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Finally, the time to bare a little more sole is upon us, as blue skies tempt us into summer sandals. This season, there is, perhaps, more choice than ever before, thanks to the resurgence of the “fugly” designs, that we never thought would see the light of day again, yet now plan on buying in all available colours.
Ida Petersson, senior footwear buyer at Net-a-Porter, says: “Whereas high and mid-heel sandals have long ruled the runways, it was evident that with the move away from the platform and very high-heeled pumps, the same would happen on the sandal front.” And so it has. From pool slides to Birkenstocks, flip-flops to espadrilles, all flat, and all boasting comfort and practicality, this summer there is a sandal for every occasion.
What? Flat sandals featuring just one wide band, or two crossed, that you simply slide your foot into.
Who? Christopher Kane was the first to bring pool slides to the runway with his spring/summer collection in 2012.
Where? Everywhere. Marc Jacobs has the simplest design, even if it is metallic, Newbark offers embossed leather, two stripe pool slides and Adidas’s version in rubber features its signature trio of stripes.
How? The simple shape lends itself to endless looks, complementing a mannish trouser shape as well as a short dress. Embellished or in gold, they also lend themselves to evening wear as a welcome alternative to a strappy heel.
What? These have been inspired by the resurgence of Birkenstocks, a once ridiculed brand, formerly the choice of global travellers, the more mature, and those with orthopaedic issues. Though the flats with a moulded sole and buckles are still not conventionally pretty, they are cool, and would arguably win sandal of the season.
Who? Céline’s Phoebe Philo paid luxury homage to Birkenstocks last year, and this season Givenchy offers a flattering tribute with floral or metallic designs that have been strong sellers.
Where? While the original is best, every high street store has suitably inspired versions.
How? They must always look box fresh as anything less takes them too close to their hippie roots. Perfect with a cropped boyfriend jean or trouser, to flatter ankles.
What? The espadrille has risen from its origins as peasant footwear and crossed into the luxury market. This is not about the yummy mummy wedged espadrille but the flat, which is far more contemporary.
Who? This is a shoe with soul, thanks to Toms, which, for every pair of simple gap-year friendly espadrilles it sells, donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.
Where? Footwear designer Tabitha Simmons has collaborated with Toms on a collection, and has also launched her own colourful artisan version. Meanwhile, Chanel’s logoed pairs have been consistently selling out since they were introduced, and now go for up to £650 on eBay.
How? While drawstring linen pants are an obvious teammate, be more adventurous and wear with soft slouchy tailoring in an ode to the English countryside as seen through the eyes of designer Margaret Howell.
What? With all those straps, Velcro and thick rubber soles, these are not the daintiest summer shoes. However, just like their practical but unfashionable cousin, the Teva, they promise to be the comfiest, and they can deal with tough terrains, though an actual hike might be pushing it.
Who? Marc Jacobs and Prada have both made them an unlikely must-have, by recreating them in velvet or covering them in crystals.
Where? This is a sandal of extremes. You can opt for Balenciaga’s hiking-friendly version or choose Nicholas Kirkwood’s embroidered creations.
How? As the sportier style of the season, it is the perfect playful punctuation to casual day separates.
What? When we were children, these brightly coloured plastic shoes were ideal for racing around on beaches, without a care for what lay beneath. We grew out of them and they were forgotten, until this season . . .
Who? They have made a number of appearances on the catwalk and high street but it’s shoe designer Sophia Webster who has made us love them all over again with her styles in sugary shades.
Where? Topshop and Asos have an array of jellies but grown-ups should head for Valentino. Its Rockstud collection features “jellies”, though they may not be so beach friendly.
How? Avoid dressing like a child, so steer clear of Peter Pan collars, bows and polka dots.
What? The flip-flop needs little introduction but they do need a little bit of loving. Considered a beach holiday essential but often only picked up as a panic purchase at the airport.
Who? The traditional design is as popular as ever but this season they have been upgraded to delicate evening accessory, complete with beading, chains, studding and crystals.
Where? Havaianas, the original flip-flop brand, is the place to go for a daytime choice but Proenza Schouler, Giuseppe Zanotti and Aquazzurra all have fancy after dark alternatives.
How? Take your lead from the flip-flops; if they are simple, then let your outfit mirror that. If they are a little more special, feel free to create a look that matches them.
More of this week’s Style stockists