9 Summer Shoes Every Basic ’90s Girl Owned—And Totally Forgot About

The ‘90s had a lot of questionable fashion, but one thing that made the decade stand out was the variety of summer shoes. From platform sandals to squishy flip-flops, the summer days of yore were just as sugary sweet as listening to “Mmmbop” on our Discmans and eating an orange sherbet Push-Up pop.

Take a stroll down memory lane with these fancy footwear styles.


 

1. Rocket Dog Platform Sandals

These shoes were like five inches and made you (literally) feel on top of the world. They’re the shoes Baby Spice would wear while performing with the Spice Girls. You had to beg Mom to buy them because all the coolest girls were wearing them, even though there was a 99% chance you would break your ankle in them. Alas, beauty is pain…that’s how it goes, right?

rocket dog platform sandal

 

2. Jelly Sandals

A more fashionable alternative to water shoes, this plastic strappy basketweave style paired with everything from overall shorts to floral jumpers. Bonus if they were glitter, these were so fashionable for our elementary-school selves. Who knew we were so eco-friendly in the 90s before it became the norm, but wouldn’t be caught dead in them now. Besides, they made our feet soooo sweaty.

Jelly Sandals 1

 

3. Sugar Floaties

If you went to overnight camp, there was a very high chance you used these as your “shower shoes”. They were as comfortable as Crocs before they were big, and just as weird. Forget how ridiculous they looked, nothing made us happier than squishing our feet into a big pile of foam. And when they “cracked”, Sugar would provide “Band-Aids” to cover them and make them good as new.

floaties

 

4. Steve Madden Slinky Slide

Get ready to feel like you’re a tween again, because rumor has it these shoes are making a big comeback this summer (upgraded from the 90s of course). With a chunky heel and stitching on the sole, you had to tug on the stretchy upper part and hear the “clack clack” sound on the ground in order to fully experience the style. You paired these with your flared patch-covered jeans and a peasant top or your best black leather mini dress, a rhinestone bandana headband and brown lipstick. Posh Spice and Lucky-era Britney Spears would be so proud.

steve-madden-slides

 

5. Sanuk Voodoo Sandals

If you didn’t own a pair of Floaties, you definitely owned these. Their sole purpose was to use them for the shower, with their colorful spongy mesh and clear straps. Why did we think they were so cool?

sanuk mesh sandals

 

6. Adidas Shower Shoes

While we’re still on the subject of shower shoes…these were so uncomfortable but so Sporty Spice at the same time. Loved by sporty girls and guys alike, these were paired best with a basketball jersey, track pants and a backwards hat. Plus, these were the only logical shoes that went well with socks, no matter what time of year.

adidas shower shoes

 

7. Reef Sandals

If you didn’t own a pair of black Reef sandals, you weren’t basic enough. Another big summer camp staple, the black Reef was for the more mature teen (and okay…I’m still wearing them) and went with everything from Junk Food t-shirts and Soffee shorts with puka shell necklaces to terry cloth swim cover-ups. The straps came in every color known to mankind, and I would even go as far as to say they stay put on your feet if you needed a light jog. I miss the 90s.

reef flip flop

 

8. Chinese Laundry Flip Flops

They were made with the same material as a straw basket, and doesn’t everyone wear platform sandals to the beach? Also, pointing out that Chinese Laundry made some quality strappy sandals for middle school dances galore, the ones with just a kitten platform heel because we were *that* awesome.

chinese laundry woven sandals

 

9. Steve Madden White Platform Backless Slip On Sneakers

Before the platform sneakers, Steve Madden made the platform backless slip-on sneakers. These pearly white stunners were as all-American as a frat bro in a flag muscle tee. All you needed was an Izod polo tee and a pair of Mavi jeans and you were all set for the family summer barbecue. Relive the 90s glory in the “Frost” style, below to rock these truly pumped up kicks.

steve madden frost

 

Hannah Gettleman

Hannah Gettleman is a bubbly twenty-something living in Chicago. She graduated in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Journalism. Don't tell her that print is dying--she's already made the switch to public relations. As a Midwest girl, winter happens approximately 80% of the year, so she knows a thing or two about a good pair of snow boots. She lives for summer weather (even though she can never tan), Boy Meets World reruns, and an unhealthy addiction to dark chocolate and online shopping. She's a die-hard Chicago sports fan, even though she's well aware the Cubs always end up in last place every year.

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