The Best Summer Sandals

I’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling the past month, and I often get questions about the sandals I choose to take along. Admittedly I tend to have a favorite or two every year that I wear to their death.

Here are some of my go-tos, as well as some others that have caught my eye in case you’re still looking for a favorite of your own…

Madewell has made some of my all-time favorites. I’m on my second pair of Crisscross Sightseer sandals (which I first wrote about in 2014), and now I reach for these Boardwalk Crossover sandals all the time. They seem to come out with some variation of them every year, but the differences do mean that I like some iterations more than others. Right now, the crossover only comes in black and a darker brown. The Crisscross’s current cousin is the Boardwalk Ankle-Strap Sandal, which admittedly looks more on trend with its single wider strap.

Saltwaters remain the classic summer sandals (I grew up in these). They’re perfect for a beach day, because you can get them wet! I literally snorkeled in them in Bali (having worn them over the rocky shore) and then went back to wearing them around town and it was if they’d never seen the water. The leather stayed as soft and comfy as ever. In fact, it’s suggested that you wear them in the water to get the sizing just right (they’re almost always too snug at first). There are a lot of colors and size options, so be sure you’re ordering adult and not child sizing. (P.S. I like the look of this updated 900 series.)

PONS Avarcas are another classic option, handmade by the 3rd generation of the Pons family in Menorca, Spain since 1945. Lots of my friends swear by these; Cary recommends sizing down if you’re between sizes as the leather does stretch. Bonus: kids’ and mens’ sizes and styles, too!

I’d put them in a category with Huarches as a style of sandal I love but haven’t yet personally tried.

Lately, around town, I’ve been slipping into simple slides. A friend helped me get this pair from JCrew Factory (they don’t ship them to California). I also love the fun colors in this similar-looking pair from Anthropologie. And Able—a company with a great mission-statement—often sells a similar shoe in various patterns.

My “aspirational” pair has long-been a pair of Beatrice Valenzuela classic sadalias. I just can’t bring myself to spend the money, but I’ve heard great things about them.

Everlane makes some styles with a similar form-footbed and a similar look—and I’d love to try them on. These are the form crossover and there’s also the form three-strap. (Madewell’s take is called the Addie Slide.)

I’ve also heard great things about Beeks’ leather sandals which have molded arch support.

TOMs are a favorite of many, which come in both leather and vegan options. Their Sicily sandal seems to toe that line of sporty and dressy in a way that many are looking for in a travel shoe. It’s cushioned and adjustable.

Sorels are known for their functional boots, but have some really cute sandal options. The Ella comes in a lot of colors and would be great for lots of walking.

Best Sandals Birkenstock EVA Madrid

Finally, you might notice that most of these are lacking in arch support. I don’t terribly mind and have walked many miles in Madewells and Saltwaters, but I do love these super-practical EVA Madrid Birkenstocks (and I slip them on if ever my feet or back is tired).

What are your go-to summer sandals? 

P.S. The best basic t-shirts.

[Lead image from Madewell 2018, featuring the Boardwalk slide and gauze tie-strap jumpsuit (similar)]

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