Another mother of a gen z. My son lives in sneakers (always with socks) and birks arizonas. He wear his sandal with or without socks. He is occ barefoot in the house and yard. His friends are usually in sneakers or barefoot in the house. I've never heard of this toe fetish thing but you can bet I'll be asking him when I get home from work.

Hmm, not sure I buy the reason but my 1996 kid doesn't wear sandals. He is always in Converse and socks. This could have started with the fetish thing but I bet for most it is just following the crowd.

I have noticed for the last few years that youngsters around here only where trainers and sneakers even in high heat. I can't do it.

My youngest brother, born in 2003, doesn’t wear sandals at all. He says it’s because he never found a pair which are good looking to his eyes. Don’t think it has anything to do with foot fetishists. I love my sandals in summer, I would die in closed shoes…

OOOps, I love my sandals in summer! The slimmer the better! And still love my always dark ink/black gel nailpolish to them!

Lol folk here wear socks with slides even in the winter - & even in the rain! So I wonder whether they're doing it for the reasons above, or something else...

First no side-parts, now no bare feet? And this is the gen that is ok with bare midriffs?! I am old and puzzled. I push back against the idea that visible foot skin is gross even in a workplace setting.

All the middle-schoolers I know wear Crocs (often brightly colored) with socks even in 100 degree weather, so it does seem to be true.

I have a Gen Zer who never, ever wears sandals. She has never mentioned the foot fetish thing, but I think it is more what they perceive as socially acceptable within their groups and fashionable.

But the fetish thing strikes me as a really bad reason not to wear sandals. Realistically, while they may not be as popular or as exploited online, there are people with ring fetishes, earring fetishes, muscle (usually on women) fetishes, even disability and ethnic background fetishes. Honestly, you name it, and there is probably someone who has a fetish for it. You cannot live your life always worrying about the creeps who might take your picture in public.

Been paying more attention to people's shoes at my different events this week.
Mostly crocs and sneakers on kids and young adults. A few sockless sandals, but pretty rare.
Mostly flat sandals and sneakers for everyone else, including quite a few sandals on 40+ y/o men.

I've just come back from HOT Greece, and almost every G-Zer was SOCKLESS

Birkies, flip flops, or flat sandals with bare feet. Usually some type of gladiator. That covers many countries across the globe.

All this does make me recall that in the 90s, I routinely wore Docs with socks with all summer outfits—not to hide my feet, but because it was the look. So it’s hard to know why people are doing what they do.

Now, ironically, unlike others eschewing sandals to hide bunions, I often wear sandals BECAUSE of my bunions—sandals often squeeze them the least.

I wonder whether socks with Docs makes sense for breaking them in too? (I've never bought any but I believe the leather is quite stiff at first? It could easily rub you the wrong way (literally!) without socks at first, no?)

Never tried Docs, but in general, I'm not comfortable wearing any closed footwear without socks/hosiery- except maybe ballet flats or mules.

Socks and sandals seems to be *the* dominant footwear look for high school and college students in the northeast, and also the upper Midwest (where I’ve been traveling for the past month). I’m not convinced “feet are gross” and stalker prevention are the only or main reasons for it. I think it’s also an increasing unwillingness to wear anything uncomfortable. Socks means fewer blisters, and also comfort across a wider range of temps. And then there’s youthful contrarianism and the desire to embrace and wear anything that the previous generation dubbed irredeemably uncool.