The Square-Toe Shoe Must Die

by MR Magazine Staff

We thought it would fade away, a casualty of sartorial progress, like spats and piano ties. We thought its fundamental absurdity of form would fully evolve it off the feet of men. To be honest, we thought it was too ugly to live. But that geometric disgrace remains, ruining otherwise fashionable looks by making men’s feet seem heavy, bulky, unwilling…square. So we’re killing it. For good this time. It’ll take a sustained campaign involving social media, community outreach, and prayer to the fashion gods. But the square-toe shoe is going down. Though not without your help. “They are a fashion, but unlike some fashions, they have logic going for them. Our feet are more squared off than pointy in the front.” —GQ, 2003. That’s the closest we ever came to endorsing the square-toe: “logic.” Otherwise we ignored it. We looked at it askance. We wondered when it would go away. We never fought it because we never took it seriously. And why should we? Flat. Wide. Often unnaturally shiny. Usually with double stitching along the vamp. The Pilgrims’ Pride. The Joey/Ross/Chandler Special. The “going out” shoe that Pauly on Jersey Shore wore (and, let’s face it, wears) with his “going out” shirt. How could that last? Yet it has. On our brothers! Our cousin at his prom! That guy at the coffee shop in a nice suit! Congressmen hosting town halls and telling you you’ll be fine without health insurance! They started wearing square-toes in the ’90s, and they just—well, they just never took them off. But why? How did this shoe not go the way of the opera cape? What we’re starting to understand, after hosting some seriously robust panel discussions with editors and friends, among them square-toe sympathizers and recovering enthusiasts, is that the square-toe shoe is not anti-fashion. It represents a misguided but sincere attempt at being fashionable. It’s a striving toward…something. Read more at GQ.