Dr. Scholl’s SandalsPosted: March 3, 2011
Last week I reminisced about Candies, the shoes my mother wouldn’t let me have when I was a kid. But she did let me have a pair of Dr. Scholl’s sandals. Dr. Scholls Original Exercise Sandals were introduced in 1959 as a footcare device designed to tone the leg muscles, but in the 1960s and 70s they became fashionable as mainstream footwear. I remember the Dr. Scholl’s sandal display in the little pharmacy in our town. It featured footprints in the sizes that the sandals were available in. You placed your foot in the footprints to determine your size, then you picked out the color you wanted and grabbed the box from the display. Talk about self-serve. Every time my sister and I accompanied our mother to the pharmacy, we were drawn to the display, putting our feet in the footprints to determine the size of the sandals that our mother didn’t buy for us. Until one day she did. I chose tan, a boring color choice that I almost immediately regretted. My sister, always a little more daring than I, chose blue. I wore my Dr. Scholls’ during the entire summer before seventh grade, although they weren’t the most practical shoes to wear while riding your bike. They were, however, perfect for wearing to the pool.
In the 1990s, the independent neighborhood pharmacies began to be replaced by large drugstore chains that were impersonal and overpriced. It was also in the 1990s that Dr. Scholl’s rebranded their classic wooden sandals. Instead of being sold in drugstores as in the Seventies, they were now sold in upscale department stores like Nordstrom’s, with pricetags to match. I scoffed every time I saw the displays, because I still had my original Dr. Scholls from when I was a kid. Dr. Scholls sandals were the forefathers of FitFlops, Sketchers, and the host of other shoes that tone your legs and buttocks. I still wear mine occasionally, as my shoe size hasn’t changed since I was twelve years old. They remind me of summertime and the Seventies and that little neighborhood pharmacy with the Dr. Scholl’s display.