Chalking up Chacos

Charlotte McKiver

Whitman is home to perplexing fashion trends: flannel, Carharts, leggings. But none astounds me more than Chaco sandals. Despite their unsightly appearance, most Whitman students own at least one pair. And as someone concerned with the aesthetic of the Whitman campus, I had to conceptualize why this footwear is so popular.

Chalking up Chacos
I initially assumed that the popularity of these shoes amongst college students was a result of their inexpensive price tag. However, I recently found out that Chacos are quite expensive. A pair of these sandals, depending on the style, costs from $55 to $85, making these shoes as costly as a pair of more attractive Steve Madden shoes or Converse sneakers.

I find it amusing that a relatively expensive shoe has become the wardrobe staple of a supposedly laid-back and “hippie” college where I assumed most people did not spend a lot of money on their clothing or appearance. However, the price tag of these sandals suggests something entirely different. Maybe Chacos are so popular because they are part of an outdoorsy “image” specific to Whitman.

The obsession with Chacos suggests that Whitman students, as much as they would not like to admit it, care about their appearance.

I can empathize with wearing Chacos to go hiking or boating, purposes for which the shoes were invented; however, I do not understand why they must be worn around a rather flat and well-manicured campus. Just as stiletto heels are “cool” at Villanova, Chacos are decidedly “hip” at Whitman.

Much to most of the student body’s dismay, the Chaco wearers have created a certain look on this campus. Unfortunately, these students are just like the people they criticize for wearing heels to class.
So next time you judge my Marc Jacobs, know I am looking at your Chacos!