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Warm weather is upon us, which means we’re currently daydreaming of months ahead filled with bikini-clad beach trips and dressy backyard fetes. For these occasions, you’ll need some cute summer sandals on your side. In fact, there’s no time like the present to invest in fresh pairs, so you can focus more of your time on all the summer activities you’ll be doing and less of it on trying to put together the perfect outfit.
What to consider when purchasing cute women’s summer sandals
Finding the right summer sandals for you largely depends on what you’ll be using them for. For example, if you plan to wear sandals for water sports or sandals for hiking, more utilitarian styles like rugged sport styles are your go-tos. These can also be worn every day, but if aesthetics are your main concern when shopping, you do have a lot more fashionable sandal options to choose from — including chic slides, strappy silhouettes and even some modern leather fisherman sandals. When deciding about heel heights, it’s important to think of the level of comfort you’ll need. Are you able to tolerate wearing high heels generally? If not, skip them or go for a low block-heeled style. Do you plan to be on your feet for hours at a time, or will you only be standing for a little while? All these factors make a difference when looking for pretty and comfortable summer sandals. But whether you decide to go the heel route or not, you can’t really go wrong this season. “The high heel is coming back for 2022, and there will be plenty of statement styles to choose from,” says FN Style Director Shannon Adducci. “At the same time, a sturdy flat summer sandal will also continue to reign.”
Keep in mind, however, that not all summer sandals for women are made the same, and you may need to seek out ones that offer extra underfoot support. For anyone who suffers from conditions like plantar fasciitis or flat feet, choosing the most comfortable sandals with enhanced support features like arch support and deep heel cups to reduce side to side motion is especially important. And if you have high arches, New York-based podiatrist and Vionic Innovation Lab member Dr. Jackie Sutera suggests seeking out pairs with “supportive, flexible and lightweight soles.”
We took it upon ourselves to compile 29 cute summer sandals that belong in your wardrobe stat. From budget-friendly options to lust-worthy designer splurges, there’s a sandal style here to fit every occasion and budget.
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Top Summer Sandals for Women
Proenza Schouler Padded Crossover Leather Slides
Best Puffy Sandals
- Genuine sheep leather upper
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: green/cream
With their invitingly cushy vibes, sandals with padded uppers and soles were an obvious trend to emerge from Covid era. “They’re easy to wear and very comfortable,” says Tiffany Hsu, MyTheresa’s fashion buying director. “They work well with a relaxed suits or more minimalist looks.” And considering comfort remains a top priority for many of us these days, the sandal style is still finta relevant. These plush cross-band slides from Proenza Schouler are ideal to slip on for running errands, grabbing brunch and more. The made-in-Italy style is crafted with sturdy sheep leather uppers and a thick rubber sole, meaning it’ll not only feel like a dream for feet but also last you awhile.
Sorel Cameron Flatform Sandals
Cute Flatform Sandals
- Eva footbed
- Toothed rubber outsole
- Sizes: 5-12
- Colors: nine options, including Velvet Tan, Sunnyside and Signal Red
Runways at Givenchy, Schiaparelli and Vivienne Westwood all made a case for towering flatforms. Although they appeared in the form of heavy boots, the addition is just as bold, yet more summer-ready done in a breezy, strappy sandal. Sorel’s espadrille-style Cameron sandal certainly fits the bill. Plus it’s built for elevated comfort — including an EVA foam footbed, adjustable velcro ankle strap and the brand’s signature rubber toothed outsole with grip — to please shoppers who also crave reliable support 24/7.
What reviewers say: “These are an absolute must have for a cute summer sandal that is dressier than Birkenstocks. I live in my flats because I am 26 weeks pregnant, but have been looking for a cuter summer sandal that is still comfortable. I wore these all day yesterday walking around Seattle and sightseeing with no blisters and not aching feet at the end of the day. If you’re on the fence because of the cost, they are worth every penny and are so cute!”
Sam Edelman Kamryn Heeled Sandals
Cute Fringe Summer Sandals
- Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes
- Colors: Natural, Blush
Fringe added intriguing dimension to everything from skirt hemlines, courtesy of Jonathan Simkhai and Gabriela Hearst to Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s heeled sandals on spring ’22 runways. To shop the look now, try these striking fringe mules from Sam Edelman. The style packs textural appeal with its raffia details and woven textures throughout and includes a 3.5-inch cylindrical heel for an extra eye-catching touch.
