Fashion and comfort don’t always go hand-in hand, or in this case, foot-in-foot. Sometimes sacrifices are necessary to look your stylish best, and if that meant wearing a shoe molded from plastic, so be it. jelly shoes were fashionable in a futuristic, Jetsons sort of way, making them quite popular in the 80s, despite the fact that your feet weren’t going to thank you for the experience.
Plastic shoes first became popular with the beach crowd, thanks to their water-resistent capabilities, by way of flip-flops and sandals, but the arrival of the 80s brought the fashion into the mainstream. It started when manufacturers of athletic shoes were toying with new shoe ideas. They already had the equipment in place to make molded plastic soles for running shoes when it occurred to someone, “Hey, let’s make the whole shoe out of molded plastic!”
Almost overnight, there was a new form of footwear on the block, one stylish enough, and affordable enough, to appeal to the masses. The era of the jelly shoe had arrived. They were first rolled out at the 1982 World’s Fair and, soon after, Bloomingdales in NYC ordered 2,400 pairs for their store, available in nine different styles.