Sunday, September 30, 2007

An occasional look at products the travel industry insists we need.

WHAT: Plastic molded shoes for the cruise- and resort-wear set.

AIMED AT: Women who want footwear they can hose off, but who prefer something a step up from flip-flops.

HOW MUCH: $25 to $30 a pair.

BUT DO THEY WORK? I like the idea of Oka b.'s new cruise and resort collection, I really do. The molded plastic shoes are a grownup version of the "jellies" kids wore in the '80s: colorful, comfortable, hose-downable and kick-offable (that last especially important at security checkpoints). And God knows they're better-looking than those clunky, clownish Crocs. But when I strolled through the newsroom wearing my crocodile-embossed navy blue plastic mules with big grosgrain bows, the reaction from colleagues was, um, mixed.

Christina: "Yikes."

Curt: "Those are . . . interesting."

Marty: "Oh my gosh."

Twila: "Maybe if the bows were a little smaller . . ."

Suzanne: "They seem a little 'old lady.' "

Belle: "Why are you wearing those?"

Okay, the reaction was downright hostile. Although these shoes with their anatomically correct footbeds are comfortable, bacteria-resistant, machine washable, durable and slip-resistant, they just don't pass the style test. And if they don't work in Washington, there's probably no hope.

-- K.C. Summers

Oka b. shoes are available at

© 2007 The Washington Post Company