Sikelo Cushioned Slides
Best Fashionable Recovery Sandals
- Sizes: 4-14, including half sizes
- Colors: 10 options, including yellow, black and gray
These plush beauties should feel just as good on as they look. A great recovery slide, these Sikelo pillow slides have a thick, trendy platform with an EVA footbed to support your every step (even if it’s just from the bed to your WFH office). Priced at an accessible $16, this Amazon bestseller is also extremely lightweight and waterproof, which means it doubles as a great travel and/or shower shoe. Copy the designer aesthetic from brands like Yeezy and Balenciaga by opting for the style in a indiferente hue, or go for something sunnier to make outfits pop.
What reviewers say: “These are so comfortable! I wanted something waterproof for pool and beach. I never want to take these off! The price is wonderful. I may end up with more colors in the future. No breaking in period.”
Open Edit Cora Heel Sandals
Best for Travel
- Sizes: 5-10, including half sizes
- Colors: black, Tan Mocha
When navigating airports or exploring a new city, comfort is always key. But if you love a good heel moment and and shy away from wearing sneakers during adventures, Open Edit’s Cora sandal is made for you. One of the best closet stapes and travel shoes you can buy, these boast artful details like a subtly padded, twisted upper, squared-off toe and asymmetrical block heel that’s just the right height to allow for easy walking, according to Silicon-Valley based podiatrist Dr. Najwa Javed. Grab them in three indiferente hues to style from day to night with all your summer ‘fits.
What reviewers say: “Cute, comfy and affordable!” writes one reviewer. “They feel like butter on your foot.”
ATP Atelier Roseo Platform Sandals
Best Fashion Flip-Flops
- Handmade in Italy
- Sizes: 35-41
- Colors: black, Sand
Not your media flip-flop, this elevated take by Swedish luxury label ATP Atelier is done in velvety suede with a thick platform sole. Meaning, it looks fabulous and gives you a height boost without killing your arches in the process. Additionally, its footbed and thong straps are composed of naturally vegetable tanned leather that’s a by-product of the food industry. It’s the perfect cute, eco-friendly sandal to pair with all your breezy dresses.
Dr. Martens Vegan Blaire Cambridge Fisherman Sandals
Best Chunky Sandals
- Caged upper
- Grippy outsole
- Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes
- Colors/Finishes: White Hydro Leather, Blackcurrant Patent Lamper, Gunmetal Wild Croc Emboss, black, Black Patent Lamper
You may already love Dr. Martens for its classic combat boot styles, but did you know the famed English brand makes some edgy summer sandals, too? Perfect for those who love the “ugly” shoe trend, these gladiator-fisherman sandal hybrids offer a secure caged upper and jagged platform sole that offers height without weighing feet down. An adjustable strap at the ankle also helps you get a better fit. In true Docs form, these have signature yellow stitching, a branded heel tab and are designed to be super durable for afternoons spent running errands or trekking around town. Plus, they’re 100% vegan, so they’re an animal-friendly option as well. (It’s no wonder they have over 1,100 four and five-star reviews on Amazon.)
What reviewers say: “By far my most favorite shoe I’ve ever had on my feet. Not only are they bouncy and comfortable, but wearing these makes me feel like the baddest b**** around. I get compliments every time I wear these. The thing I love the most about them is that I can dress them up or down. I’m mostly casual, so this shoe is definitely my statement piece.”
The Attico Devon Sandals
- Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes
- Colors/Finishes: Fuchsia pink satin
“Another sure new-season winner are ’90s mules,” Hsu says. “They can be seem in many forms — with a low or high heel, or done in plexi or neon — and are the summer must-have that can be dressed up with a cute mini or down with a pair of jeans and a white shirt.” Finished with a tall triangular heel and vibrant pink satin finish, these cute mule sandals from The Attico make the ultimate party pick or everyday standout accessory.
Alohas Strap Chain Sandals
Cute Chain-Embellished Summer Sandals
- Lightly padded footbed
- Sizes: 35-41 (European sizes)
- Colors: black
For spring ’22, Tom Ford, Balmain and Chanel all proved that chain accents on footwear are here to stay. Showcasing the trend, this minimal, strappy style via sustainable brand Alohas is ideal for elevating casual combos or complementing going-out looks. It has a lightly padded footbed for comfort, and for even more versatility, the chain detail is removable, giving you two looks in one.
