(Photos by David Jenkins, Staff)
Lightweight, ventilated waterproof clogs, also known as Crocs, started hitting area stores early this year. And flat, round toe shoes are also gaining popularity.
"The round toe shoe used to be worn a lot in the '80s," said Lisa Rettig, store manager at Bass outlet. "I think it's coming back."
Bass hasn't sold a large quantity of the shoes yet. But Rettig thinks the trend needs time to spread and for people to realize the flats are available at stores in Southeast Missouri. "Lots of people think they have to go to St. Louis to buy them," she said.
Debbie Hurst, owner of DJ's Shoes and Things, said round-toe shoes will be popular this fall. "It's the look and trend in the big cities," she said of the sequined and beaded ballerina-type shoes she has in stock. "They're so cute and selling like crazy."
The shoes have also been "really hot" at Payless ShoeSource, according to Store Manager Pamela Garner.
The flats are available from each of the stores in an assortment of colors and styles. They range in price from $7.99 to $49.99 and women of all ages, from teenagers to 80-year-olds have been buying them.
The managers and store owner attribute the popularity of flats to their comfort.
Stephanie Dorris of Charleston agreed. "I like them because you can slip them on and they have flat soles," she said. "They're kind of like flip flops that cover your toes."
It seems the shoes can be worn for almost any occasion. Many are wearing the shoes to travel, according to Rettig. Dorris said she wears them "mainly with jeans and a tank."
And Hurst added she has sold flats to customers who plan to wear them for graduation, under wedding dresses, on cruises and for casual wear with jeans or skirts.
While flats have been around in the past and are now making a comeback, the lightweight clogs are a somewhat new style.
Crocs have been around since 2002 and first gained their popularity in Colorado. They are made of a patented Closed Cell Resin which is antimicrobial to keep the shoes resistant to bacteria and fungus that may cause foot odor. With body heat, the shoes warm and soften.
Making their debut at the Miami Boat show, Crocs were marketed for boating, water sports and beachwear.
The lightweight clogs are popular among nurses, according to Amy Reynolds, a nurse at the Sikeston Convalescent Center. "I'd say about 85 percent of the people who work here wear them," she said.
In fact, nurses at the Convalescent Center were wearing them before they hit in Southeast Missouri. "We bought them off the Internet about a year ago," Reynolds said.
Crocs are popular among other professions as well. Several hairdressers and others whose jobs require them to stand on their feet for long periods of time buy the shoes at Payless, according to Garner.
"They rant and rave and say they're wonderful," Garner said, while Reynolds added some wear them as garden shoes.
Payless sells their Airwalk clogs for $14.99 - about half the price of the name brand Crocs. The shoes, which are available in pink, black and powder blue, are designed to fit loosely, so customers should try them on before purchasing them to ensure the right fit.
A shoe made of the same lightweight material but a different design is also popular at Payless. "We can't keep them on the shelf," Garner said of the double-strapped sandals, available in six different colors.
This style of clogs is designed for comfort and health. They have built-in arch support and orthotic heel support; they are also slip resistant.
From Reynolds' experience, Crocs are the best type of shoe for her job. "I enjoy wearing them because I work 12 hours a day on a concrete floor," she said. "I'm on my feet a lot and don't have near as many problems with my feet as I used to."