An ode to frat shoes, the long-suffering party companion keeping our nice shoes clean

The heart and sole of party life

Many people may mistakenly believe that Bean boots, or perhaps Nike sneakers are the most essential shoes in a college student’s closet. While these classic shoes do make all too frequent appearances on campus, they are no match for the true footwear MVP: frat shoes. Frat shoes deserve proper recognition, and here are some of the reasons why:

They’re a frat party necessity

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, a.k.a students attending “bar schools,” the label  frat shoes is reserved for the one, special pair of shoes designated to the utmost important task of protecting your feet as you navigate your way through the uncertain and treacherous terrain of frat parties. Normal shoes would not survive under such conditions.

Frat shoes are always there for you

Underneath those layers of caked on dirt and grime exists an old, loyal friend.  No matter the season, theme, or night of the week, you can always turn to your frat shoes. Through thick and thin, whether it be supporting you in your glory on that elevated surface, or catching you when you slip and fall, your frat shoes are there.

Every pair is custom-made (sort of)

Most frat shoes have humble beginnings, whether they began as a pair of old boots, or a $5 pair of sneakers from Walmart.  However, as they transition into frat shoes, a complete transformation takes places.  From repeated use, they become worn-in and mold to fit the exact shape of your feet, providing optimal comfort.  Along the way they also acquire their own distinctive smell and pattern of filth, proving the old axiom that no two pairs of frat shoes are the same.

They are resilient

Frat shoes never give up. No amount of beer, dirt, or other suspect frat floor substance can bring them down. They are stepped on and quite literally dragged through the mud, yet they persevere. Just as you think that they can’t possibly handle another night out, your frat shoes rally. Throw them in the washing machine or Clorox wipe them down every once in a while, and your frat shoes can last the whole semester.

They have symbolic value

There is more to frat shoes than their practical value. They are also treasured because they represent fond memories of weekends passed. Putting on your frat shoes before embarking on your evening out becomes the ritualistic action that symbolizes the true beginning of the night. Once those dirt-encrusted boots are on your feet there is no going back.

There’s always room for more

While every pair of frat shoes is unique and individually appreciated, it does not mean that there isn’t room for more. Many people find themselves acquiring a somewhat impressive collection of them. The more frat shoes you have means the more to love.

They are one less thing you have to worry about

From deciding on an outfit to figuring out your game plan for the night, there are many factors to worry about before going out. Then, once you are out, you have to focus on keeping track of your friends and your phone. Your frat shoes, on the other hand, offer stability. They match any outfit and there’s no need to stress about them being damaged during the night, because that is their main purpose.

From their loyalty, to their distinct beer-mud stink, there countless reasons to love your frat shoes. They really are the heart and sole of party life.

Bucknell University