The ‘90s Jelly Sandal Is Summer’s Hottest Shoe Trend

The nostalgic shoe is everywhere, from Jennifer Lawrence to every fashion girl you follow.

Model wearing The Row's mara jelly sandal flat in red walking on wood
(Image credit: Backgrid/The Row/Getty Images/Ancient Greek Sandals)

It was the sandal heard worldwide at The Row's Summer 2024 show, held last September in Paris. The collection opened with a model in ruby-red rubber mesh sandals, giving off the all-too-recognizable squelchy sound that can be attributed to just one shoe: the jelly sandal pulled right out of the '90s fashion vault.

But these weren’t the squishy shoes you wore with butterfly hair clips and baby tees as a tween. These were the even better versions of your best jelly sandals—more like elegant, rubberized, beach-friendly ballet flats.

Following their runway debut, The Row's caged silhouette—the Mara Flat—went viral within the fashion bubble. Show-goers who witnessed them first-hand anointed them a top accessory trend of summer 2024. Retail consultant and author of Substack’s Sarah's Retail Diary, Sarah Shapiro, recalls her circle of industry friends buzzing with projections on how fast the luxury sandal would sell out. Meanwhile, author and fashion arbiter Leandra Medine Cohen predicted they would be the season's most prolific silhouette. "The jelly glove-style flats that appeared on The Row's [Summer 2024] runway will be the greatest [trend] explosion we will face this summer," she wrote in a recent edition of her newsletter, The Cereal Aisle. We are about to have, Medine Cohen prophecized, a very jelly summer.

Three models walking in The Row's Summer 2024 show wearing the jelly Mara Flats in red, blue, and clear.

The jelly Mara Flat making its debut in The Row's Summer 2024.

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Row)

Their insider instincts were correct: The Row’s clear jelly sandals hit retailers a few months ago at $890 a pop, and all four colorways promptly sold out across the Internet (and have continued to sell out restocks almost immediately). But not before Jennifer Lawrence, a famed fan of the luxury brand, got her hands on a pair. In late June, Lawrence took the jelly sandal trend out for a spin, styling The Row's caged rubber ruby red flats with all-white separates and a coordinating baseball cap. The actress's look was quintessentially quiet luxury.

Jennifer Lawrence wearing a white shirt, white pants, red The Row jelly sandals, and a red baseball cap

Jennifer Lawrence in an all-white outfit and red jelly sandals by The Row on Wednesday, June 26.

(Image credit: Backgrid)

But the Olsens' version isn't the only one reviving the ‘90s jelly sandal. Ancient Greek Sandals updates the old-school shoe through its Iro Jelly Ballerina and Eli Ballerina, two flats originally designed by co-founder Nikolas Minoglou’s grandfather and worn by his grandmothers Iro and Elli in the 1970s. A wholesome blend of family history and contemporary fashion, the shoe brand's re-designs became quick favorites among the fashion set.

While not everyone has a familial link to footwear design, the success of Minoglou's old-yet-new shoes speaks to the core of 2024's jelly sandal trend—nostalgia. A jelly sandal takes you back to the early 2000s when your greatest worries were caring for your Tamagotchi pets and tuning in for the Spice Girls world tour.

Model Xie Chaoyu wears a blue shirt, white skirt, jelly sandals, and a black origami swan bag during London Fashion Week September 2018 on September 16, 2018 in London, England.

The street style crowd is already test-driving summer's jelly sandal trend—as seen with this London Fashion Week guest's clear T-strap and caged pair.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Plus, as Shapiro points out, they're a natural evolution of an existing shoe trend dominating the market: “If you think about the popularity of the mesh ballet flats from Summer 2023, you can follow the through-line that leads to [net jelly flat],” the retail expert shares over email. For those on board with sock-like lattice slippers (coincidentally, another style produced by The Row), a caged jelly slip-on isn't too far of a leap.

Jelly, set, go!

More Jelly Flats and Sandals to Shop

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, where she writes deep-dive trend reports, zeitgeisty fashion featurettes on what style tastemakers are wearing, long-form profiles on emerging designers and the names to know, and human interest vignette-style round-ups. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, where she wrote shopping e-commerce guides and seasonal trend reports, assisted with the market for fashion photo shoots, and assigned and edited fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center and launched her own magazine, Childs Play Magazine, in 2015 as a creative pastime. When she's not waxing poetic about niche fashion topics, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking banana bread in her tiny NYC kitchen.