Each year when the sun rears its hugely-anticipated head, it gives us the perfect excuse to treat ourselves to suitable summery wares. We’re talking pretty floral frocks and feet-exposing footwear.
After a long winter of hibernation - both for ourselves in lockdown and for our trotters - it’s time to free the toes from their confines for your annual summer sandal haul.
The biggest footwear trends of the season fall into very opposing camps and serve very different purposes. On the one side, we have the ever-popular dad sandals. Bigger, chunkier and flatform in nature, the style shows no signs of wavering and give a much-appreciated height addition for those who want or need it. Don for pub garden days, summer strolling and day trips.
At the other end of the shoe spectrum, the enduring 90s silhouette - the strappy sandal - shows the decade’s perennial influence in contemporary styling. These shoes are elegant, sophisticated and suit summer soirees as well as the return to office life.
Functionality in our new lifestyle is key. As we adapt back into the “new normal”, we need footwear that will keep up with our ever-filling social calendars and the spontaneity of our warm weather diaries when as soon as the sun shines, we want to be outside making the most of it. For this, you need flats or block heels that are comfortable, minimal and contemporary, able to adapt to any and all events that arise. Mix muted palettes with slight intrigue in style or even a pop of more daring patterns like zebra or fetching pastel blue hues.
Whether you are looking for something smart and tailored for your post-WFH wardrobe, espadrilles to invest in the optimistic hopes of foreign travel or something staycation-ready, we have gathered the best sandals for summer 2021.
Dear Frances Tye Slide
Designed to be worn year after year, these timeless sandals put a chic twist on fashion’s favourite slide silhouette. They are available in a range of colours but our personal favourite is the perennially chic and versatile black hue. The shoes are minimalistic in aesthetic with a knot detail and are crafted from a supple Italian leather with rubber soles.
Palma - Coral
For 2021, Rixo has extended its offering far beyond our favourite summer-ready dresses. The retro-inspired label is now offering both swimwear and a debut shoe line so you can fashion its wares from head to toe. The vintage style footwear collection has a slip on design, a slight heel and our favourite model is adorned with a playful hand cut flower design. With a focus on premium constructions, they are made in small runs to ensure the artisanal quality.
Ganni Recycled rubber sandals
Love them or hate them, chunky sandals are going nowhere. When it comes to our footwear over the last few seasons, bigger seems to be better, from our trainers to our summer soles. Ganni has tapped into the trend with aplomb offering these utilitarian-style shoes that come in green or black. They are crafted from recycled rubber with a contrast stitching for added intrigue.
Charles & Keith Cut-Out Flats - Chalk
At the other end of the shoe spectrum to the sandals above lives these minimalist models from Charles & Keith. With an Ibiza-style bohemian feel, they have a comforting neutrality to be paired with any and all of your warm weather wardrobe. The shoes are made up of a cut out design that comes in chalk, brown or black. Our favourite? The chalk is set on a contrasting tan sole.
Birkenstock Arizona suede flat sandals in pale blue
Alongside Crocs, Birkenstocks are up there with some of the most divisive footwear around. We think the Arizona iterations have a timeless quality that may even sway the most staunchly opposed among you. They have a slip-on construction, double straps and a soft pale blue design.
Reformation Mandy Minimal Block Heel Mule
For a shoe that will take you from day to night, boardroom to bar, LA-born label Reformation is offering these zebra print slip-ons that sit in the perfect balance between subtle and statement. You will be surprised at just how many outfits you can pair with the shoes, adding an interesting twist to monochromatic looks. The 90s-inspired design comes complete with a subtle heel and a sleek strap that is also available in white snake, tan snake and a covetable pale blue hue.
M&S Leather Flatform Flip Flops
Free your feet with M&S’ sophisticated take on a classic flip flop design. The shoes are crafted from leather with a padded flatform sole to ensure comfort levels during summer strolls. The top strap is available in white, black and tan, where the former two are set against a contrast tan sole.
Clarissa II Leather Strap Sandals
Classic and cool, Dr Martens will always be a fixture in our footwear collection come rain or shine. Swap your boots for something more weather appropriate with the brand’s gladiator sandals. In line with its signature style, they are chunky, crafted from waxy leather and are built to stand the test of time.
