“A unique vegan sandal that is eco-friendly, coconut scent infused and female-founded in the USA, Vines Islandwear will be your new obsession for any adventure!”
They had me at coconut sandals. And I admit I didn’t read much beyond the fact that somewhere in the world, someone was making sandals that smell like a tropical vacation. In my head Vines Islandwear were actually made of coconuts.
This isn’t the first strange-sounding offer I’ve gotten of stuff to try out that’s being offered to me because I work at a paper, but this I think is the first time I — as well as staff writer Meerah Powell — said “Sure, send ‘em over.”
With that here’s our inaugural #WeirdStuffTheySendPeopleWhoWorkAtNewspapers.
According to the press release that got us going: “Vines are hand assembled with care by the Vines team in Leon, Mexico, and each sole is made with a blend of recycled tire rubber infused with a light tropical coconut smell to bring the island to your feet, wherever you may roam!”
Honestly, I’m not a sandals wearer. The last time I remember specifically seeking to wear sandals was when I bought a pair of Birkenstocks in college. They were great until my then-pit bull Lily ate them.
Beyond the Birks, I don’t think of sandals as comfortable. I associate them with toe rubs and blisters.
Imagine my surprise when the package showed up.
Meerah pulled the sandals out of the little white bag they came in. They did smell like coconut. They were cute.
Once I figured out how to put them on (told you, I’m not a sandals person) and ascertained the shoes in question were not going to cut off the blood flow to my big toe, the coconut sandals (I know they are called Vines, but they will forever be “coconut sandals” to me) were comfy. I was feeling brave so I decided I’d test out the memory foam heel (it says “hell” on the press release, but hey, typos happen) and walk downtown.
They stayed comfy.
I was shocked. The cute vegan crisscross braiding just screamed “rub” to me, so I tried again later in the week.
Nope, no blisters.
And they kept looking cute and smelling like a rubbery version of Malibu coconut rum.
I admit I’m slightly concerned that Biggie, the current pit bull, might smell the coconut and want to eat these shoes, but so far he has preferred eating my jackets to eating my shoes, and second, well, dogs like shoes whether they are stinky or coconut.
Turns out Vines are more than just a sweet-smelling publicity stunt. They’re cute shoes.
Like Camilla, I’m not really a sandal person. I got my first pair of hiking sandals this year to be comfy while running around as a photographer at a music festival. Otherwise, I’m the type of person to wear sneakers and boots well into the summer.
But Vines may have given me a new lease on my sandal life.
The biggest thing I dislike about sandals is they’re usually not very comfy. Sure, you can look cute and summery, but good luck walking farther than a block without your toes feeling like they’re going to fall off or having the whole bottom of your foot morph into blisters.
Vines stayed comfy throughout a whole day of wear — long walks around town, running errands, etc. I admit, at first I did have to do some adjusting to get the braided crisscross straps to not rub against my toes, but once adjusted to my feet, they were a breeze.
When I heard “coconut-scented sandal,” I assumed they might be some sort of gimmicky buy, but, amazingly enough, along with holding up as being a great pair of sandals, they also still smell very good after about a month’s worth of use.
Besides being comfy, and smelling good, Vines are extremely cute. Although I love my hiking sandals, they’re not exactly the most fashionable element to add to an outfit — if you’re avoiding the usual-Eugene outfit.
Although I probably wouldn’t take them on a 10-mile hike (not that they wouldn’t work, just that I wouldn’t want to wreck them), with Vines, I felt good dressing them up with a nice maxi dress, wearing them with jeans or grabbing them on the way out the door to a yoga class.
Overall, I would most definitely recommend Vines to a friend (sandal-savvy or not). Especially here in Eugene where the words “recycled” and “eco-friendly” go a long way. Also, the price point isn’t terrible for a solid pair of sandals — all styles are under $60 on their website. (That’s also coming from someone who spent a lot of money on those hiking sandals, so take that as you will, if you’re thriftier than I).
I’m a fan, but I’ll probably end up passing on my pair to a coworker.
The straps of the review pair I got are a mix of light blue, peachy pink, black and white, and they’re a little too bright for my style — I’m more of a black on black kinda girl, regardless of the season. Luckily, Vines has a ton of color and strap style options, so maybe a more neutral-colored, or all black, pair might be in my future for next summer.