26 Cute Summer Sandals of 2021 – Footwear News

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Although it’s still firmly sweater and winter boot season, we’re already daydreaming of the warmer months ahead filled with bikini-clad beach trips and dressy backyard fetes. When temperatures do start to rise, you’ll need some cute summer sandals on your side. In fact, there’s no time like the present to invest in fresh pairs, so you can focus more of your time on all the summer activities you’ll be doing and less of it on trying to put together the perfect outfit.

What to consider when purchasing cute women’s sandals for summer

Finding the right summer sandals for you largely depends on what you’ll be using them for. For example, if you plan to wear them for water sports or hiking, more utilitarian styles like rugged sport sandals are your go-tos. These can also be worn every day, but if aesthetics are your main concern when shopping, you do have a lot more fashionable sandal options to choose from  — including chic slides, strappy silhouettes and even some modern leather fisherman sandals. When deciding about heel heights, it’s important to think of the level of comfort you’ll need. Are you able to tolerate wearing high heels generally? If not, skip them or go for a low block-heeled style. Do you plan to be on your feet for hours at a time, or will you only be standing for a little while? All these factors make a difference when looking for pretty and comfortable summer sandals. But whether you decide to go the heel route or not, you can’t really go wrong this season. “The high heel is coming back for 2022, and there will be plenty of statement styles to choose from,” says FN Style Director Shannon Adducci. “At the same time, a sturdy flat summer sandal will also continue to reign.”

Keep in mind, however, that not all summer sandals for women are made the same, and you may need to seek out ones that offer extra underfoot support. And for anyone who suffers from conditions like plantar fasciitis or flat feet, choosing the most comfortable sandals with enhanced support features like arch support and deep heel cups to reduce side to side motion is especially important.

We took it upon ourselves to compile 26 cute summer sandals that belong in your wardrobe stat. From budget-friendly options to lust-worthy designer splurges, there’s a sandal style here to fit every occasion and budget.

Sikelo Cushioned Slides

Best Fashionable Recovery Sandals

These plush beauties should feel just as good on as they look. A great recovery slide, these Sikelo pillow slides have a thick, trendy platform with an EVA footbed to support your every step (even if it’s just from the bed to your WFH office). Priced at an accessible $16, this Amazon bestseller is also extremely lightweight and waterproof, which means it doubles as a great travel and/or shower shoe. Copy the designer aesthetic from brands like Yeezy and Balenciaga by opting for the style in a neutral hue, or go for something sunnier to make outfits pop.


Sikelo Cushioned Slides

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Sorel Cameron Flatform Sandal

Cute Flatform Sandals

Runways at Givenchy, Schiaparelli and Vivienne Westwood all made a case for towering flatforms. Although they appeared in the form of heavy boots, the addition is just as bold, yet more summer-ready done in a breezy, strappy sandal. Sorel’s espadrille-style Cameron sandal certainly fits the bill. Plus it’s built for elevated comfort — including an EVA foam footbed, adjustable velcro ankle strap and the brand’s signature rubber toothed outsole with grip — to please shoppers who also crave reliable support 24/7.


Sorel Cameron Flatform Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


A New Day Rory Padded Slide Sandals

Best Affordable Puffy Sandals

With their invitingly cushy vibes, sandals with padded uppers and soles were an obvious trend to emerge from Covid era. “They’re easy to wear and very comfortable,” says Tiffany Hsu, MyTheresa’s fashion buying director. “They work well with a relaxed suits or more minimalist looks.” And considering comfort remains a top priority for many of us these days, the sandal style is still quite relevant. These easy-breezy cross-band slides from Target are ideal to slip on for running errands, grabbing brunch and more. And priced at under $20, these affordable cute sandals can be scooped up guilt-free in a few colorways to match your entire closet.


A New Day Rory Padded Slide Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of Target


Topshop Reuben Padded Mules

Best Heeled Puffy Sandals

If you love the puffy look but crave a bit more height, try TopShop’s Reuben mule. Alongside their pillow-like straps, they boast plenty of artful details including a chic set-back heel, subtle toe loop accent and squared-off toe. Their pretty lilac hue is also a nice alternative to classic black and brown styles you’ll likely see everywhere.


