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Answer Angel: Sandal season: Scratchy thong solution and the truth about summer stockings

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: It is sandal season and my question is: Is it OK to wear hosiery with my sandals? My sandals are so much more comfortable if I wear them with stockings.

- Bree C.

Dear Bree: Let me answer with a question: Why wear sandals in the first place if you don't want to let your toes go free? The main reason to wear sandals, in my opinion, is to liberate your feet after a winter of confining socks, hose, heavy shoes and boots. Ahhhh, the feel of the beach breezes caressing our weary toes! All that goodness goes away if you wear those stockings (or socks) with the sandals. Furthermore, I don't think sandals look right if your toes are covered up. But, there are plenty of fashion gods - high priests and priestesses - who disagree with me. I took a stroll recently down one of the most fashionable city streets in the country and saw several high end stores featuring mannequins wearing hosiery (Montcler) or socks (Prada) with sandals. Google "runway models wearing sandals" and you'll find dozens of images of fashionable women wearing hosiery with flat sandals, wedge sandals, high heel sandals. Most of us do not look like runway models and my opinion is take a pass on this trend.

And another question about sandal (dis)comfort...

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I purchased two pairs of leather thong sandals in different colors because I liked the style and they felt very comfortable in the store. They were not inexpensive sandals as I have an ankle problem and wanted some support for my feet. I have worn both pairs of sandals for limited amounts of time, so here comes the however - after wearing them for a while, the leather thong between the toes on my right foot only is stiff and slightly scratchy and rubbed a sore with scabs at the top of the space between my toes. What can I use on the leather to make it more soft and supple? I am a devoted thong sandal wearer and other thong sandals have not hurt my feet.

- Lauri D.

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Dear Lauri: I too was a devoted "thong sandal wearer" until I gave them up for the very reason you describe: The awful, painful rubbing of the thong of the shoe, the very shoe that felt wonderfully comfortable in the store. It is a given that shoes that feel great in the shoe department won't start rubbing your feet raw until you actually wear them in public and have to do more than take a few steps in front of the mirror. I'm sure you've tried covering the rough, hurtful part with tape or moleskin. That doesn't work. I have two suggestions: Take them back to the store and complain, then politely beg for a refund. If they're not in pristine, out-of-the-box condition this is probably not going to work (but try it!). The second is to buy one of the many styles of toe guards or toe protectors designed for this very problem. has many options, most of them under $10. Many of them, however, get lousy customer reviews so be sure to choose carefully and study the comments and photos of the products so you're sure that the ones you try are designed specifically to solve your problem. I haven't tested these devices but will be eager to hear what you think. Incidentally, the only thong sandals I have found that don't pain me are the rubber cheapo flip-flops from Old Navy.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: What is your opinion of wearing clothes with designer names writ large all the way up the leg or across the chest. Fashion do or don't?

- Cassie K.

Dear Cassie: I do not want to be a billboard for any designer so I don't buy clothes or accessories with visible logos. But, I readily concede that there are plenty of super high-end clothing and accessory brands plastered with logos (Gucci, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton). Some men and women wear them to flaunt their spending on very expensive gear. Others just like to wear the labels on the outside rather than subtly sewn into the seam. It's a personal preference.


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