Summer is officially here, so it’s time to make sure you’ve got all your supplies together for a relaxing day at the beach. If you’re like me, you’ll pack a nice picnic, obsessively slather on 70+ SPF sunscreen, and grab your favorite shorts and sandals. The sandals part, however, is a little complicated. I’ve been checking out a few sandal options, so stay tuned for a couple of upcoming sandal reviews.
About Waltzing Matilda
“Everything we make is handcrafted in the USA in small micro-factories and meant to last forever. We make a strong effort to use repurposed and recycled materials found during our travels. We don’t compromise. We are creative, adventurous, and humble, and sincerely want to stimulate the senses with our pieces. Every hide is handpicked and has unique features and marks that add to the character and beauty of each product. We hope you love your new piece of art, and that it travels with you for a long time. Please let it age gracefully.” – Waltzing Matilda website
Waltzing Matilda actually got its start making this very sandal, born out of necessity during a surf trip in Nicaragua. After Mike, the founder, lost his shoes in a torrential rain storm, he crafted a pair of sandals out of an extra travel bag, and thus, the NICA sandal was born. Now, Waltzing Matilda is a full-fledged leather outfitter, making everything from shoes to bags to laptop cases to wine carriers.
Like all Waltzing Matilda products, the NICA sandal is made by hand in Maine. Featuring Horween leather, the body of the sandal is hand-tacked to a rubber Birkenstock EVA sole. The straps are anchored into the leather at the top and bottom with tacks and the two sections of strap are joined with polyester thread. I’m not entirely sure that this is the best decision when it comes to construction, but it does give the NICA sandal that stitched-together bohemian look that Waltzing Matilda has become famous for. After several months of use, however, I haven’t noticed any give or weakness in that area of the sandal, so take that with a grain of salt.
I love the way these sandals look. With the hand-tacked nails and unburnished edges, the NICA sandals have a unique look that sets them apart from other leather sandals. They aren’t pretentious or overdone, but definitely look like they are a quality item.
I wasn’t completely sold on the white Birkenstock sole on the Women’s Mocs, but after quite a bit of use, they don’t look as dirty as I expected, and they match well with the lighter leather. The Men’s Brown sandals are a beautiful, rich brown that goes well with any outfit.
These take some breaking in before they get comfortable. When you first try them on, it feels a bit like wearing a two-by-four on your feet. The piece that goes between your toes is thicker than most sandals and takes some getting used to. But after a couple of wears, the leather breaks in and forms to your feet, making them extremely comfortable for daily wear. These are by far the most comfortable leather flip flops I’ve owned. My husband regularly steals them even though they’re not his size. I think I’ll have to get him his own pair!
The Men’s Brown pair has a leather sole, which can be somewhat slippery if you’re not used to leather soles. It’s probably a good idea to avoid a wipeout by scuffing the soles up a bit before you head outside.
At $148, the NICA sandals aren’t cheap, but you will get a LOT of use out of them. They’re perfect for a day at the beach, and look nice enough to wear for a casual dinner. They’re light and pack flat so you can take them anywhere. Waltzing Matilda also has several other sandal designs that I’d recommend taking a look at if simple flip flops don’t cut it. There are Roman sandals, Greek Sandals, and a third design they call “My Sandals.” Check ’em out!