Fashion & Beauty

It’s Sandal Season

By Janet Kelly

DO YOU hear that sound coming from around your feet? It’s your toes screaming, “Free us; we’ve been cramped in here for months.” Although weather forecasters predict a few cool days at the end of the week, it’s time to let your toes show. On just how to do that, designers were divided.

Some like Emme Parsons and St. Agni preferred the barely there look with only a whisper of a strap grazing the foot; others, including Birkenstock and Sorel, chose to buckle in or wrap feet with wide straps. For ground control, many added rubber outsoles.

As the saying goes, “you pays your money and takes your choice.” Here are ours, below:


If you live by the less-is-more motto, consider the minimalism of Emme Parsons footwear. One delicate nappa leather cord, a toe ring and a covered elastic secure the foot on this washed gold Susan Slide ($395). The lightly padded leather insole cushions the foot, while a 10mm heel gives a bit of a leg up.


A shiny, metallic-embellished toe ring distinguishes Zara’s thong leather sandals. A little height (one inch) and a contoured footbed add to the appeal of these attractively priced ($89.90) sandals.


Sorel, better known for its high-quality, sturdy snow boots, takes on summer footwear with the same utilitarian attitude. The company’s new Crisscross Slide with soft-on-the-skin leather straps, molded footbed, foam midsole and molded rubber outsole, combines sporty-chic with go-anywhere functionality. It sells for $120.



Sophia Webster, creative director of her eponymous brand, calls her new collection “Havanna,” and it’s designed for summer. Well suited to the season is her signature adornment: butterfly wings, which she often attaches to the heel of her towering stilettos. Much more down to earth is this Flat Sandal ($550) with a colorful butterfly design across the foot. Simple black straps entwine the ankle while a cork sole leans into comfort.


Designed in Melbourne, Australia and handcrafted by artisans in India, A. Emery favors a clean, pared-back look for its footwear as in these Shel Sandals with a thong design and a wrap-around-the-ankle leather tie. Not everyone will welcome a thong and/or an ankle wrap. You be the judge on what flatters your feet. These eggshell sandals sell for $210 at FWRD.

St. Agni’s “Twist” sandal is named after its minimalist straps that wrap the foot seductively in smooth leather. A rounded toe, molded footbed, rubber outsole and chunky silhouette spell comfort. In addition to this chocolate brown color, they’re available in black and white for $285.


The popularity of Birkenstocks escapes me. Flattering to the foot they’re not. And they’re not inexpensive. However, I do see the appeal of these Arizona Essentials. Modeled on the original, they’re made from a lightweight, flexible plastic that’s shock-absorbing and waterproof.  Wear them for beach outings and just hose off the sand. They sell for $49.95 at Zappos.



Despite fashion’s new embrace of flip-flops to wear with everything, my advice is stick to wearing them on the beach and around the pool. They’re not for all-day wear, as a podiatrist once told me when I mentioned I had worn them all summer and then complained about foot pain. That said, these Farm Parrot & Floral slip-on Haviannas will add whimsy to your swim wear. They sell for $38 at Zappos.


A happy medium between the minimalist strappy look and the heavy hardware of Birkenstocks, A molded footbed follows the shape of the foot and a rubber outsole gives the slip to slipping on J. Crew’s Colbie sandals, which sell for $198.


Fisherman sandals like these remind me of the shoes toddlers wear when they’re just learning to walk. Points in their favor are they’ll keep you well grounded; also they come in a variety of colors, including denim. My nod goes to silver. They sell for $125 at Anthropologie.


These Sangria stripe Weekend Slides with two wide cross straps in magenta and burgundy are made from hemp. Soft, sturdy, contoured rubber footbed in saddle brown, durable outsoles with welted details for added traction. And you can wash them. Whoopee! They sell for $139 at Rothys.


People with narrow feet will appreciate the back strap on these Crossover Buckle Sandals ($169, Massimo Dutti) for keeping their tootsies secure. Alas, they’re out of stock unless you wear a size 11. These are similar.


Grownup Girl Fashion by MyLittleBird

Fashion and beauty for women over 40. A Substack from the writers who bring you MyLittleBird.
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3 thoughts on “It’s Sandal Season

  1. Nancy G says:

    Just ordered a pair of fisherman sandals from Nordstrom. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the brand, but they’re comfy right out of the box. Padded insole, rubber sole, soft leather straps. And well under $100 on sale. Win, win, win.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      I don’t know how fond I am of fisherman sandals–it depends how they look on your foot. But I’ll take a look at Nordstrom and see what I find for well under $100!

  2. Carol says:

    Always on the lookout for new sandals and have always hated Birkenstocks. I understand they’re comfortable but so ugly… always need a new pair of white ones as I live in them. Got a pretty pair of Mauve bombas for a recent hospital stay, had a lot of compliments

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