Addendum: There is a followup piece to this post that has information on how I was handled by Customer Service and the final results of my returns process entitled Sanuk, an update. I hope you’ll have a look!!
For Christmas this year I wanted to get my husband a pair of the legendary Sanuks. Sanuks have a philosophy that describes my husband’s professional and play life to a tee. It’s called “Notwork”, which goes along with the fact that they tell you that a Sanuk is not a shoe, it’s a sandal, that looks like a shoe.
The Sanuk history is also rather interesting. The “shoe” started out as recycled materials into footwear. It was founded in 1997 by Jeff Kelley and his original wire and inner tube sandals have grown into a cult fashion must-have for every surfer and beach bum from one coast to the next and around the world. Still stationed in California, this company has grown by leaps and bounds since the late nineties.
The name of the company, Sanuk, is the Thai word for fun and happiness and that is what wearing this particular foot fashion exudes among the beach savvy.
My husband is the Vice President for a European kite and toy company. He has a desk job that requires casual attire on a daily basis, plus he travels quite a bit to trade shows and demo locations all over the world. His footwear is always casual and comfortable and hopefully, fashion forward. Which is why this year I wanted to get him a pair of Sanuks to sport around in.
His first pair arrived in January of this year, 2014. He put them on and decided he needed a bigger size, so I exchanged them for a size up. He wore that pair to the office that day and later sent me a text saying they were the most comfortable shoes he had ever worn. I was very pleased and happy with my purchase!
Then he showed me where the toes were blowing out a month later.
Sanuks are not inexpensive.
In fact, I paid $70 for the Men’s Sidewalk Surfers I bought for him, plus shipping. You can imagine how disappointed I was that this had happened, but Sanuk has a very good return policy, so I wrote to them. They asked me to return the defective pair and pick out a replacement and a second choice. The original ones I bought were out of rotation, but they had others that were similar, so I picked two of them.
His next pair arrived in March 2014 and he put them on right away.
In April I watched him stroll across the house wearing his Sanuks and asked him to take them off. I was distressed to see the shoes were actually falling apart. He said he had no idea what he was doing that was any different, other than just wearing them. I confiscated what was left of them and asked him not to wear them anymore. I could not believe the condition they were in, with not even two months of use.
Look at the soles! They look brand new!!
I wrote to the company this morning and told them that if I had $70 to spend on shoes every 2 months, then Sanuks might be great. If I had the time, or the inclination, to continually box up defective shoes, make a trip to the post office, wait in line and mail them back every 2 months, then Sanuks might be the way to go.
But I don’t.
I don’t think my husband is unusually hard on shoes. He has many other pairs I paid a lot less money for, that are years older, and they look nothing like these do after only 2 months. I just don’t get it.
Some of his friends have purchased the knock off Sanuks and even their shoes don’t show this much wear, if any, after 2 months.
Here’s the thing…yes, I could just buy the less expensive knock offs. I could do that, and they wouldn’t be Sanuks. But when you pay that much money for something you really want, shouldn’t an expectation of quality and longevity just be part of the bargain? I think so and I told them that.
I’m waiting to hear back from them, so I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, I’m not saying to not buy this brand. I’m simply sharing my experience and hoping for an outcome that makes everyone happy, especially me. Right now, I’m not feeling very Sanuky.