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Sandals for men: Rules to wearing flip-flops

Adam Ellis, sits with his feet up at

Adam Ellis, sits with his feet up at his desk at The Paramount in Huntington. Credit: Newsday/ Alejandra Villa

As country superstar Kenny Chesney says, it's gonna be another flip-flop summer. Or maybe you prefer slides after the solstice? A pair of sandals for those scorchers?

With the dog days officially here, more and more guys are deciding to take their dogs out for a walk.

"I need to let my feet breathe," says Adam C. Ellis, director of marketing at The Paramount in Huntington. He's been wearing his latest pair of Sanuk flip-flops for about five years.

"I could see wearing flip-flops at just about any function that isn't formal -- and during the summertime? That's a no-brainer," says Ellis, 38, of Deer Park.

Ellis, who sometimes wears his flip-flops to work, is part of a growing number of guys downshifting fashion in warm weather. Stroll through any mall or downtown on Long Island -- away from the sand and surf and swimming pools -- and you're sure to see more than a few dudes hoofing it with minimal material down there.

"This has been a touchy subject for a lot of guys and a lot of designers in the men's fashion scene over the past few years," says style writer Jake Woolf, a fan of Nike slides that he sometimes wears on weekends. "There have been brands out there making sandals, but at the same time there have been a lot people who would contend that you're never allowed to wear sandals or flip-flops away from the beach."

For the record, Woolf, who covered the slide trend for the magazine's recent GQ Style guide, is one of those flip-flops = beachwear only people. "You are going too far with those," he says. "They are best reserved for the beach."

Still, some guys gotta flaunt their toes.

Take Brentwood's Godfred Ankomah. Because his job at a local vitamin company requires a uniform that includes steel-capped boots, he wears Teva-style sandals (bought at Sears about three years ago) on his drive. He changes into socks and the hefty footwear before hitting the floor. But as soon as he clocks out, his boots come off.

His sandal season starts in May and goes "until sometime in the fall or even when the snow starts."

Ankomah doesn't have to perform a quick change when he attends the nursing program at Nassau Community College.

"Most of the time, I wear sandals to class," the 30-year-old husband and dad says. "I wear them with shorts, with jeans. They can go with anything."

At an engagement party one recent Sunday, he wore his other sandals -- a pair of slides sent to him from his native Ghana. "It was cool, because I was wearing an African outfit and the sandals matched."

A pedicure primer for guys

It was time for some sole-searching. It was time, for once in my life, to have my feet flip-flop-ready for summer.

It was time . . . for my first pedicure.

"Don't be afraid," my pedi therapist, Elisa Mejia, told me. "I'm going to make your feet look perfect."

And so it began one early morning at nuBest Salon and Spa in Manhasset. The joint was clean -- Mejia, who has 20 years' experience, was gloved. A removable liner was in the stainless steel foot tub where I soon dipped my tootsies into a warm lavender soak.

Forget Calgon. Mejia, take me away! The spa pedi here ($55) lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

Here are some other things pedicure virgins should know:

Wear shorts and flip-flops when going to get one -- you're going to get your ankles and calves worked on with variations of the nuBest routine: an exfoliating scrub, body polish, mud masque and hydrating massage lotion.

The cuticle-removing gel will work. Don't worry.

Getting your toenails filed might feel odd. Vibrations rippled up from the end of my foot.

Ticklish like me? Getting the bottoms of my feet buffed had me jerking and laughing more than usual. You've been warned.

No, I didn't get any polish, but Mejia used a buffer on my nails. "This will give you a natural shine," she said. And she was right -- two weeks later, still glossy.

Will I get another pedi? Maybe, now that I know I won't have a total freak-out while someone touches my toes.

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