable, and now, while still pretty comfortable, if it’s too warm, I’m most likely to end up a little uncomfortable with the rubbing and sticking.

Palm Beach Sandals in Gunmetal/Silver
Jack Rogers in Green/White
Now, enter Palm Beach Sandals. After doing a little bit of research into Jacks, I happened upon the Palm Beach Sandals website. In reading their history, their sandals were the true sandals worn by (and created for) Jackie Kennedy during the early 60s right in Palm Beach, Florida. They looked the same... but they also looked different. The soles were thicker, and the entire shoe was made of leather. I was hesitant to try them as I felt like I might be "betraying" my Jacks, but I purchased a pair of the Classic Palm Beach Sandals in the gunmetal/silver combination to try them out. I was expecting a horrible break-in period, a lot of blister bandages, and maybe a couple of tears along the way after my experience with Jacks. However, I slipped them on and wore them for a day of class. As soon as I got out of the car and walked a few feet towards the building housing my English class, I was stunned—no rubbing. Even after the day ended… Nothing. Nothing hurt. Nothing rubbed. Nothing stuck. A little bit of discomfort from the leather straps were stretching, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle, and it passed as the day went on. It was like walking on little leather pillows.

With new Jacks, even a few steps in and you can feel the break-in period beginning. Palm Beach Sandals are made by hand in Florida, featuring a wrapped leather toe strap and foot strap, and complete leather in all parts of the shoes (even the soles). All in all, pretty much the perfect summer shoe (or, all year shoe, if you’re me). Jack Rogers are made in Mexico, the top strap is leather with manmade materials making up the rest of the shoe, and as mentioned, a folded and stitched toe strap that isn't the most comfortable.

Don't get me wrong--I love my Jacks. I'll probably still have my green ones even after I eventually wear through the soles. So, while I won’t necessarily be tossing my Jacks away any time soon, especially since there might be some blood, sweat, and tears soaked into the straps, I certainly think I’ll be sticking with Palm Beach Sandals from now on. Especially since I just ordered the navy and white pair…

*Disclosure note: I purchased the product(s) with my own money and was not compensated in any way to provide a review, positive or negative. Any and all thoughts on products are my own--promise.

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