Topshop Reuben Padded Mule

CREDIT: Courtesy of Asos


Franco Sarto Jonas Platform Flip-Flop Sandals

Best Fashion Flip-Flops

Not your average flip-flop, this summer white sandal by Franco Sarto is made street-ready done in sleek leather with asymmetrical straps and a flatform base. Meaning, it looks fabulous and gives you a height boost without killing your arches in the process. It’s the perfect cute sandal to pair with all your breezy dresses.


Franco Jonas Platform Flip Flop Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of DSW


The Attico Devon Sandals

Fashionable Mules

“Another sure new-season winner are ’90s mules,” Hsu says. “They can be seem in many forms  —  with a low or high heel, or done in plexi or neon  — and are the summer must-have that can be dressed up with a cute mini or down with a pair of jeans and a white shirt.” Finished with a tall triangular heel and vibrant pink satin finish, these cute mule sandals from The Attico make the ultimate party pick or everyday standout accessory.


The Attico Devon Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of MyTheresa


Raye Chain Sandals

Cute Chain-Embellished Summer Sandals

For spring ’22, Tom Ford, Balmain and Chanel all proved that heavy chain accents on footwear are here to stay. Showcasing the trend, this minimal style from Raye is ideal for the girl who loves a cute flat sandal that’s super versatile but also quite elegant. Wear it to elevate casual combos or complement evening outfits in place of heels — either way, you win.


Raye Chain Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Revolve


Ganni Teva Recycled Multi-Grip Sporty Sandals

Best Hiking-Inspired Sandals for Summer

Cult-favorite Danish label Ganni teamed up with the OG ugly sandal brand, Teva, on this thick-soled shoe that will fit right in with the uber-cool set. Done in edgy all-black with contrast stitching, these designer summer sandals also feature velcro straps that amp up the dad shoe-effect. And, continuing the brand’s commitment to sustainability, the silhouette is eco-friendly, as it’s partially made with recycled rubber.

You could probably take these out for a spin on the trail, but on super technical/muddy terrain, we suggest choosing a real performance-driven hiking sandal.


Ganni Teva Recycled Multi-Grip Sporty Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of MyTheresa


Teva Original Universal Sandals

Best Athletic Summer Sandals

Speaking of technical pairs, we’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t include Teva’s cult-classic Universal sandal on our list. These fashionable comfortable sandals are ready to take on any city or off-road excursion with their secure velcro straps, plush yet lightweight EVA midsole and rugged outsole with superb grip. They also feature a quick-drying webbing made from recycled plastic, making them great to wear for water sports and an eco-friendly choice to boot. (To note, they come in a rainbow of colors, but the fashion crowd seems to favor the pair done in monochrome white or black for a slightly more refined look.)


Teva Original Universal Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Good American Cinder-F*cking-Rella Wedges

Cute Summer Wedge Sandals

Just in case you can’t get enough of all the ’90s fads that are coming back en vogue, you’ll be happy to hear wedges are having a major moment. But, this season’s versions trade classic shapes and constructions for asymmetrical forms and unexpected materials. Good American’s playfully-titled summer wedge sandals are a quintessential example, offering a set-back lucite wedge heel, thin strappy ankle ties and a sharply pointed footbed. According to the brand, the pair’s cloud foam cushioning also makes these comfortable enough to wear for hours on end.


Good American Cinder-F*cking-Rella Wedge

CREDIT: Courtesy of Good American


Saint Laurent Cassandra Logo Toe Ring Sandal

Best T-Strap Sandals

Anyone who’s willing to splurge this summer will find a worthy investment in Saint Laurent Cassandra’s sandal. The luxe made-in Italy style hits on the T-strap trend with contemporary twists like logo-ed hardware and a toe ring embellishment. Plus, its supple leather finish should last you ages.


Saint Laurent Cassandra Logo Toe Ring Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom


Stuart Weitzman Kora Lace-Up Gladiator Sandals

Best Gladiator Sandals for Summer

As we mentioned before, gladiator sandals are back. While these aren’t for the faint of heart, they’ll look quite edgy with some distressed cutoffs or create a pleasing contrast in your look when paired with a floral frock. We love this cute brown lace-up sandal from Stuart Weitzman, which offers a slightly easier way to dip your toe into the trend thanks its modern square toe finish and more minimal silhouette.


Stuart Weitzman Kora Lace-Up Gladiator Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom


Chinese Laundry Daydreamer Platform Sandal

Best Platform Sandals

This classic platform sandal from Chinese Laundry will look stunning with nearly any casual frock or wedding guest attire. While it’s got plenty of height thanks to its 4.5-inch block heel (“The rule with this trend is the higher the better,” says Hsu), its thick platform gives you some stability for busting moves on the dance on the floor. A cushioned footbed also helps keep feet happy.


