There once was a time when it was considered sacrilege to dress like your dad – unless of course, they’re one of those rare fashionable dads. However, recent years have paved the way for ‘dad style’ to return in full force, with clothing inspired by the ’70s and ’80s proving popular once again.
Wide-leg trousers and Hawaiian shirts are perfect examples of these, both of which we’ve previously seen David Beckham rock on several occasions, which is all the proof you should need that they’re must-own items.
One item that has often been on the receiving end of much scrutiny, however, is the men’s sandal. Specifically, Jesus creepers, or Jesus sandals. To be clear, we’re not talking about thongs (or flip-flops if you’re American, jandals if you’re a Kiwi). Jesus creepers are a whole other beast entirely.
Colloquially named as such in reference to the footwear our Lord and Saviour was said to have worn, the Jesus creeper, for a time, was unofficially outlawed – this particularly disgruntled Reddit user, for example, refuses to date any men seen wearing them – and confined to the depths of the ‘never to be seen in public’ pile.
In its place, our options were limited to thongs or slides, along with the Birkenstock and its knock-off imitations, which have seen significant growth in popularity of late. There is also the Avarca sandal, but the less said about that, the better.
No longer confined to hippified coastal towns such as Byron Bay, the Jesus creeper is back and it’s out for blood.
The problem with this Jesus creeper renaissance is that it’s led to a dearth of quality slides for sale for men, with the holier-than-thou footwear cannibalizing the market.
Just check the listings of pretty much any online footwear supplier, where you’ll find next to no stylish options for slides. When we refer to stylish slides, we mean those that aren’t tarnished with large logos across the straps (the Three Stripe life isn’t for everyone). In our opinion, a person’s gaze shouldn’t be directed towards your feet, but rather your clothing choices instead.
Brands such as AERE, Indosole and Maseur are the only real accessible options, with more expensive pairs made from real leather and in Europe for those who are a bit more flush, such as those from the appropriately named brand Ancient Greek Sandals. For the rest of us mortals, listings at a more normal price point are inundated with either Birkenstocks (in the classic two-strap style we’re all accustomed to) or the dreaded Jesus creepers.
So why exactly has the Jesus creeper seen a second-coming? Well, not only is it due to a classic case of cyclical fashion, but menswear stylist Jeff Lack tells DMARGE, “Once reserved for Swamis and Gurus, the Jesus creeper sandal has hit mainstream pop culture.”
“Not to be worn with socks or a flowing linen robe, this footwear option will wear better and longer, particularly if you invest in a decent pair.”
If you want to get in on the Jesus creeper wave but don’t quite have the cojones to pull them off proper, Jeff admits that Birkenstocks are still a perfectly viable option, but (like with any type of footwear) you need to take the rest of your outfit into account to dictate when they should be worn.
“Jesus sandals for trousers, dressier and smart tailoring. Birkenstocks for shorts and casual wear… flip-flops and Havaiana style rubber thongs are reserved for washing the car and the beach.”
Now go forth and multiply, as the Bible says.