Jelly Shoes Are a Timeless Fashion Statement

Joyful, comfy and brazenly childlike, it is undeniably fun to throw on a pair of jelly shoes. These days, designers like Carmen Sol, Tory Burch and Ferragamo have given these whimsical shoes a sophisticated upgrade. Today, the jelly shoe has made a big comeback and is available in styles ranging from the classic sandal to high-rise wedges. Jelly shoes are even vegan-friendly, offering a great alternative to shoes made from leather. 

Carmen Sol’s jelly shoes are inspired by popular runway trends, like chunky styles with ruffles and bows, traditional webbed designs, and edgy studs.  Some of the styles you'll see in Carmen Sol’s contemporary jelly footwear include the following:

  • Chunky wedges with studs
  • Embellished sandals
  • Gladiator sandals
  • Beautiful thongs

You may think you know jelly shoes as trends of the ‘80s or children's’ footwear, but you may be surprised to find out that they have an international history that dates back to shortly after World War II.  

The History of Jelly Shoes

The origin of jelly shoes is uncertain. Vogue Paris has revealed that jelly shoes, which they refer to as “méduse” (which means “jellyfish” in French) shoes were created in 1946 during a post-war leather shortage. Other sources assert that the budget-friendly and waterproof shoes were a product of the plastic boom of the late 1950s. 

No matter when jelly shoes were created, they only became popular in the 1980s, with the surge of neon, rainbow bright colors and synthetic fashion trends.   In 1981, a bank president named Preston Haag Sr. quit his job to find a business he could operate that would include his family.  He soon traveled to South America in order to visit with American ambassadors and discover potential products for the United States market. 

At a reception in Brazil, Haag saw many different bright shoes worn by various young women. He ended up asking them about their footwear and learned that their manufacturer was Grendene, a small company that employed 3,000 of the 10,000 people living in the town of Farroupilha, Brazil. 

In March 1981, Haag made a deal to distribute Grendene's plastic shoes in the southeastern US through a new company that he named Grendha.  He first introduced jelly shoes in America at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

While this launch was successful, jelly shoes only became a bonafide fashion hit in America in February 1983.   This was when Bloomingdale's, a fashionable and luxurious department store in New York City, ordered 2,400 pairs in nine different styles.  After this massive sale and resulting exposure, jelly shoes became the hottest summer sandal in the fashion world. 

Today, designers like Gucci and other big names have made luxe, high-fashion versions of jelly shoes and influencers like Alexa Chung have been spotted wearing them. 

What Are Jelly Shoes Made Of?

PVC is very flexible and resistant to abrasions at a low cost. 

Unfortunately PVC hasn’t had the best reputation, as it has been said to be toxic, constituting a health hazard during the manufacturing process.  One feature that sets Carmen Sol’s products apart from other brands is that they design and manufacture products that are Prop-65 compliant, which means they are nontoxic. 

The scented jelly material is animal cruelty-free while adding a subtle fragrance to the products that never fades away. The company sources the scent from Italy and infuses it into the material.

Advances in plastics and synthetic materials have provided for significant improvements in jelly shoes from years past. Modern materials are lightweight, offer more comfort, are sweat and odor-resistant, and are surprisingly eco-friendly. Many modern styles of these shoes, like Carmen Sol’s, are made from recycled materials, making them a choice that is environmentally responsible as well as affordable.

The jelly material Carmen Sol uses is not only 100 percent recyclable but also cruelty-free and vegan. Their jelly material is available in an assortment of different colors, providing you with many different options to choose from. The diversity of Carmen Sol's collection means every accessory that you choose from this brand is incredibly unique, stylish, and sustainable.

Modern Jelly Shoes: How to Wear

Carmen Sol’s fun sandals and slides are the perfect summer companion for shorts, tees, tank tops, casual skirts and pretty summer dresses. Color options are numerous, with options like white and baby pink and plenty of bright hues in the mix. The brighter colors work well in spring and summer with almost any casual wear. Their nude and white options match with any outfit.

Darker hues, metallic styles, and dress-up styles like their embellished wedges can work with more sophisticated outfits too. Pair pretty dresses and skirts with a metallic sandal style, or spice up your skinny jeans with a dark peep toe jelly flat.  Carmen Sol offers metallic hues that include rose gold, gunmetal, gold, and silver. Choose a fun wedge jelly style to wear with khakis, jeans, or slacks.

In addition to playful and comfy jelly shoes, did you know there are other kinds of accessories available made from PVC jelly?  Jelly bracelets and bags are becoming more and more popular because of their durability and beauty.  Like their jelly shoes, the Carmen Sol bracelets and bags are characterized by edgy studs and bold colors. 

Modern jelly shoes like those designed by Carmen Sol are a fun and functional way to incorporate playful colors and styles into your footwear.  No matter which style you select, you are bound to turn heads because of Carmen Sol jelly shoes’ striking beauty and eye-catching appearance!

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