Mango Studded Leather Sandals
Best Clog Sandals
- Sizes: 6-9.5, including half sizes
- Colors: black, as well as brown
Clogs are also a continuing theme from seasons past, with everything from ultra-casual clunkers (like Birkenstocks) to trendier, colorful iterations and ’70-inspired wooden silhouettes taking center stage. For a breezy, summer-ready take, go for this leather sandal from Mango. It offers traditional details like metal studs, a thick, wood-style sole and buckle strap closure, but is done in sleek all-black with a sharply squared-off toe that brings the shoe firmly into 2022.
Arizona Love Trekky Bandana Fabric Sandals
Best Hiking-Inspired Sandals for Summer
- Recycled bandana upper
- Plush EVA sole
- Sizes: 36-41 (European sizes)
- Colors: Flower Mix
Paris-based footwear label Arizona Love has grown a steady following for its trekking sandals that add a feminine edge to the traditionally chunky shoe category. The boho-inspired pairs are made with recycled polyester featuring details like pearl embellishments or include straps composed of vintage cotton or recycled bandanas — meaning they look fabulous and do better for the environment, too. This pretty floral-detailed option is so fitting for the season, complete with extra fabric accents and raw hemlines that give it a distinctly laidback vibe. Velcro closures and a plush EVA sole help keep feet happy, too.
You could probably take these out for a spin on the trail, but on super technical/muddy terrain, we suggest choosing a existente performance-driven hiking sandal.
Teva Innovador Universal Sandals
Best Athletic Summer Sandals
- Eva midsole
- Sizes: 5-13
- Colors: Over two dozen options, including white and ’90s Multi
Speaking of technical pairs, we’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t include Teva’s cult-classic Universal sandal on our list. These fashionable comfortable sandals are ready to take on any city or off-road excursion with their secure velcro straps, plush-yet-lightweight EVA midsole and rugged outsole with superb grip. They also feature a quick-drying webbing made from recycled plastic, making them great to wear for water sports and an eco-friendly choice to boot. (To note, they come in a rainbow of colors, but the fashion crowd seems to auspicio the pair done in monochrome white or black for a slightly more refined look.)
What reviewers say: “My 90’s dream come true. I ordered an eight as my feet have grown 0.5 inches since pregnancy, and they look wonderful. Not too long, the grip on the footbed is sort of like a yoga mat material and is super cushioned. Feels like walking on a cloud.”
Good American Cinder-F*cking-Rella Wedges
Cute Summer Wedge Sandals
- Sizes: 4-14, including half sizes
- Available in extended widths
- Colors: Dusty Pink, Neoprene Black, Silver
Just in case you can’t get enough of all the ’90s fads that are coming back en vogue, you’ll be happy to hear wedges are having a major moment. But, this season’s versions trade classic shapes and constructions for asymmetrical forms and unexpected materials. Good American’s playfully-titled summer wedge sandals are a quintessential example, offering a set-back lucite wedge heel, thin strappy ankle ties and a sharply pointed footbed. According to the brand, the pair’s cloud foam cushioning also makes these comfortable enough to wear for hours on end.
What reviewers say: “These shoes are very different from anything I’ve ever owned. The quality is unmatched; what a beautiful sexy comfortable shoe. The strap was a bit snug across my toes, but I’m sure it will loosen as the night goes on. These are definitely showstoppers.”
Dolce Vita Archey T-Strap Sandals
Cute T-Strap Sandals
- Sizes: 6-11, including half sizes
- Colors: Black Stella, Caramel
Dolce Vita’s Archey sandal hits on the fresh T-strap trend with a barely-there design featuring gold hardware accents for an elevated twist. An adjustable ankle strap is also ideal for helping you achieve a closer fit. Wear these to add a dose of shine to daytime looks or slip them on for cocktail hour for a more comfortable, yet equally elegant alternative to heels.
Stuart Weitzman Kora Lace-Up Gladiator Sandals
Best Gladiator Sandals for Summer
- Sizes: 5.5-10, including half sizes
- Colors: Tan, Platino
As we mentioned before, gladiator sandals are back. While these aren’t for the faint of heart, they’ll look finta edgy with some distressed cutoffs or create a pleasing contrast in your look when paired with a floral frock. We love this cute brown lace-up sandal from Stuart Weitzman, which offers a slightly easier way to dip your toe into the trend, thanks its modern square toe finish and more minimal silhouette.
