A few seasons ago now, the entire men’s fashion world was turned on its head, or kept on its toes, at least. “Adventure sandals”, for want of a better designation – the type of technical open-toed footwear, pioneered by Teva and its ilk, and previously worn by Open University lecturers on geology field trips – had somehow found their way onto fashion-week runways. They hadn’t stumbled there so much – while these Velcro-fastened items were bulky, their grippy nature ensured the wearer was always sure-footed (and, given the owner’s aforementioned familiarity with the output of Ordnance Survey, also pretty handy with a map), meaning these shoes would only end up somewhere they were supposed to be. But there was a general sense that something was amiss.
Alas, times change, and the world, along with all its remote corners, keeps on spinning. Today, if you don’t own a pair of sandals that could handle, at minimum, a complete circuit of the Kamchatka Peninsula, then you are truly ill-prepared for summer.
The move towards adventure sandals has its roots in the high-end fashion industry’s usurpation of outdoor gear in general but, more than this, speaks of how our attitudes to work and travel have evolved. Dress codes have, of course, relaxed, but where we go on holiday has gotten further and further off the beaten track. When two weeks on the Algarve is suddenly switched out for a trek through the Namib Desert, surfing off the coast of Borneo or an ayahuasca retreat in the depths of Peru, a pair of plastic pool slides simply isn’t going to cut it.