It’s five days before the Super Bowl, and 28-year-old party god and star tight end for the New England Patriots, Rob Gronkowski, is greeted in Minneapolis by a sea of press and fans at the airport. He exits the plane in a slim-cut navy suit, his demeanor happy but focused, stepping down to shake hands, kiss babies, and answer questions and—hang on. What the hell is he wearing on his feet?
Rob Gronkowski gets a lot of things right in life: beach attire, beer funnels, air guitar, playing football. But these shoes are not one of them. They are early-’00s business casual loafers of the worst variety, and not even in the so-bad-they’re-good kind of way. They are just…bad.
Now, to be fair, Gronk isn’t much of a clotheshorse. He wears baggy cargo shorts to the club and untucked dress shirts on the red carpet. He owns a hat that says “HYPE” on the front and has an affinity for big, boxy polo shirts. He’s also recovering from a concussion. But this 2018. It is genuinely difficult to wear the wrong shoes these days. For one, all of those rules about wearing sneakers with a suit are gone. (We used to write about the subject ad nauseum and now it’s not even something we bother mentioning.) For another, sneakers have gotten much fancier (see: Common Projects) and dress shoes have gotten less stuffy (see: all of these), making it so much easier to find the right pair for a kinda casual, kinda formal situation like this one. Plus! Let’s not forget that Gronk is rich, famous, and well-connected (ahem), which eliminates even more risk. When your budget is Tom Ford, not Target, you can shop while blindfolded and still come out looking great.
So Gronk, as much as we all know you’re a winner, you lost this one, buddy. Nurse your head injury, give it your all on the field this Sunday, and then, for the love of god, get yourself some new shoes.