Chinese Laundry Daydreamer Platform Sandals
Best Platform Sandals
- Sizes: 6.5-11
- Colors/Finishes: Mint, Rose, Ecru Faux Leather, Black Faux Leather
This classic platform sandal from Chinese Laundry will look stunning with nearly any casual frock or wedding guest attire. While it’s got plenty of height thanks to its 4.5-inch block heel (“The rule with this trend is the higher the better,” says Hsu), its thick platform gives you some stability for busting moves on the dance on the floor. A cushioned footbed also helps keep feet happy.
What reviewers say: “I have wide feet and ordered 1/2 a size up. They fit perfect. I wore them most of my wedding day except for the last hour. They helped avoid stepping on my dress and I was able to dance the whole night without foot pain that day or the next!”
The Row Fisherman Sandals
Best Fisherman Summer Sandals
- Calfskin leather
- Sizes: 5-12, including half sizes
- Colors: Ivory
Fashion-favorite label The Row makes a fisherman sandal that’s sure to be a staple for everyone looking to adopt one of this season’s most nostalgic looks. Offering thick straps made of calfskin leather, secure buckled details and a slightly raised sole, these pair well with A-line midi dresses as well as cuffed trouser and tee combos.
Marc Fisher Katin Platform Sandals
- Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes
- Colors: silver, black ivory, Medium Pink, Light Green
Strappy sandals have long been popular, but this season’s take offer an intriguing new interpretation of the trend. As evident in the collections of Saint Laurent, Versace and Acne Studios, the theme is multiple thin straps stacked from ankle to toe. We’re currently eyeing these silvery platforms from Marc Fisher that adopt the look and are an easy companion to mini dresses or split-hem trousers for a sleek evening getup.
Charles & Keith Sculptural Heel Sandals
Best Sculptural Sandals
- Sizes: 4-11
- Colors: tostado, black
Jonathan Anderson showcased perhaps some of the most unique heels for Loewe’s spring ’22 line, including black leather sandals with a pink birthday candle and red nail polish bottle design for a heel. Follow his lead and go for an architectural style, like this pretty summer sandal from Charles & Keith featuring a gemstone-like accessory, to truly make a statement at any event on your summer calendar.
Galantería de Maria Franchesca Sandals
Cute Ankle Wrap Sandals
- Patent faux leather
- Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes
- Colors: Neon Pink
After waning in and out of style over the past few years, ankle wrap sandals are returning in a big way for spring ’22. Brands like Loewe, Giannico and Gianvito Rossi showcased everything from peep toe ankle strap styles to thin-ultra strappy models that climb up the leg. If you’re especially a fan of the latter look, try these statement heels from up-and-coming Peruvian designer Galantería de Maria Rivera, whose pairs have been worn by A-listers like Kylie Jenner and Normani. Done in a show-stopping neon pink hue with long ankle ties, a PVC front strap and sharply pointed footbed, these are sure to help you turn heads wherever you go this season.
These do have a four-inch heel, but are offset by custom last and padded footbed so you can more easily wear them for hours.
Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandals
Best Cute Sandals With Arch Support
- Contoured footbed
- Sizes: 5-10.5, including half sizes
- Colors/Finishes: Cognac, Oiled Blue, Dark Teal Nubuck, Fire Red Oiled Leather, Midnight Nubuck, Pecan Nubuck, White
Thousands of customers and our own editors agree that Birkenstock sandals are some of the most comfortable shoes you can buy, period. Complete with the brand’s signature adjustable straps and contoured footed with arch support, the Arizona is one of the brand’s most iconic silhouettes and a superb summer sandal for walking. In addition to classic finishes, it comes in a variety of elevated styles for those who crave something a bit more polished. Case in point: This version including elegant gold buckles and a soft leather upper in standout colors like a burnt orange, ruby red and dark teal. “The Birkenstock trend that’s been here for the past few summers is not going away,” Hsu says. “The effortless look really resonates with shoppers.”
