auntie approved

SuChin and Kulap Discuss the Merits of These Somewhat Hideous Slides

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Pedro Nekoi; Photo: Retailer/Courtesy

On their podcast, Add to Cart, comedian-writer-director Kulap Vilaysack and veteran journalist SuChin Pak talk about the things they think are worth the investment (or not), and they often come at it from very different perspectives. So we thought there’d be no better duo to provide comprehensive product reviews on some of the buzziest launches and tried-and-true Strategist favorites.

This month, we asked each of them to wear the recovery slides from Oofos. These simple-yet-squishy sandals have been purchased by no fewer than three Strategist editors. They’ve even earned a spot in the Strategist 100, our greatest-hits collection of the most wonderful things that have ever appeared on our site. As our deals writer Leah Muncy put it, they’re “fugly at worst and orthopedic at best.” But are they Auntie Approved?

Kulap Vilaysack: Well, I wasn’t aware of Oofos. I hadn’t heard of them before. Su, did you know about Oofos?

SuChin Pak: No. And even the whole category of quote, unquote, “recovery”: recovery sportswear, recovery slides. Is that a whole category in sports? Were you aware that there were shoes for post-workout? You’re, like, a sporty person.

K.V.: I don’t know if I am, but thank you for viewing me in that way. I like that fantasy that you see.

S.P.: Are you kidding? You have the nicest gym-slash-spa that I’ve ever seen.

K.V.: Okay, and that part is fair. But this category of recovery is new to me. I’m already going to the side a little bit: I have taken to purchasing compression socks.

S.P.: Because of this?

K.V.: Because of Instagram ads, number one. And I have been hit so many different ways from these different compression socks. This idea that you wear them and it reduces pressure, gives you more energy. I’m not a scientist — surprise, surprise — but that’s also what these slides are supposed to do.

S.P.: This column is for 50-plus, right? We are in AARP? Because I’ve got senior moments in this, too.

K.V.: I mean, Su: It’s literally called Auntie Approved. I don’t know if we were in the age range until this very time to know about this stuff. Does Gen Z even care? Why would it occur to them?

S.P.: That’s why I was like, Maybe this is a workout thing that’s been around. I ask that question first because I assumed the Oofos were like any sports slides, pool slides, soccer slides, whatever slides I see. But these are so different. When you put them on, I think you and I were both like, Whoa, wait. Why does it feel like this? They’re bell-shaped. The toe goes up, so it’s almost like there’s a rocking motion to the slipper, and at first, I was like, This is so weird. Why would anyone want to walk like this? It feels like you’re on a light cruise. It’s a little wobbly.

It takes a few days, and once you get used to that motion, it forces you to put pressure on different points of your foot than a flat slide, which is, I guess, the technology of it. It’s supposed to be easier on the joints because of that. Ku’s going to talk about this, I’m sure: Once you get over the stunning visuals of what these slides look like, I love these slides. I don’t know if you’re supposed to be using them as house slippers, but they are my indoor house slippers. Are they your indoor house slippers too, Ku? Or do you use them out?

K.V.: Well, just to back up: There are two things that Oofos cannot control and that Oofos can. What they can’t control is that Auntie Ku-Ku has a wide foot. They can’t control that. Auntie Su has a very narrow foot.

S.P.: Three fingers width.

K.V.: Is it your fingers or my fingers?

S.P.: Doesn’t matter. It’s generally, universally three fingers width. And you have a dainty hand. I’ve seen your Olive and June manicure.

K.V.: My hands match me, and I use them. I’m not critical of them, I’m just saying that I grasp the earth. I steady myself, I am certainly top heavy. My feet have to match that, and they have to balance that, or I’d simply topple over. The Oofos can’t control that. So they’re too tight for me. The length is right, but I should’ve sized up. And that’s also something Oofos could not control: My inability to just size up, that I want to be more diminutive than I am. That’s not Oofos’ problem. That’s an Auntie Ku-Ku issue. What Oofos can control is how they look.

S.P.: I didn’t realize they came in different colors, and still in the different colors, they’re hideous.

