Evergreen for kids

During a lecture at the University of Venice, the great Bruno Munari said: «I took the liberty of awarding the “Compasso d’Oro” (Golden Compass) to complete unknowns who don’t even realise they are designers, but who produce objects that are always widely sold: the beach deckchair, the simplest object imaginable, or the tripod music stand».

The “anonymously designed” objects praised by Munari are timeless, those that have remained exactly or almost the same for decades, sometimes even for centuries, so as to become archetypes.
There is no question that the punched toe T-bar sandal falls into this category. We do not know exactly who invented them, or when, but particularly from the ‘60s on they became a great classic: shoe manufacturers made their own versions of it and every child had a pair.

Comfortable to wear, with two eye-shaped holes to allow the foot to breathe, the sandals were often passed down between brothers and cousins; and when feet grew too fast but it was necessary to make them last until the end of the season, it was quite common amongst less well-off families for the toe to be cut off with a pair of scissors.

Real “evergreens” in the world of children’s shoes (Prince George, William and Catherine’s small son, usually wears them), that periodically come back into fashion even amongst adults, and at least a couple of generations get nostalgic when they see a pair that reminds them of their childhood, of the white socks worn with them, of the little stones that got in through the holes.


Also known in Italy as “ox eye” (even if this model is a variation, with the holes higher up and more to the side), or “cat’s eye” sandals or simply  “sandals with punched holes” , they feature two openings on the instep and a strap and metal buckle or, more rarely, with velcro.