When I was a kid the “no label” craze hit grocery stores in my hometown.
It seemed as if overnight entire rows of shelves were filled with black and white generically labeled versions of potato chips, breakfast cereal, and beer.
Much like the idea of communism or socialism, the basic thought behind this movement was based on good intentions.
It’s in the details where things fall apart. Why pay for a trademarked red and white labeled bottle of Coca Cola when you could get a plainly marked black and white labeled bottle of “COLA” for a fraction of the cost?
Here’s the rub, “basically the same” is not the same.
The contents inside the bottle are what you’re after anyway, and it is “basically the same” as Coca Cola. Note the quotes. Here’s the rub, “basically the same” is not the same.
Imagine if I were to show up at my child’s preschool to pick him up at the end of the day and selected one of the several children that matched the general attributes of my own offspring; “Any one of them with brown hair, chocolate milk on their face and is called Sam will do.” Basically the same is not the same.
Fitory is a brand that exists mostly in theory and seems to be intended to mimic other actual brands but doesn’t actually exist on its own.
It is among one of the many such “brands” that have popped up in the last few years that crank out cheaply made and oddly named flip flops.
They have no website and are available almost exclusively on established online retailers.
Along with their vaguely real name, “Fitory”, sports a logo made of a snaking letter “f” pointed at top and bottom over a circle that the lazy “f” peeks over and under.
The logo is strikingly similar to that of the Flying J, a nationwide chain of truck stops.
Then there is the name of this specific flip flop.
The pair I’m reviewing is called, and I quote, the “Fitory Arch Support Thongs Comfort Slippers For Beach.” It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
They don’t look awful but aren’t great, rather a generic version of something from Reef or Sanuk.
Their schtick seems to be that they come in a mesh bag.
I’m not sure why I’d need a mesh bag? Apparently no one on the brand design committee asked this question. Their incredibly synthetic footbed feels as you’d expect a synthetic footbed to feel.
Despite the name – or was that a description? – there is no arch support whatsoever. The wide cloth strap is set at such a great distance from the footbed that it seems to have been designed for someone with feet as thick as hams.
My feet gaze up at the strap over an expanse nearly wide enough to squeeze a ping-pong ball thru.
Extreme toe curl is a necessity to keep them on my feet.
I wore them to the pool to see how they’d perform in the real world and was shocked by how loudly squeaky they became with each step under wet feet. It was awful.
Kids at the pool froze where they were and looked at me in fear of reprimand, mistaking me for the lifeguard and each “SQUEAK!” a blast from my non-existent lifeguard whistle. Never have I heard such a noise from a flip flop.
I had to go barefoot on my way out afraid I’d suffer long term hearing damage.
There is one area in which these flip flops perform quite well. Standing in one place.
Standing still in these generic flips is every bit as luxurious as it is to stand atop one of those rubber foot fatigue preventing pads that Wall Mart greeters and clerks worldwide perch upon.
I could stand in these Fitory Arch Support Thongs Comfort Slippers For Beach flip flops for hours.
Sadly, in this case, being a wonderful foot mat translates into a generic poorly done flip flop designed and distributed strictly for profit and lacking any authenticity or passion.