From Flat-Forms to High Heels: 40 of the Best Summer Sandals for Your Closet

by Jana-Lynn

Longer days and sunny weather only really points to one thing – the freedom from tights and closed toe pumps and a full embrace of straps of the freeing and easy sandal. By whatever means necessary, get those boot-battered toes ready for their time in the sun because your feet have a lot of cool sandals to try out this season. Here we’ve broken down the essential sandals you’ll need to breeze through these tepid summer months, by heel height.

Summer’s most popular silhouette is the flat/low-heel sandal. As the fundament of comfort and style, these shoes pair beautifully well with maxi dresses, sundresses, mid skirts, miniskirts, and our favorite denim cut-offs. Gladiator and fringe styles have been popular, as they often bring a bit more boldness and excitement to the traditional minimal look of flat sandals. An interest point of note is the resurrection of Birkenstocks and the “ugly sandals” over the past two fashion cycles. Phoebe Philo introduced her version of the cozy Birkenstock slip-on during the Spring 2013 Céline show, and the homely Birkenstock Arizona – the classic, two-strap style sandal long favored by hippies and European tourists – quickly became a staple in the closets of many fashionable women. After years of dealing with uncomfortable shoes which chafe our heels, squeeze our toes, and make the balls of our feet ache, I think we can all agree that slipping into a pair of Birkenstocks, or any of her “ugly” flatform sandals, has become a welcome respite. As Emma Morrison, a fashion assistant, was quoted saying, “There’s nothing better than a really pretty dress with an ugly shoe.”

  1. 3.1 PHILLIP LIM 'Martini' flat sandals - $199
  2. Aldo Tharesa Gladiator Sandals - $120
  3. Anna Baiguera Ankle Strap Flat Sandals – $72
  4. Birkenstock Arizona - $139
  5. Forever21 Lace-Up Wedge Gladiator Sandal - $28
  6. Gentle Souls Women's Breaking News Flat - $108
  7. Nine West Overtime Ankle Strap Flat Sandals - $60
  8. Restricted Easy Going Leopard Ankle Strap Sandals - $39
  9. Sand Dollar Natural Espadrille Sandals - $19
  10. Steve Madden Giaani Fringe Flat Sandals - $89
  11. Steve Madden Rillie Sandals - $60
  12. Topshop 'Feline' Wraparound Ankle Strap Sandal - $65
  13. Topshop Figtree Gladiator Sandals - $85
  14. Wanted Mello Pewter Flatform Slide Sandals - $49

On the heels of the revelation of how much we I love ugly shoes that are comfortable, it is my esteemed pleasure to introduce you to the mid-heel sandal. Following the backlash of those unsightly kitten heels and my assumed cognizance of your grandmother’s shoe collection, I can completely understand one’s apprehension towards accepting this shoe silhouette. But, as a continuous 9-5-er and lover of 4”-6” stilettos, I can confidently tell you that sometimes there are moments when you just need to walk for extended periods of time without sacrificing height or enduring discomfort. And nothing can fill that void better than the mid-heel sandal. These shoes will provide all day comfort and are cute enough to transition to after-work plans! Look no further than the chunky block mid-heel for daytime lift that's sturdy, versatile, and not too sexy for the office. And, in the event you can’t shake your meemaw’s closet from your mind, remember pairing mid-heel sandals with a shift dress creates a classic 1970s look or with a crop top and a pair of jeans for a casual and sleek look. If you prefer something more traditional, pair these shoes with a shirt and skirt for the classic girly look. There are so many ways for which you can never go wrong.

  1. Bamboo White Lug Sole Flatform Sandals - $33
  2. Gap Ankle-Wrap Wedges - $43
  3. Gianvito Rossi Leopard-Print Calf Hair Low-Heel Sandal - $905 (Tory Burch has a dupe for $325)
  4. H&M Wedge-heel Sandals $30
  5. Michael Kors Sandals - Beverly Buckled Mid Heel - $100
  6. Sole Society Georgia – $75
  7. Silence + Noise Sloane Heel - $59
  8. Shellys London Thawiel Leather Heeled Sandals - $58
  9. Sleek Show Black and Tan Wedges - $37
  10. Steve Madden Rosana Sandal - $100
  11. Tory Burch Thames Mid-Heel Wedge Sandal - $295
  12. Very Volatile Martel Black Leather Caged Heels - $99
  13. Viktor & Rolf Mid-Heel Ankle Strap Sandal - $1145

The last of the lot are the always adored stiletto heel. With heights ranging from four to six inches, this silhouette will quickly transform your summer dress or romper into an enviable item for a rooftop soiree. Continuing on the trend of the past 2-3 summers, muted shades and neutral colors are still a big hit. Proving themselves to be the true workhorse of one’s wardrobe, taupe, nude, and cognac heels in minimal silhouettes can be worn in a myriad of ways – allowing for more bang for your buck. In addition to flat-form and mid-heel trends that emphasize comfort and have become popularized in recent years, mules haves received a youthful makeover and are becoming popular in the under-60 crowd as well. Whether a wedge or sleek stiletto, the new mule is something you'll definitely want to slip into this summer.

  1. Calvin Klein Vivian Ankle Strap Sandal - $103 (Available on Amazon in various colors with prices averaging from $49-$69)
  2. Chinese Laundry Leigh Grey Kid Suede Booties - $149
  3. Giuseppe Zanotti Coline Ankle Sandals - $535
  4. Jeffrey Campbell Meryl Floral Heel - $180
  5. Jennifer Chou Valley Platform Wedge Sandals - $204
  6. Jessica Simpson Chandra2 Leopard Pony Fur Pointed Heels - $53 (Available in solid colors for $35-$90)
  7. Stir It Up Tribal Sandals - $59
  8. Not Rated Solana Taupe Peep Toe Caged Heels - $49
  9. Prada Wooden-Wedge Suede Mule Sandals - $276
  10. Schutz Nikky Gladiator Sandal - $380
  11. Steve Madden Fringly - $129 (Charlotte Russe has a dupe for $36 and LuLu’s has a dupe for $28)
  12. Topshop Rumour Snake-Effect High Sandals - $75
  13. Topshop Rare Metal Toe Sandals - $85

Photo: Shutterstock

Jana-Lynn is a lifestyle blogger and regular contributor of MyColoures. Follow her adventures on Twitter & Instagram (@BasedJane) and her blog ( for conversations on fashion, style, pop culture, love, and life.
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