Melissa X Lazy Oaf Kick Off Heart Sandals Pink
Inject a more playful edge into your warm weather footwear collection with this collaboration between Lazy Oaf and vegan footwear label Melissa. They’re your childhood jelly shoes given a slightly (emphasis on slightly) more grown up feel. The shoes are made entirely from recyclable plastic with a platform and heart details across the strap. They’re also tutti-frutti scented.
Free People harbor flatform shoes in black
The roundabout nature of fashion has taken us straight back to the 90s with this flatform shoe that is giving us all sorts of nostalgia. Great for added height, while remaining comfortable, they have a wedge sole and a wide strap to keep them firmly on your feet. Dust off your bandanas and low-rise jeans to complete the look.
The Row Constance leather slingback sandals
The Row is beloved for its minimalistic, refined pieces that extends from its clothing to the shoes. In line with the brand’s DNA, these sandals have a barely-there feel that will bring an effortless elegance to any of your summer wares. They are made in Italy with supple leather. The shoes have a square toe and an asymmetric strap.
& Other Stories Leather Thong Strap Sandals
A staple part of your summer wardrobe, these strappy sandals will lay the groundwork to your warm weather wares. They have an androgynous feel and a minimal aesthetic that is versatile and stylish. The leather shoes have a squared silhouette and very slight heel. They come in white or black.
Sezane Gloria Sandals in Smooth Gold
Exuding elegance, these sandals are as ready for a night on the town as we are after a long winter in lockdown. They are made up of metallic leather, with thin straps and a block heel. While we are a huge fan of the easily-styleable glitzy gold, they also come in denim, brown, honey, camel, raspberry and sage.
Cos Leather Open-Toe Sandals
Clean, classic and elegant, these open-toe sandals have a tailored aesthetic for the fashion brave among you. Crafted from a buttery soft leather, we can see them paired with a floaty dress walking the street of Mykonos or else the Cotswolds if foreign travel is off the cards.
Teva Original Universal sandals in 90s colour block
Ever-wearable, you will be surprised at how these Teva sandals go with just about anything. Whether you adorn denim or dresses when the warmer weather hits, these dad sandals are embellished with vibrant hues and are super comfortable. Sitting firmly in the divisive trends section, they are adorned with bright and bold colours, but are also available in more neutral hues.
Mango Studded leather clog
Have you heard? Clogs are back. The SS21 were awash with the categorically comfortable shoe spotted at Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel. Tap into the trend without needing to take out a mortgage at Mango with this studded iteration - available in beige and black.
Castañer Kampala frayed canvas espadrilles
We may be unable to head off to far flung destinations this summer but that doesn’t mean that your footwear collection has to suffer. These summer-ready espadrilles are timeless that you’ll reach for year after year. They are made from a black canvas with jute rope toe-cap and rubber sole. They may not be the classic Chanel ones but they come extremely close.
Arket Chunky Leather Sandals
Designed to be worn all day every day, these chunky comfy sandals have a padded footbed and adjustable straps to customise the fit. Functional as well as fashionable, they have a chic croc embossing. The footwear is adorned with a three-strap construction - including one at the back - and can be paired as easily with a floaty dress as shorts and a tee.
Flat Sandals with Shiny Details
Not your typical slides, Zara has put a fun and feminine twist on the classic silhouette with a touch of bling. The high street hero has adorned the footwear with shiny detailing for a shoe that packs a real style punch.
Dune Loupe Smart Slider Sandal
In a rainbow variation of colours, the Dune shoes are back for another year. Inspired by Hermes’ sandal silhouette, these bestselling footwear bring instant sophistication to any look. They have a striking design with a cut-out front and contrast stitching.
Cat Footwear Progressor Buckle
Whether you like it or not, (grand)dad sandals are here to stay and Cat has launched a pair we want to get our hands on as soon as we can. The Progressor sandals have four adjustable Velcro straps set on a hugely comfortable foam sole. They are available in a range of colours including black, white and a vivid blue, yellow and red design.
Bottega Veneta BV Lido slides
Tired of the same monochrome colour palette? Mix things up with bluer and bolder hues in the form of Bottega Veneta’s hero sandal. Crafted from a sumptuously soft leather, they feature the signature Intreccatio weave and a squared front.