If there’s one useless tool, it’s the ventilation sandal, also known as the ventilation shoe, the ventilation skate and, against all grammatical logic, the ventilation sandal and ventilation shoe. Theoretically, you put it on and walk on the grass. The underside has metal spikes (nails) that pierce the ground, which should then aerate the grass, right?
First, let’s set aside the discussion of the usefulness of aerating a lawn, a technique that is often unnecessary, depending on the type of soil (Hint: it is only effective in naturally loamy, very hard soils and even then, must be followed by topdressing with compost or loose soil to make any difference).
Let’s just assume that your lawn would benefit from aeration. Can a simple sandal replace a mechanical aerator?
Not at all.
Remember that an aerator works by removing cores of soil. This leaves holes that can bring more air to the roots. The sandal doesn’t remove cores: it just punctures the soil, which further compacts the soil. The holes it makes compact the already air-tight soil, leaving a smooth, impermeable edge. Thus they reduce the air circulation to the roots. Okay, now there are holes in the soil, but the roots can’t take advantage of them, compressed as they are by too dense a soil.
Also, the damage to turf grasses (they are living plants, after all) from the multiple holes – puncturing their roots, penetrating their crowns and slicing their rhizomes – can be considerable, and it will take time for the lawn to recover from these injuries. (This is one reason why lawn aeration remains a technique of dubious utility).
Not easy to use
Also, walking on the grass with these sandals is not a piece of cake. It’s actually quite exhausting! And despite the various fasteners and straps offered by the manufacturer and the supposedly universal size of the product, the sandal tends to slip left or right, forcing you to adjust it regularly.
Essentially, the venting sandal is a bogus product, really of no use, something to be sold at a discount at a garage sale with the other ineffective items you’ve accumulated. Instead, reserve your lawn care budget for expenses that can actually help it grow better!