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Why I’m Learning to Love Tevas All Over Again

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From Teva's spring 2014 lookbook

Tevas. The word in itself stirs up so much emotion. In the mid ’90s, when I was maybe seven or eight years old, my parents purchased their first pairs of the strappy rubber-soled sandals. Subtle, they were not — decked out in purple, blue and black geometric zig zags, plastic buckles and a clunky footbed, they were comfortable, functional, durable and just generally awesome because, in my pre-Spice Girls world, whatever my parents liked, I liked.

And I really liked them. So much so that my parents bought me my own miniature pair of Tevas, which I’m pretty sure were actually knock-offs, but that didn’t matter. I wore them everywhere — they were perfect for school (nothing went better with floral overall shorts), the mall (best place EVER), summer camp (velcro!) and the beach, where you could wear them both on the sand and in the water so the crabs couldn’t getcha. They were basically the equivalent of an amphibious vehicle for your feet — sportier, less-girly jelly shoes. They were the best.

Photo: Free People

But my infatuation with Tevas was to be short-lived. I soon outgrew them (literally), along with my unwavering adoration of all things parental (seriously, I used to beg my mother to chaperone my school field trips and then would sit with the moms at lunch. I was a very cool child.). Forget them: I wanted platform flip-flops, platform sneakers. Butterfly hair clips. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

Seemingly unswayed by the multi-generational allure of Geri Halliwell, my father continued to wear his souped-up Teva sandals with pride — which, of course, only propagated my adolescent embarrassment. I can still hear the awful rip-rip of those velcro straps now. He wore them all summer long, year after year, as if to torture me (as is most dads’ intention), and worst of all, he’d whip ‘em out on family vacations before we’d even arrive at our destination. Meaning yes, there were socks involved. UGH. I’d beg him to toss them and consider a new style, but he’d never sway from his beloved Tevas. DADS, amirite?

So you can imagine the out-of-body experience I had this past Monday evening when, hot off the heels of a somewhat rejuvenating Florida getaway, I found myself combing every outdoorsy sportswear store in NoHo in search of — you guessed it — Tevas. Much like my “mom jeans,” suddenly an item of clothing I’d ridiculed and avoided for more than half of my life was bogging down my brain — I couldn’t rest until I’d found my perfect pair (the “Original Universal” in black, if you must know — though I’m also drawn to the turquoise and multi-colored printed versions).

You can't deny it, she looks PRETTY cool. Photo from Teva's spring 2014 lookbook

Of course all throughout my search, there in the back of my mind was little middle school me, lecturing my 26-year-old self about how lame I grew up to be. Well… she can stuff it. Call it #normcore, call it the ugly shoe movement, call it holy-crap-I’ve-become-my-parents — but right now, those very same practical sandals I’d spent years ridiculing my father for just feel so… of-the-moment. Add in the nostalgia factor, and I just can’t help myself. And hey, even socks with sandals had their moment on the runway this season. Come to think of it — maybe my sudden urge for Tevas is my dad’s way of getting his revenge after all these years…

Whatever, trends are weird — and who knows how long my second romance with Tevas will last. But I will tell you this: Come beach season, you definitely won’t find my feet ravaged by the menacing claws of crabs.

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