BOSTON — Jelly shoes - as much a part of the 1980s as Cindy Lauper, Madonna, and Duran Duran - are making a comeback. The flimsy jelly shoe is still being sold in places such as Kmart and Wal-Mart, but upscale designers are getting into the act.
The revamped shoe is sturdier and better quality, more fashionable and sleek looking. "They appeared on the runways in New York last summer, so when you see them here, you know they will be prevalent and mainstream the next summer," says Leon Hall, fashion spokesman for the Fashion Association in New York.
"They're cheap, disposable, and they're fun. Most of the beaches are rocky in New York, so people need them," he says.
But Grendha shoes, a company in Orlando, Fla., unveiled a more "upscale" jelly shoe last year. The prices range from $10 to $39, and they are sold at Bloomingdales and Macy's. JCrew is also offering a couple of different styles for $30. No longer a cheap $5 shoe with little support, they have an ankle strap with a foam-padded foot bed. They are also offered in such classy colors as clear and smoke. Angelo Daros, Grendha's vice president of marketing, says, "[It's] a hip, new category of shoe that is fun and playful and out of the ordinary, yet stylish enough to wear almost anywhere. Jellies are what's happening in shoes."