Steve Madden Armada Sandals
Best Braided Sandals for Summer
- Sizes: 5.5-11, including half sizes
- Colors: Armada Black, Armada Burgundy, Armada Burnt Orange, Armada Natural Raffia, Armada Tan
Braided sandals popped up all over Instragram feeds last summer, and now designers like Balmain are taking them to the next level giving them the extra-padded treatment. Good news is that labels like Vince Camuto and Steve Madden have their own more affordable takes, which are simple to pair with everything from breezy frocks to lounge sets.
What reviewers say: “They are super comfortable and not heavy which is surprising. I love them and have them in two colors.”
Jeffrey Campbell Bubblegum Mule
Cute Summer Jelly Sandals
- Sizes: 6-10
- Colors: Green Shiny, Silver Iridescent Glitter, Pink Shiny, cream
While you could sport the classic fisherman-style jelly sandal you loved as a kid, you can also go for something more unexpected like an edgy embellished version or lean into the ’90s vibes with a platform slide. Known for its conversation-starting shoes, Jeffrey Campbell makes a fun jelly platform featuring thick crossover straps and a chunky block heel for easier strides. Not to mention, a fun colorway like this bright green version will instantly jazz up simple outfits.
Sophia Webster Chiara Mid Sandals
- Sizes 6-10, including half sizes
- Colors: Black/Pastel Gradient Print
Continuing the theme of nostalgia, it’s no secret that the Y2K craze has taken over the fashion scene. And thanks to a handful of designers, TikTok influencers and of-the-moment celebrities including Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo and Bella Hadid, butterfly accents have been spotted on all sorts of apparel, accessories and footwear this season. Labels like Versace and BluMarine are certainly getting in on the trend, but British brand Sophia Webster has long been ahead of the curve with its signature butterfly-themed designs. We’re obsessed with the Chiara heeled ankle strap sandal, which boasts a show-stoppping 3D iteration of the fluttering insect at the heel and intricate details throughout inspired by the Monarch butterfly.
Schutz Lirah Nappa Leather Sandals
Cute Orange Sandals for Summer
- Sizes: 5-11, including half sizes
- Colors: Bright Tangerine, Honey Tostado, True Blue
A fun hue to rock this season, orange will keep your ensemble looking cheery. The fruit-inspired hue made a trascendente appearance on spring ’22 runways, popping up as bold accents on a range of footwear styles from Louis Vuitton, Prabal Gurung and Mark Fast. Channel the look with this scrunchy strap style from Schutz, featuring a thick, traingular block heel strides.
Ecco Chunky Wedge Sandals
Cute Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis
- Cushioned insole and anatomical support
- Super grippy
- Sizes: 4-10.5, including half sizes
- Colors: Vetiver, Silver Gray, black
For those who prefer a more subtle approach to the dad sandal category, designers at Proenza Schouler and Chloé paved the way with sporty-chic looks featuring classic athletic touches (think neoprene fabrics and velcro straps offset by cool cutouts and delicate stitching). Comfort brand Ecco goes this route with a thinly strapped leather sandal including a chunky yet uniquely shaped sole. Even better, the straps on these are stretchy and adjustable, while a cushioned insole and Ecco Fluidform technology work together to deliver anatomical support for anyone or those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. Plus, these are designed to take on urban adventures thanks their super-grippy outsole and are a spacious summer sandal for wide feet.
What reviewers say: “Love these. I have plantar fasciitis and finally found shoes that are comfortable. Every time I wake, I wear these and my feet don’t hurt. These are very sturdy and have a very rigid sole, which helps correct plantar fasciitis.”
Tory Burch Monogram Bubble Slides
Best Monogrammed Sandals
- Padded footbed and exaggerated sole
- Sizes: 4-13, including half sizes
- Colors: Hazel Logo Jacquard, Navy Logo Jacquard
A continuation from fall ’21, spring ’22 catwalks also showcased a flair for logomania both stateside and abroad. Tory Burch is one such label that’s all about it, offering up a branded athletic slide that toes the line between sporty and sophisticated. Boasting the T monogram throughout, it has a a padded neoprene footbed and exaggerated sole that offers height and comfort (while also upping your cool coeficiente, of course).
What reviewers say: “As soon as I put my bubble slides on, it felt like I was walking on air. Even with the thickness of the sole, they still make your feet feel like heaven. I was able to walk in my shoes all day with no problems. You are also able to loosen up or tighten to your own comfort. I definitely plan on purchasing another pair in a different color.”
