I was lucky enough to spend last week on a beach in Sal, Cape Verde. It’s a dusty and sandy island off the coast of Africa, and it meant breaking out my summer wardrobe and setting free the moths therein. As I wandered along the beach, getting sunburnt through a merino T-shirt (idiot) I realised that I haven’t reviewed my favourite summer shoes, which have been around the world with me for the last 4 years.
The Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers I own were purchased in Chile in 2008 after a string of pairs of flip-flops had failed or been lost during a 6-month sabbatical. I’d not heard of Sanuk before then, and picked them off the shelf out of mere curiosity – who would buy a shoe made from a frayed old curtain?
Well, it transpires that the Who was me, because after slipping them on I fell in love. You see, I don’t really like flip-flops; they always fall off or manage to catch stones which jab my delicate feet. Plus, who wants to see my toes? Not me! The Sanuks, instead, use a flip-flop sole and add a moccasin style fabric upper which holds your foot in place and keeps out those stones.
Made from fabric which has obviously been stolen off a chair in an old-folks’ home, they look like they’ll fall to bits in minutes. But perhaps they use magic thread to hold them together because after 4 years mine don’t show any sign of giving up the ghost.
I’ve worn mine variously as a slip-on – with the rear crushed under my heel – and as a shoe, and in both cases, the gentle but secure elastic in the forefoot keeps things in place when you’re walking around or even jogging. I must say that jogging and beaches is a seldom seen activity on my holidays!
The quality of walk is, surprise surprise, just like a flip flop. It’s cushioned and flat, with a sole that moulds over time to the shape of your foot. You don’t get any support, but then again you wouldn’t want to climb a mountain in these anyway.
At around £35 in the UK, Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers are considerably more expensive than flip-flops, but considerably more wearable. The only downside, despite their light weight and minimalist construction, is that they’re sweaty.
SUMMARY: Uber comfy beach and mooching shoes for winter-sun breaks. Infinitely easier to wear than flip-flops and mine have lasted way longer than I expected. They’re just a tad sweaty in summer.