Thursday, December 30, 2010

New sandals

A recent Christmas gift was a new pair of sandals for me to wear around the pool, locker room, and shower. I must admit I haven't noticed what other men wear on the pool deck or locker room, but for the last 18 months I've worn a pair of thong sandals I purchased at K-Mart. These sandals, which have the "Olympian" logo on them, have now completely worn out. To write a proper review, I searched the web for sandals made by the Olympian brand and didn't find any such product. This is not too surprising; K-mart and other retailers sometimes make their own product and then pay a brand name manufacturer to slap their brand name on it. The deal lasts for a limited time, and once it expires, it is hard to find evidence that the product was ever made. I've seen this happen with binoculars (random example), and I think this is what happened with these old sandals I have.

The Olympian sandals actually lasted a long time considering the use I gave them. I would wear them 4 times a week as I changed from street clothes into my swimsuit. I'd walk a few steps to the pool deck, take off the sandals, and splash them with chlorinated water every time I'd do a flip turn at the end of a lap. Once done with my workout, I'd put them on, walk a short distance to the locker room showers and wear the sandals in the shower. The sandal's thong (the upper part that wrapped over the top of my foot) is in fine shape, though the original black color has bleached to a splotchy gray. The problem that has developed is the rubber sole has separated in places from the foot pad and now the rubber is breaking off in chunks. I don't imagine all those pool chemicals are good for the adhesive holding the sandals together.

Old Olympian sandals and new Reef sandals.
So now I have a new pair of thong sandals. They are Reef Phantoms; all black. The sole appears to be a layer of foam rather than rubber, and the sole does not curl around the sides of the shoe. This lack of curl may prevent the type of wear I saw with the Olympians. But who knows? I see from the manufacturer's site that the warranty is only 6 months. That's fairly short compared to the 18 months my cheap sandals from K-Mart lasted. The slogan for Reef is "Reef: Ridiculously Comfortable." It's true that these sandals are comfortable, but comfort is a relative term. After all, I'd go barefoot all day long if I thought my feet would stay warm and free of injury. Sandals help a little with the latter but do nothing for the former. I will say that the arch support in the Reef sandals feels really good compared to my old Olympians.

A few questions remain: (1) is there another type of footwear that people wear in the locker room and shower? I think maybe the college swim team that my coach coaches wears nothing at all. I'll have to take a look during the next meet. (2) My Reef sandals came with a variety of little decals. What am I supposed to do with those? I doubt they would stay stuck to my sandals after a few uses. But sure, I'm all for a little splash of color here and there, and I've got this silly consumer-istic desire to show off the brand name products I buy. So I'll stick a decal on my sandals and see what happens.


  1. Reef sandals are AMAZING. I may possibly own 4 pairs...

  2. Since writing this blog post I have worn the sandals a lot. I am impressed!