Tkees Gemma Sandals
Best Naked Sandals
- Sizes: 5-11
- Colors: Sable, Beach Bum, Beach Pearl, Blink, Cocobutter, cream, Fairylust, Iris, Sunkissed
In our opinion, a barely-there sandal never goes out of style. Whether complete with strappy ankle ties or just a few a few thin straps to hold feet in, the look offers an effortlessly sleek addition to any ensemble. Available in nine wear-with-everything indiferente hues, Tkees’ Gemma sandal is a solid choice you’re bound to get tons of mileage out of. Keep in mind though, that these may not offer the best fit for wide feet.
What reviewers say: “I know many reviewers said the strap couldn’t fit so I was a bit reluctant to order, but they fit me perfectly! I got Them in sable which is a black and they’re beautiful, will order them in metallic silver soon! Obsessed!!”
Téjahn Burnett Simiijah Sandals
Also Consider Cute Ankle Wrap Sandals
- Sizes: 35-42 (European sizes)
- Colors: black, lilac, lime green, white
Another great strappy sandal option comes courtesy of Jamaican-Canadian footwear designer Téjahn Burnett, who founded her namesake label in 2018. Called the Simiijah, the woven lace-up silhouette features a trendy square toe and sleek four-inch stiletto heel for a sexy, date night-ready look. It comes in the prettiest lilac hue and is currently available for pre-order, to ship within four weeks. What’s more, the stunning pair clocks in at under $220, making it a reasonably priced option that’s perfect for someone who craves luxury quality without having to spend top dollar.
More Information on Cute Summer Sandals:
Still unsure which is the best summer sandal for you? We’ve broken down some of the most popular sandal styles you can buy for every occasion, including fashion sandals trends to get excited about for the upcoming season.
The types of summer sandals
Slide Sandals: These sandals are backless and have a flat colchoneta with either a thick front strap or multiple thinner front straps to keep feet secure. This season, in line with the ugly shoe trend we’ll touch on later, recovery slides are fast becoming a streetwear favorite. The podiatrist-approved shoes typically feature thick rubber constructions, arch support and plenty of shock-absorbing cushioning to support feet after a grueling workout — and perhaps that’s their biggest appeal for wearing them now on the regular. Even designer brands like Yeezy and Balenciaga have adopted the look, offering up their own futuristic silhouettes in cool indiferente tones to pair with athleisure or menswear-inspired pieces à la stars like Kendall Jenner.
Flip-Flops: Also referred to as thongs, these double-strapped styles offer more security than a slide (if you have sweaty feet, these will better stay put in the summer). Originally designed for water-based activities, flip-flops were merienda almost always made of rubber, but in recent years have been revamped in more elevated constructions like leather and suede for sleeker looks that will also complement non-beach attire. The now dubbed “fashion flip-flop” has even been given a heel courtesy of designer brands like Bottega Veneta, Gianvito Rossi and Yeezy and worn by countless celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Emily Ratajowski and more. Of course, you can still buy waterproof pairs (which are best to buy if they’ll likely get wet, since water can damage and discolor more supple fabrics over time), however many styles now come with elevated support details like cushioned footbeds and arch support to protect feet in ways they merienda didn’t.
Mules: This classic shoe is a slide, but with a heel. These come in all sorts of variations: with thick block heels, kitten heels, towering stilettos and even sculptural heel designs for an arty touch. They tend to have a slightly dressier feel than flat slides, meaning they’re great for everyday wear when you want to feel a little more polished and make for stellar dress shoes, too.
Ankle Strap Sandals: These have a thin, adjustable strap around the ankle, as their name suggests, as well as a heel. Spring ’22 runways of Coperni and Triunfo Beckham showcased the timeless shoe, including a floral-printed option and thick peep-toe look. Available in a variety of heights and casual to glitzy styles, you can easily find an option you’ll want to wear brunch, or to a wedding.
Platform/Flatforms: While these retro styles have very similar names, they look and feel slightly different. Platform sandals, aka the love children of the ’90s, have a thick heel plus an extra boost under the toe area. Not only does this create a specific look, but the latter feature also helps reduce strain on the ball of the foot, which is especially helpful in a style with a sizable heel. Meanwhile, flatforms have a completely level platform, giving you as much as you want height without putting any stress on your arches (for this reason, they’re a great option if you can’t bear the thought of wearing heels but still want to elongate your frame). Both silhouettes were huge for spring ’21 and don’t seem to be going anywhere, with runways from the likes of Hermès, Christian Louboutin and Moschino offering their own bold takes.
