We’re not saying never ever to Everest-high stilettos — we’re saying not yet. Baby steps.
If a year of staying in and staying put has left your legs ever-so-slightly moulded to the fuzzy fleece lining of your favourite sweatpants, well, you’re not alone. They’re comfortable! Dependable. The sartorial equivalent of a warm hug from someone you love; someone you miss. A favourite show you no longer remember watching the first-time round.
Now, as whispers of re-emergence outfits begin to take hold, we’ve had a few battles to conquer. The motions of getting dressed, for one. “Hard pants” (see: jeans), for another — that was a tough one. Your next scheduled skirmish: footwear. A middle ground for shoes beyond the shearling insoles; beyond the orthopaedic.
You might sneer at these love-’em-or-hate-’em sandals now but they are soft, plush places to tuck your toes. Just until you’re ready for something more advanced. Kitten heels, maybe?
(Hero and featured images courtesy of Tom Johnson for Toogood x Birkenstock 1774)
Marmite Level: High
Gucci’s Elea platforms are archetypical Marmite — you’d either love them or not ‘get’ them; no stragglers in Switzerland. They give a bit of height, they’re a little bougie in black rubber grained to mimic leather, they’re perforated at the vamp — not in little circles à la the OG of Marmite shoes (see: entry #4), but fancy ‘GG’ motifs.
We’re stepping out in these and a billowy trapeze sundress, volume turned all the way up.
Marmite Level: High, but tempered by a pretty detail
Cottagecore is alive, well and thriving, thank you very much. These Loeffler Randall clogs — shaped and perforated in a very familiar format — are made individual with extremely seasonally-appropriate gingham straps; a perfect complement to picnic blankets and baskets and pretty off-shoulder prairie tops, preferably trimmed in broderie anglaise. Throw in a raffia sunhat too.
Toggle the patterned strap from sports mode (i.e., up front) to adventure mode (i.e., slinged back) depending on the intensity of your preferred activity. A leisurely roam by the waterfront? The former. A harried sprint through Tamar Park? Very much the latter.
Marmite Level: Spread it on toast — it’s peak Marmite
Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta has left us drooling after squared-toe sandals, pillowy clutches and big, bad gold chains. So, we won’t hold it against him for making us yearn for these rainy-day clogs, too, which are aptly named ‘Puddle’. Cute.
We’re big fans of the bubblegum-pink colourway that would look plenty fire in an all-black outfit pulled from the racks of The Row.
Marmite Level: Extreme, but respect the hustle.
We’ve reached the OG of Marmite footwear — welcome. You’re in a safe space, it’s a no judgement zone. These Crocs are, arguably, made exponentially more Marmite with their jelly-like translucency, which prompts a second Marmite-y question: Socks or no socks? Why do toes framed behind transparent rubber feel, somehow, more exposed than going barefoot?
So, remind us to add funky patterned socks alongside approximately a million Jibbitz™ charms to our carts; we’re going to need options.
Marmite Level: Average
If you’re a fan of Demna Gvasalia’s Balenciaga, you’re a permanent resident of Marmite City. You love it. You get it. These Mono platform slides are, in all honesty, pretty tame for the brand. They’re a little ’90s, a little chunky, a little branded — and cast in a very this-season shade of turquoise. We’d wear them by the pool with frilly maillots and, then, wear them out to lunch in baggy denim. They’re versatile!
Marmite Level: Low for fans of Birkenstock. Otherwise, average.
The normcore signature has been a capital-F fashion shoe for quite a while. It’s had collaborations with Proenza Schouler; with Rick Owens; with Stüssy; and for 2021, with Toogood, a London-based design studio that headlines on those amazing Roly Poly chairs you’ve been lusting after on Instagram.
This Forager pair is double-strapped in true Birkenstock form, but instead of leather or Birko Flor® (the brand’s own leather alternative) these are crafted from soft, heathered felt. A home-inspired shoe through and through.
Marmite Level: Medium-rare
These Aquazurra sandals are named ‘Relax’ for a reason — there are no hard feelings, no hard times and no hard work allowed when your toes are ensconced in these. Naturally.
It’s a creamy pair to invest in if you’ve ever wanted to walk on clouds — these sandals are made in Italy from fluffy shearling, but please, use your imagination — and an especially great compromise if you really, truly cannot detach your feet from the cocooning comforts of your favourite house slippers.
Marmite Level: Pretty low!
It’s its rounded, clog-like shape that bolstered this Porte & Paire x Frankie Shop pair onto this list of Marmite options, but to be frank: These are quite the sleek ones. You can easily sneak these slippers into the footwear rotation of even the most reticent shopper — what, with its deliciously supple leather and very elegant shape, it really won’t take much convincing.