ANOTHER shoe set to join the ranks of fashionably clompy footwear is that provincial hairdresser's favourite, the Scholl exercise sandal, writes Tamsin Blanchard. Sales are reported to be up 78 per cent on last year - and it's not even summer yet.

By some perverse twist of fate, all those shoes that we hated as children, but were made to wear because they were good for our young feet, are becoming de rigueur. First it was Doc Martens, then came Birkenstocks, (designed along the same foot moulding as Scholls and much loved by German philosophy students), closely followed by clogs (the sort worn by medics in hospital wards). Birkenstocks turned up in pink satin and diamante at the Perry Ellis show, and Gucci has suede clogs for summer.

The Scholl sandal, designed to tone and exercise your legs as you walk, was launched in this country 30 years ago. But it was after an inspired Scholl fashion show in the early Sixties that the sandal first gained street cred. Initially picked up by the beatniks, Scholls then became required footwear for hippies. By 1972, sales had reached one million pairs in the United States.

Scholls are clumpy, inelegant and require a sloppy, shuffling gait - and thus they are perfect for these laid-back, post-Seventies Nineties. They are also the antidote to feet already tired of platforms.