In everything from digital watches to computers, the 80’s were filled with the hope of all the wonders science could concoct. Jelly shoes ranked high on the mad-scientist laboratory list, joining the ranks of rubber and slap bracelets as technological marvels of the fashion world. Jellies were futuristic-looking shoes made from injection-molded plastic. Slipping on these malleable shoes was like taking a look into a future that was like, so… Jetsons-like.
Plastic shoes had long been a favorite of the resort crowd in the form of beach sandals and flip-flops, but the 80’s brought the enclosed-toe plastic shoes named ‘jellies’ to the foot of fashion. Athletic shoemakers suffering from slow business decided to try something new with the equipment that made molded soles for running shoes. The machines injected liquid plastic into molds that hardened into sneaker soles, but with a change in the molds, the product was now a wearable shoe. This new style raced up the fashion avenue and became one of the hits of downtown and uptown alike.
No matter how cool, it was undeniable that the shoe was made out of solid, non-breathing plastic. Even the huarachi (lattice weave) design could not deliver enough air to the foot to make the shoe comfortable. Kids suffered with these hard, sweaty shoes just for the sake of looking cool in the latest fad.
Jellies were revived in the mid-90’s, with a slight advance in comfort and style. Softer, and with the aesthetic enhancement of glitter, jellies once again invited the little girl to wear the shoes of the future.