Chinese Laundry Daydreamer Platform Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom


The Row Fisherman Sandals

Best Fisherman Summer Sandals

Fashion-favorite label The Row makes a fisherman sandal that’s sure to be a staple for everyone looking to adopt one of this season’s most nostalgic looks. Offering thick straps made of calfskin leather, secure buckled details and a slightly raised sole, these pair well with A-line midi dresses as well as cuffed trouser and tee combos.


The Row Fisherman Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of MyTheresa


Birdies the Robin Faux Fur

Best Furry Slides

Furry footwear doesn’t only belong in the slipper category anymore. Both designers and influencers agree that fuzzy styles, albeit with a sturdy sole, should be taken to the streets (after all, who doesn’t want to enjoy blanket-like comfort wherever they go?) Luxe flats brand Birdies makes a great comfortable sandal option for those cooler summer afternoons and nights. Called the Robin, it’s complete with thick faux fur straps, a soft microfiber insole and dual-density molded footbed for all-day support. Oh, and did we mention the shoe is vegan, too?


Birdies the Robin Faux Fur

CREDIT: Courtesy of Birdies


Marc Fisher Dalida Strappy Sandal

Strappy sandals have long been popular, but this season’s take offer an intriguing new interpretation of the trend. As evident in the collections of Saint Laurent, Versace and Acne Studios, the theme is multiple thin straps stacked from ankle to toe. We’re currently eyeing these metallic dress sandals from Marc Fisher that adopt the look and are an easy companion to elegant frocks or split-hem trousers for a sleek evening getup.


Marc Fisher Dalida Strappy Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom


Manembi Ibiza Slides

Cute Fringe Summer Sandals

Fringe added intriguing dimension to everything from skirt hemlines courtesy of Jonathan Simkhai and Gabriela Hearst to Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s heeled sandals on spring ’22 runways. To shop the look now, try these colorful fringe slides from Milan-based brand Manembi. They’re handmade with natural fibers to ensure breathability, so you can comfortably take these from day to night while looking enviably festive.

 


Manembi Ibiza color-block fringed satin slides

CREDIT: Courtesy of The Outnet


Charles & Keith Sculptural Heel Sandals

Best Sculptural Sandals

Jonathan Anderson showcased perhaps some of the most unique heels for Loewe’s spring ’22 line, including black leather sandals with a pink birthday candle and red nail polish bottle design for a heel. Follow his lead and go for an architectural style, like this pretty summer sandal from Charles & Keith featuring a gemstone-like accessory, to truly make a statement at any event on your summer calendar.


Charles & Keith Sculptural Heel Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of Charles & Keith


Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandal

Best Cute Sandals With Arch Support

Thousands of customers and our own editors agree that Birkenstock sandals are some of the most comfortable shoes you can buy, period. Complete with the brand’s signature adjustable straps and contoured footed with arch support, the Arizona is one of the brand’s most iconic silhouettes and a superb summer sandal for walking. In addition to classic finishes, it comes in a variety of elevated styles for those who crave something a bit more polished. Case in point: This version including elegant gold buckles and a soft leather upper in standout colors like a burnt orange, ruby red and dark teal. “The Birkenstock trend that’s been here for the past few summers is not going away,” Hsu says. “The effortless look really resonates with shoppers.”


Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Amazon


Steve Madden Marina Sandals

Best Braided Sandals for Summer

Braided sandals popped up all over Instragram feeds last summer, and now designers like Balmain are taking them to the next level giving them the extra-padded treatment. Good news is that labels like Vince Camuto and Steve Madden have their own more affordable takes, which are simple to pair with everything from breezy frocks to lounge sets.


Steve Madden Marina Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Steve Madden


Jeffrey Campbell Jelli Platform Slide Sandals

Best Jelly Sandals

While you could sport the classic fisherman-style jelly sandal you loved as a kid, you can also go for something more like untraditional like an edgy embellished version or platform slide. Known for its conversation-starting shoes, Jeffrey Campbell makes an uber-chic jelly platform featuring a curved sole and chunky, flared heel. Not to mention, the clear style is great for making your summer manicure really pop.