K.V.: Yes, that’s right. And I’m glad you said that first.

S.P.: You have to just go in on a cast-iron shoe look. You can’t try to make that cute. Maybe if I got the plum color, but they have a picture on the site where the pedicure matches the plum color of the slipper, and I say, “See, that is not the way to go.” How you want to go is just straight-up therapeutic.

K.V.: No pedicure.

S.P.: You don’t go trying to dress it up. But is it that much different than — what’s that other shoe that Scott’s obsessed with, with the round toe and the holes?

K.V.: You’re talking about Crocs. My husband has many Crocs. I find Crocs to be so ugly. Everybody else in my house wears Crocs.

S.P.: Aren’t Crocs comfortable? See, the Croc to me is so unattractive that it comes back around, right?

K.V.: Yes, that’s what I’ve been told. Really, my problem with the Oofos is the top strap. You can maybe get away with the bottom.

S.P.: The Oofos is stuck just mid-rollercoaster. It isn’t making the loop all the way around quite yet. It’s just at that crux, where it’s just not an attractive shoe.

K.V.: I would prefer to do a classic Adidas slide. I prefer the look of the Adidas slide. One could say, “Ku-Ku, is that why your foot is so wide? Because it’s flattened into all your Adidas slides over the years?” C’est possible. That said, I’d rather be flat and forgo the recovery science, because these are so aesthetically unpleasing to me. You asked me if it’s a house shoe. I wore the Oofos again today, but since I first got them, they have been gathering dust in a corner.

S.P.: Well, that’s okay. When I come over, I don’t have to pack my house slipper. I can use your house slipper. They are not attractive, but that is the most comfortable slipper. I would even compare it to Hoka — because I haven’t put my foot in a Croc, but I have recently put my foot in an orthopedic Hoka. And this is a Hoka of the slides, do you know what I mean? The sole is thicker than the shoe. It’s like walking on two duvets, and this is the duvet of slides. It gives me the same vibe, and I’m okay with it.

K.V.: My husband wears the Crocs. My sister’s wearing Crocs. My sister-in-law is a NICU nurse, and she loves the Crocs. She owns 40-plus pairs of Crocs. And she invests in Jibbitz. So maybe if Oofos gets some Jibbitz. Maybe it starts to make sense?

S.P.: Do you think if they closed the toe, like a Croc? Because you know what’s more offensive than that is their thong version. Their thong version is … even I could not wear that in the house.

K.V.: Even if this credit-card slot in the strap was just closed, it’d be slightly better, I think, than these air gaps. Are they for breathing? Help me logic it.

S.P.: It could be science. I don’t know.

K.V.: Okay, it could be science. And I am not disputing any of their scientific claims. But I have two eyeballs. Do I have poor eyesight? Yes. But I am wearing contacts right now, and what I see is not something I can wear. Even though it may be, as Su says, walking on clouds. It might give me the energy that I am lacking.

S.P.: You’re halfway there. You have a compression sock on. Just slide the Oofos on. The thing is, I feel like these have become so popular because we’re all kind of been home, and we’ve been walking around barefoot, and it’s hard on your feet and your joints, so I get it. These slides are terrible looking, but man, are they comfortable.

K.V.: I would risk being just barefoot — barefoot in places that do not allow it — than to put these Oofos on. Regardless of the work they put into it — and I know good people have put good work into it — I say no. They’re about as cute as a spa sandal at a Korean spa. That’s what they are.

S.P.: No, they’re not attractive. I don’t know how they can improve on that. Maybe a … strap? I’m really trying. I don’t know. Maybe put strawberries on it?

K.V.: That does help most things, putting a strawberry on it. It used to be a bird, and now it’s a strawberry. You heard it here from your aunties. But in conclusion? Positives: science, the weight, the sole boat shape. Negatives: They’re ugly. They’re ugly.

S.P.: And they don’t come in different widths!

K.V.: Yeah, but that’s not their fault. I should’ve just gone one size up.

S.P.: So really, it’s just one negative. They’re great. Send me an outside pair!

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SuChin and Kulap Discuss These Somewhat Hideous Slides