The sight of the male foot, clad in a sandal, inspires varying levels of revulsion, while we’re barely moved — and often delighted — to see women’s bare toes peeking out of a shoe. Perhaps it’s because women’s feet are thoroughly sexualized — toe cleavage, anyone? — just one more body part called on in service of the male gaze. When you think about it, though, it’s pretty weird that shorts are now acceptable attire in a fair number of offices, but not sandals. Here’s a theory for you: Disgust is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation to keep us from harm, and a bare male foot bespeaks vulnerability. The warrior class has to be able to run on New York’s mean streets! But with men’s shoe sales in the U.S. close to outpacing women’s, men may soon be a little freer to move their toes around. There are simply more mandals to be had, and good-looking ones too.
Left: Kevin Haverty, “older than J,” butcher; co-owner, Hudson & Charles
“I am a closeted sandal-wearer. I wear them only in the house. Sometimes I wear them to the grocery store, but I feel like such a 20-something Chachi when I do that. Maybe it’s because I wear Havaianas — I think I just need better sandals. These are good-looking!”
Right: J. Fox, “younger than Kevin,” butcher; co-owner, Hudson & Charles
“I wear Birkenstocks. They actually have a work line that no one knows about — they’re all-leather with tire treads on the bottom, so you don’t slip.”
*This article appears in the June 11, 2018, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!