Jeffrey Campbell Jelli Platform Slide Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom


Sophia Webster Chiara Butterfly Embroidered Stiletto Sandals

Continuing the theme of nostalgia, it’s no secret that the Y2K craze has taken over the fashion scene. And thanks to a handful of designers, TikTok influencers and of-the-moment celebrities including Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo and Bella Hadid, butterfly accents have been spotted on all sorts of apparel, accessories and footwear this season. Labels like Versace and BluMarine are certainly getting in on the trend, but British brand Sophia Webster has long been ahead of the curve with its signature butterfly-themed designs. We’re obsessed with the Chiara heeled ankle strap sandal, which boasts a show-stoppping 3D iteration of the fluttering insect at the heel and intricate details throughout inspired by the Monarch butterfly.


Sophia Webster Chiara Butterfly Embroidered Stiletto Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of Neiman Marcus


Lulus Leylia Mango Orange High Heel Sandals

Best Orange Sandals for Summer

A fun hue to rock this season, orange will keep your ensemble looking cheery. The fruit-inspired hue made a notable appearance on spring ’22 runways, popping up as bold accents on a range of footwear styles from Louis Vuitton, Prabal Gurung and Mark Fast. Channel the look with this dainty pair from Lulus, featuring a low block heel for easier strides.


Lulus Leylia Mango Orange High Heel Sandals

CREDIT: Courtesy of Lulus


Ecco Chunky Wedge Sandals

Best Cute Sandals for Plantar Fasciitis

For those who prefer a more subtle approach to the dad sandal category, designers at Proenza Schouler and Chloé paved the way with sporty-chic looks featuring classic athletic touches (think neoprene fabrics and velcro straps offset by cool cutouts and delicate stitching). Comfort brand Ecco goes this route with a thinly strapped leather sandal including a chunky yet uniquely shaped sole. Even better, the straps on these are stretchy and adjustable, while a cushioned insole and Ecco Fluidform technology work together to deliver anatomical support for anyone or those who suffer from plantar fasciitis. Plus, these are designed to take on urban adventures thanks their super-grippy outsole and are a spacious summer sandal for wide feet.

 


Ecco Chunky Wedge Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Nordstrom


Tory Burch Monogram Bubble Slides

Best Monogrammed Sandals

A continuation from fall ’21, spring ’22 catwalks also showcased a flair for logomania both stateside and abroad. Tory Burch is one such label that’s all about it, offering up a branded athletic slide that toes the line between sporty and sophisticated. Boasting the T monogram throughout, it has a a padded neoprene footbed and exaggerated sole that offers height and comfort (while also upping your cool factor, of course).


Tory Burch Monogram Bubble Slide

CREDIT: Courtesy of Tory Burch


Tkees Gemma Sandals

Best Naked Sandals

In our opinion, a barely-there sandal never goes out of style. Whether complete with strappy ankle ties or just a few a few thin straps to hold feet in, the look offers an effortlessly sleek addition to any ensemble. Available in nine wear-with-everything neutral hues, Tkees’ Gemma sandal is a solid choice you’re bound to get tons of mileage out of.


Tkees Gemma Sandal

CREDIT: Courtesy of Zappos

More Information on Cute Summer Sandals:

Still unsure which is the best summer sandal for you? We’ve broken down some of the most popular sandal styles you can buy for every occasion, including fashion sandals trends to get excited about for the upcoming season.

The types of summer sandals

Slides: These sandals are backless and have a flat base with either a thick front strap or multiple thinner front straps to keep feet secure. This season, in line with the ugly shoe trend we’ll touch on later, recovery slides are fast becoming a streetwear favorite. The podiatrist-approved shoes typically feature thick rubber constructions, arch support and plenty of shock-absorbing cushioning to support feet after a grueling workout — and perhaps that’s their biggest appeal for wearing them now on the regular. Even designer brands like Yeezy and Balenciaga have adopted the look, offering up their own futuristic silhouettes in cool neutral tones to pair with athleisure or menswear-inspired pieces à la stars like Kendall Jenner.

Flip-Flops: Also referred to as thongs, these double-strapped styles offer more security than a slide (if you have sweaty feet, these will better stay put in the summer). Originally designed for water-based activities, flip-flops were once almost always made of rubber, but in recent years have been revamped in more elevated constructions like leather and suede for sleeker looks that will also complement non-beach attire. The now dubbed “fashion flip-flop” has even been given a heel courtesy of designer brands like Bottega Veneta, Gianvito Rossi and Yeezy and worn by countless celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Emily Ratajowski and more. Of course, you can still buy waterproof pairs (which are best to buy if they’ll likely get wet, since water can damage and discolor more supple fabrics over time), however many styles now come with elevated support details like cushioned footbeds and arch support to protect feet in ways they once didn’t.

