I was plodding around the shoe store not long ago when I stumbled across the 1980s. “Jellies!” I exclaimed, as if I’d just recognized an old friend from high school. “Jellies! I can’t believe they have jellies!” There they were in their polyvinyl chloride glory, the plastic shoes of my girlhood. They came in pink, purple, blue and silver, though I think jellies should only come in pink because that’s the color mine were when I was 8.
If you were not a little girl in the 80’s you might not know what jelly shoes are. They’re plastic shoes that come in crazy colors, sometimes with glitter mixed into the PVC. If you are blind and cannot behold their wonder, don’t worry, you will be able to smell jellies from across the room. The scent is like the new car smell magnified a hundred times over. Why would anyone want to wear plastic shoes, particularly in the summer when your feet are bound to get slippery with sweat? I don’t know. I just know mine were pink like this pair and I loved them.
I’m not sure who decided jellies deserved a comeback, but I know fashion is cyclical and if you wait long enough whatever has gone out of style will come back in style. I’d suspect some marketer thought people my age would see them and be struck with nostalgia when remembering the pink plastic shoes of their youth, and make a purchase hoping they could buy back their childhood. Perhaps next they will launch Strawberry Shortcake sneakers or Rainbow Brite boots.
Anyway, it worked. Yes, I confess, I bought a pair of jellies (which were half off if you bought another pair of shoes of equal or greater value, so that makes it totally ok). They were cheap, so I figured what the hell. I did however make sure no one was looking when I grabbed a pair. Sadly I made this purchase before I was diagnosed with flat feet and tendonitis, so I can’t wear my jellies without further injuring myself. I can only sniff them, and get sort of high.
A funny thing happened at the store though. At least two other people walked by the jelly shoes display and suddenly exclaimed, “Jellies!” like I had. I wanted to hide a secret camera in the shoe store and see how many people yelled, “Jellies!” during the day. I’ve never felt compelled to shout out “Flip flops!” or “Crocs!” at a shoe store. Jellies might not be the most practical shoe, nor the best smelling one, but they have a special place in my heart, or rather on my feet.
I’m pretty sure I had that exact same pink pair. Another distinguishing characteristic was the frequency with which you had to dig rocks out of the heels.
I’m betting you can blame the resurgence on crocs! Once they figured out people were willing to wear plastic shoes again, jellies are the obvious choice!
@Jaime – That’s right! I’d forgotten about all those pebbles I had to pick out of the sole of the shoe. I think after a lot of wear the plastic webbing would break in a spot or two.
I lived in Jellie shoes. The pair you have in the picture are unique. I loved jellie shoes. *wistful sigh*
I’ve always envied The Big Lebowski. He wore jellies. I would totally wear them, if I could find them in my size.
In the 90s when they were horribly out of style, I found a pair of platform jellies super cheap. I had to pick them up. Unfortunately they were so god-awful uncomfortable I wore them once or twice. Ah, jellies. All the silly 80s stuff is coming back. Soon people will be wearing 3 tiers of neon colored socks again…
I noticed that there are Crocs jellies now: http://www.crocs.com/crocs-adrina-flat/11238,default,pd.html?cid=52K&cgid=women-footwear I think they’re cute but wouldn’t pay $40 for them. Maybe $10. 🙂
Becky Brandon says
Those are really beautiful. It’s a shame you can’t wear them. Is your foot pain gone now?
I really can’t wear ballet flats or shoes with a similarly thin sole. My feet just ache in them. I try to wear tennis shoes, even to work.
Maurey Pierce says
YESSSSS!! Those cheapo canvas shoes with the elastic can’t be far behind.
I would shriek delightedly along with you, but my hoarding mother-in-law used to wear these. I’m certain they were from her hoard. From the 80’s.
[Gagging.] Hoarding sucks the joy from everything. Even jellies.
Please enjoy enough for me, too.
OMG I was born in 1984 and I can remember my first pair when I was 5. They were actually clear with glitter and little butterflies in the bottom. To think my daughter might be able to buy a similar pair to wear. The things that stick with us from our childhood sometimes seem strange but I remember these shoes like I just put them on for the first time today lol. I also had pink and purple ones I had a thing for shoes and having them match my outfits lol.
I was that kid who never got a pair because my mother insisted that they were totally impractical. She was probably right…most shoes tend to destroy my feet and I get blisters from any shoe that is remotely plastic-y.
I do like me some crocs however. They’re not quite plastic, they’re some sort of high-density foam-like material that has anti-bacterial properties so they’re great for wearing while lifeguarding 🙂
Since you mentioned it, I’ve been curious if you found anything to help your feet. I could’ve wrote the post about my feet, as I have the same issues. I hate to say it, but the ibuprofen plan is really the only thing that has worked. So, I was curious if you got around that!
@Emily – The podiatrist gave me orthotic inserts which I believe are helping. I’ve also been icing it twice a day. And I was told not to walk barefoot anywhere. I think it’s getting better. *fingers crossed* It could take two months to heal, so if it’s not better by then I’ll look into other options.
Deanna @ The Unnatural Mother says
And best yet – Crocs makes Jellies!!
Comfort & the 80’s!!