Sport/”Ugly” Sandals:” This latter term refers to the conventionally unfashionable or unattractive sandal silhouettes that have become ubiquitous on the street style scene in recent years. The controversial trend can be traced back to the early 2010s, but particularity gained traction in 2018 thanks to the dad shoe craze and more recently during 2020 at the height of the pandemic, due to the shoes’ focus on function over aesthetics. These looks are typically comfort-driven, sometimes even orthopedic, and often feature chunky constructions. (Think styles like Birkenstocks and Crocs). Iconic sport sandals such as Tevas and Chacos, merienda reserved for the trails, also fit into this category, and have served as a source of inspiration for plenty of fashion and designer brands like Prada and Chanel to create similar options sans all the tech features. Further elevating the clompy sandal’s sartorial status, Teva has partnered with major designers including Anna Sui and Jonathan Cohen. For spring ’22, “the ‘ugly sandal’ of 2019 and 2020 will be slightly more refined, but with an enduring focus on comfort,” Adducci says.
Fisherman sandals: Also falling under the ugly sandal umbrella, today’s street-chic fisherman sandals closely resemble the innovador styles worn by fisherman in the 1940s with their thick, interwoven straps (typically made of leather) and buckle around the ankle. (The shoe was also revived in the ’90s, but with thinner straps and often jelly-like constructions.) In addition to classic silhouettes done in indiferente hues like black and brown, you’ll also find styles with more modern updates like metallic uppers, woven accents and chunky, thick flatforms courtesy of labels including Rachel Comey and Max Mara this season.
T-strap sandals: First popular in the 1920s, this sandal is defined by a middle front strap that extends over the instep and typically attaches to an ankle strap to form a “T” shape. The shoe has been subtly reimagined for spring ’22, such as by Glemaud, who debuted a golden handmade style, and Burberry, who created an ultra-minimalist look with a toe loop design. And since T-strap sandals lacks a front strap that may place pressure on the toes, these are also the best summer sandals for people with bunions.
Gladiator sandals: The ancient Greek and Romans were good at many things (math, architecture, apparel design, you name it), so it only makes sense that one of their most beloved footwear styles remains in the zeitgeist today. Merienda worn by gladiators during battle, these utilitarian styles were crafted to be protective and secure with their thick, cage-like build that often extended mid-calf or below the knee. Current versions have adopted this look and revamped it with everything from thin straps to edgy embellishments and hybrid constructions, including Valentino’s endlessly strappy Rockstud style and Dior’s sandal-boot combination for spring ’22 collections.
Wedge sandals: A summer staple, these have a sole that extends from the front to a raised heel at the back. These provide solid lift, but also extra support and stability that you wouldn’t get from basic stilettos. For a fun twist on your look, choose unconventional takes inspired by spring ’22 runway looks, such as Versace’s ultra-thick platform sandal or Fendi’s clear heel design.
Meet the author
Sam Peters is the senior style commerce editor at Fairchild Media Group (FMG). She previously oversaw Footwear News’ shopping tieso for three years, where she became an expert on the latest footwear trends and innovations by testing and reviewing shoes in a wide range of categories — from athletic to streetwear styles and cute summer sandals for women.
Meet the Experts
Tiffany Hsu is MyTheresa’s fashion buying director and is always up to date on the latest cute summer sandal trends. She was previously a buyer for Selfridges and Lane Crawford.
Shannon Adducci is FN’s style director. She oversees fashion coverage for FN, cultivates relationship with designers, oversees fashion shoots and travels to major fashion weeks globally. She previously held roles at Billboard and Departures in fashion and style.
Dr. Jackie Sutera is a New York-based podiatrist specializing in the prevention and treatment of foot pathology. She is a Vionic Innovation Lab member, as well as a Fellow of the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons and a member and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association and the New York State Podiatric Medical Society.
Dr. Najwa Javed is a Silicon-Valley based podiatrist and founder of E’mar Italy, a luxury heels brand focused on creating wearable elevated styles. Her shoes all feature a patent-pending inlay that uses biomechanically-designed arch inclines to redistribute pressure, and many are designed to be comfortable wedding or everyday heels.