Mules: This classic shoe is a slide, but with a heel. These come in all sorts of variations: with thick block heels, kitten heels, towering stilettos and even sculptural heel designs for an arty touch. They tend to have a slightly dressier feel than flat slides, meaning they’re great for everyday wear when you want to feel a little more polished and make for stellar dress shoes, too.

Ankle Strap Sandals: These have a thin, adjustable strap around the ankle, as their name suggests, as well as a heel. Spring ’22 runways of Coperni and Victoria Beckham showcased the timeless shoe, including a floral-printed option and thick peep-toe look. Available in a variety of heights and casual to glitzy styles, you can easily find an option you’ll want to wear brunch, or to a wedding.

Platform/Flatforms: While these retro styles have very similar names, they look and feel slightly different. Platform sandals, aka the love children of the ’90s, have a thick heel plus an extra boost under the toe area. Not only does this create a specific look, but the latter feature also helps reduce strain on the ball of the foot, which is especially helpful in a style with a sizable heel. Meanwhile, flatforms have a completely level platform, giving you as much as you want height without putting any stress on your arches (for this reason, they’re a great option if you can’t bear the thought of wearing heels but still want to elongate your frame). Both silhouettes were huge for spring ’21 and don’t seem to be going anywhere, with runways from the likes of Hermès, Christian Louboutin and Moschino offering their own bold takes.

Sport/”Ugly” Sandals:” This latter term refers to the conventionally unfashionable or unattractive sandal silhouettes that have become ubiquitous on the street style scene in recent years. The controversial trend can be traced back to the early 2010s, but particularity gained traction in 2018 thanks to the dad shoe craze and more recently during 2020 at the height of the pandemic, due to the shoes’ focus on function over aesthetics. These looks are typically comfort-driven, sometimes even orthopedic, and often feature chunky constructions. (Think styles like Birkenstocks and Crocs). Iconic sport sandals such as Tevas and Chacos, once reserved for the trails, also fit into this category, and have served as a source of inspiration for plenty of fashion and designer brands like Prada and Chanel to create similar options sans all the tech features. Further elevating the clompy sandal’s sartorial status, Teva has partnered with major designers including Anna Sui and Jonathan Cohen. For spring ’22, “the ‘ugly sandal’ of 2019 and 2020 will be slightly more refined, but with an enduring focus on comfort,” Adducci says.

Fisherman sandals: Also falling under the ugly sandal umbrella, today’s street-chic fisherman sandals closely resemble the original styles worn by fisherman in the 1940s with their thick, interwoven straps (typically made of leather) and buckle around the ankle. (The shoe was also revived in the ’90s, but with thinner straps and often jelly-like constructions.) In addition to classic silhouettes done in neutral hues like black and brown, you’ll also find styles with more modern updates like metallic uppers, woven accents and chunky, thick flatforms courtesy of labels including Rachel Comey and Max Mara this season.

T-strap sandals: First popular in the 1920s, this sandal is defined by a middle front strap that extends over the instep and typically attaches to an ankle strap to form a “T” shape. The shoe has been subtly reimagined for spring ’22, such as by Glemaud, who debuted a golden handmade style, and Burberry, who created an ultra-minimalist look with a toe loop design. And since T-strap sandals lacks a front strap that may place pressure on the toes, these are also the best summer sandals for people with bunions.

Gladiator sandals: The ancient Greek and Romans were good at many things (math, architecture, apparel design, you name it), so it only makes sense that one of their most beloved footwear styles remains in the zeitgeist today. Once worn by gladiators during battle, these utilitarian styles were crafted to be protective and secure with their thick, cage-like build that often extended mid-calf or below the knee. Current versions have adopted this look and revamped it with everything from thin straps to edgy embellishments and hybrid constructions, including Valentino’s endlessly strappy Rockstud style and Dior’s sandal-boot combination for spring ’22 collections.

Wedge sandals: A summer staple, these have a sole that extends from the front to a raised heel at the back. These provide solid lift, but also extra support and stability that you wouldn’t get from basic stilettos. For a fun twist on your look, choose unconventional takes inspired by spring ’22 runway looks, such as Versace’s ultra-thick platform sandal or Fendi’s clear heel design.



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