Footwear By The Beach

I don’t know about you, but once the sun comes out, I cannot wait to get myself to the beach. I dragged my son to Santa Monica with me just this past weekend. We did that walk from the pier right over into Venice. Good lord, the smell of the cigarrillos! But the boy loved seeing all the street performers.

While we were at the beach, I was paying attention to the footwear around me. Lots of people were just happy to wiggle their toes in the sand, with sneakers slung over their shoulders. I saw plenty of barefoot runners down close to the water. Running that way on the sand can really strengthen the ankles, so they say.

On the boardwalk, there were all kinds of shoes. There were grande dame types visiting from Europe, looking bemused at all the buskers. They wore classy casual. I saw lots of classy espadrilles similar to this Elisa model by Tory Burch. This kind of upscale casual shoe, paired with a white pedal pusher and navy blazer, looks so very old money. With good humor and confidence, that’s a look that can travel from wealthy Malibu to bohemian Venice Beach.

There were also plenty of younger people looking to have fun on the first really warm weekend of the spring. I saw plenty of Havianas flip flops. These seem to be the uniform with young, hip kids who have money to spare. These sandals come in a variety of colors and some of them have great cartoon characters and other embellishments, too. These sandals read as youthful and fun-loving, no matter who is wearing them. They’re great for a cookout at or near the beach.

A lot of people know that this part of SoCal is where plenty of the trends start. Muscle Beach is where bodybuilding culture got its start. Santa Monica and Venice were home to the Z boys who took skateboarding to new heights. Many West Coast punk bands called Venice home, too. So street style was and has been a very big deal, here. There are plenty of places to buy great kicks in the area. Classics like these Addidas Sambas OG sneakers are still popular. I love the classic color scheme, but my son favors the newer colorways. I love how democratic these old school shoes are. There’s something for everyone: men, women and kids.

Of course, there’s some truly beautiful, limited-edition kicks for sale on Abbot Kinney Blvd. Waraku brings the highest fashion options to discerning consumers. This is a great place to browse for ideas. Going to stores like this is one way to spot which

trends are about to go mainstream. Everything from wedge heeled sneakers to Asics with a throwback look is on display here. John Fluevog is the place to go for smart and smart-casual hipster looks. I truly do love some of these shoes. They reference old European looks and put kind of a funk layer on top of that. This square-toed loafer by Bishop says both Oscar Wilde and 1980s to me. These shoes just work on so many levels.


My son and I ended our day eating at the Tudor-style Ye Olde King’s Head in Santa Monica. I love this place because it really looks like an authentic old style English pub or inn. For all the guff the British take about their food, I find a lot of it very comforting. It reminds me of the semester I spent abroad in college. No matter what I get at the King’s Head, I always order a side of the Branston pickle, which is like a crazy, pungent chutney. Curries, full English fry-ups and traditional Sunday roasts are also on the menu. My son loves the Sticky Toffee Pudding at the end. I usually go to the gift shop and get an ice cream with one of those delicious Cadbury flakes. Then we get him some fancy candy and gum and go on our merry way.

In the King’s Head, no one is trying to be cool or up to the minute. Most of the clientele on a Saturday afternoon are a little bit older. We met a family where the mom felt like she was reliving her childhood in Britain. We saw a few older ladies wearing sensible, Jessica Fletcher style loafers, who came in for a quiet meal alone. After all that high fashion and sun, it was nice to be somewhere so relaxed, old-school and unpretentious.

I didn’t see a lot of strappy sandals yet. I think it might still be too early in the season for them. The mornings and evenings are still a bit chilly here. As it warms up, I think people will be more confident about heading out in their gladiators or heeled sandals. I love this cute one in gingham, don’t you? I think it’s perfect for brunch at some swanky place in Malibu. Or they could work for a church luncheon, too.

What are your picks for footwear this spring? What trends have you noticed when you’re out and about? You know the drill, dear readers. Let’s chat about it all in the comments below.

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