FEET MUST feel so grateful when late spring and summer come ’round. They can finally escape their cramped winter prison in closed-toe shoes and come out of hiding to breathe, stretch and wiggle. Favor these hard-working tootsies with an exfoliating pedicure to slough off dead skin and shape squished nails; apply lots of lotion to smooth rough patches and add a pop of scrumptious-colored nail polish to celebrate. You’re probably already on board with the care and feeding of your feet, but if you haven’t bought a new pair of sandals, you’ll find some surprises out there.
As the fashion world continues to embrace the sports world, Tevas (created by a Grand Canyon river rafting guide), yes, Tevas, have made a cute comeback with their velcro straps now in mismatched color blocks or covered in vintage fabric. Likewise, for Birkenstocks, once prescribed for foot pain. Now you can get a pair in trendy metallic leather. We surmise that as comfort becomes ever more appealing, fashion’s fondness for these utilitarian sandals is the continuation of its infatuation for the “ugly dad” sneaker.
On the other hand, from the likes of K Jacques, Bernardo and Need Supply, sexy, barely-there sandals with just a suggestion of straps holding down the foot also have their fans. In addition, traditional summer fabrics like raffia and straw, mostly just for handbags, are making their debut on sandals. And as for espadrilles, they’re now baring their toes.
Some suggestions for baring yours:
ABOVE: At a popular neighborhood bar and restaurant, I noticed a woman wearing these Arizona Soft Footbed Birkenstock sandals ($134.95, Zappos) with her white jeans. Shoes that I always thought were strictly for hikers, backpackers and crunchy granola types looked surprisingly chic. And comfortable. BELOW: Part of Clarks’ Cloudsteppers™ Collection, the sporty-looking Arla Glison Flip Flop, ($64.95, Nordstrom) has two layers of cushion, making you feel like you’re walking on air. And the red-and-white-stripe fabric couldn’t be more cheery.
LEFT: Ready for the lazy days of summer? Get into the vacation spirit by slipping into Zara’s leather animal print slides ($45.90), also available in black and white. RIGHT: These Trekky Sandals wrapped in vintage cotton bandanas upend the notion that rugged can’t be fashionable. $185, Matches Fashion.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Chloé’s “Woody” Logo Slide Sandal with a bit of a heel is made from layers of white canvas overlapped and printed with the brand’s label in bold black letters. A rubber outsole is a welcome nod to practicality. $350, Nordstrom. Counter the casual by wearing with a floaty skirt. Credit a Grand Canyon river guide who created Teva’s Original Universal Sandal almost 30 years ago. By adding two Velcro watchbands to an old pair of flip-flops, he made a shoe that wouldn’t float away. $49.95, Nordstrom. Jackie Kennedy favored Bernardos to wear with her black T-shirts and white pants. If it’s good enough for Jackie, well, then, what’s to argue? Lily Flat Thong, $98, Neiman Marcus.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT: Schutz’s Evenise Kitten-Heel Sandal with ultra-slim leather straps is sold out in honey beige, but it’s available and on sale for 50 percent off in neon pink or neon yellow or in metallic silver and gold for $80. Saint Tropez-based K Jacques is known for clean lines and understated design as in this soft pink Actium Metallic Suede Sandal, $282, Barneys. The straps on the ethereal Esmi Sandal can be moved around to suit your foot and style. The low heel’s functional rubber grip ensures you don’t slip-slide around. $180, Need Supply. Handmade in Morocco, these vacation-ready raffia Salah 30mm sandals easily slip on and off. $395, Farfetch.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: For those who like a little lift, elevate with Talbot’s Daisy Gladiator Microwedge Sandal ($89.50), which is also available in black, navy and sage green. Multiple straps keep your foot in place, which should please those with narrow feet. These leather Tenison Sandals from Vince offer a good middle-of-the-road solution for those wary of going whole hog with Tevas or Birkenstocks. Nice touch: a rubber sole sits under a jute midsole for extra cushioning. $195, Shopbop. Amalfi Platform Espadrilles from Soludos take a classic espadrille to new heights with a chunky platform and crisscross straps. And, they’re reduced to $93 from $155 at Shopbop.