Nineties Nostalgia and The Row Are Bringing Back These "Ugly" Shoes for Summer

a pair of blue Mara jelly flats from The Row

(Image credit: @thecoveted__)

At this point, you'd think there were very few trends that could shock us anymore, but apparently, the fashion world still has several surprises up its sleeve because the latest topic of conversation among our fashion team is centering around a certain warm-weather shoe style that's, well, unexpected, to say the least. Yep, jelly sandals are the bubbling shoe trend causing a stir in group chats everywhere. While jelly shoes are nothing new (if you grew up in the '90s, you'll remember those plastic jelly shoes with the ankle straps that we all seemingly wore back then), this summer is bringing them back in a new silhouette that feels altogether more modern and, dare I say, downright cool.

It was The Row's spring/summer 2024 runway where we first spotted the new-age jelly shoes. Models donned the brand's usual codes of minimalist attire, save for several looks that featured glove flats with fishnet-esque mesh. It wasn't immediately clear what the flats were made from based on the brand's runway imagery alone. Were they woven? Mesh? Upon further inspection, the Mara flats appear to be made from transparent, jelly-like PVC.

The Row may have ignited the return of the water-resistant shoes, but the rest of the fashion world is also in agreement. Jelly sandals in all their forms are infiltrating our social feeds and favourite retailers across the internet, so regardless of your personal feelings towards them, there's no denying they're at the forefront for summer 2024. Here, we've charted their course from the runways to the market.

On the runway

Models walk The Row spring/summer 2024 runway in jelly flats

(Image credit: The Row)

The Row's Mara flats are no doubt the blueprint for the return of jelly sandals this summer. Though they've only just recently become available to buy, they debuted in the spring 2024 collection where they were styled alongside billowy maxi dresses and long, flowy layers.

The Row model wearing Mara jelly sandals

(Image credit: The Row)

The jelly sandals appeared in several looks in this runway collection, including in clear, black, and aquamarine iterations. All three colours are now available, including a bright scarlet addition to the Mara lineup.

Models walk The Row spring/summer 2024 runway in jelly flats

(Image credit: The Row)

While the colourful versions tap into our collective nostalgia for the '90s, the black pair are sleeker and more elevated and from afar look similar to some of the fishnet flats we've already been seeing all year.

On Instagram

a pair of blue Mara jelly flats from The Row

(Image credit: @thecoveted__)

A closer look at the viral Mara flats in the vibrant cobalt-blue shade.

an influencer wearing a black maxi dress and Ancient Greek Sandals jelly sandals

(Image credit: @sasha.mei)

Fashion people are taking cues from The Row's styling with this trend and marrying the kitschy shoes with sleek, minimalist staples like maxi dresses.

an influencer wearing The Row Mara jelly flats

(Image credit: @courtneygrow)

Summers spent in the city call for shoes that are hot weather-approved but not necessarily sneakers. Jelly sandals all of a sudden feel like the perfect answer.

a woman sitting on a curb wearing jelly sandals

(Image credit: @lalalalisa_m)

Classic jelly shoes are equally rearing their heads again this summer, so expect to see the '90s-inspired styles just as much.

detail image of Ancient Greek Sandals jelly flats

(Image credit: @maru0617cokai)

The jelly-like material takes the whole mesh-flats trend to entirely new levels.

a woman takes a selfie in barrel jeans and jelly sandals

(Image credit: @shylaablair)

Wear them as you would other flat sandals (aka with jeans and a cool top).

Shop Jelly Shoes

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.

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