Types of Sandals: A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pair
We are well into the Summer and it’s hot out there. So, it’s high time to retire the boots and lace up those refreshing, airy sandals.
Sandals have been a popular footwear item for decades serving as a versatile accessory for both fashion and function. They come in a variety of styles, materials and colors making them suitable for different activities or occasions.
From Vibrant colors to traditional styles, the shoe market is booming at the moment. with hundreds of brands around the world innovating to produce new footwear models. Depending on what you like wearing heeled or flat sandals, there are plenty of options available to you but whatever your style is, it pays to pick up a pair of sandals that is specifically designed with particular features to feel more comfortable.
Modern sandals don’t just need to look good, they also need to have some benefits in terms of durability, convenience, arch support and breathability.
So we’ve compiled a list below of some of the most popular, functional and best types of sandals. Take a look at these styles and see which is the best pair for you. Enjoy reading!!
But Wait, What Are The Different Types of Sandals?
To put it simply, sandals are warm-weather footwear characterized by an open upper that is connected to the sole by one or more straps. These straps can vary in width, ranging from slender to substantial, and can exhibit intricate weavings or minimalist designs.
Sandals come in an array of heel heights, spanning from flat soles to towering 4-inch heels or even platform designs. Depending on their materials, construction, and overall shape, sandals can be suitable for anything from casual barbecues to formal black-tie events.
Being the epitome of summer footwear, sandals offer remarkable versatility. However, the multitude of options available can make finding the perfect pair a bit of a challenge.
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Factors to Think About When Choosing Sandals ☀️
When choosing sandals, several factors should be taken into consideration to ensure you find the perfect pair. Here are some key factors to think about:
- Arch Support: If you have high arches or require extra support for your feet, look for sandals with built-in arch support or consider using orthotic inserts.
- Cushioning: Consider the level of cushioning you prefer in your sandals. Some people prefer softer, more cushioned footbeds for added comfort, while others prefer firmer support.
- Activity Level: Think about your activity level and the specific activities you’ll be engaging in while wearing the sandals. If you plan on walking long distances or participating in sports, look for sandals with ample cushioning and shock absorption.
- Water-Friendly: If you’ll be spending time in or around water, such as at the beach or pool, consider water-friendly sandals made of materials that dry quickly and are resistant to water damage.
- Breathability: In hot climates or during the summer months, breathability becomes essential. Look for sandals made with breathable materials, such as mesh or perforated designs, to keep your feet cool and dry.
- Adjustability: If you have feet that are wider or narrower than average, or if you experience swelling, look for sandals with adjustable straps or closures that can accommodate your foot shape and size.
- Traction: For outdoor activities or slippery surfaces, prioritize sandals with good traction on the outsole. Look for textured or patterned soles that provide grip and help prevent slips and falls.
- Material Durability: Consider the durability of the materials used in the sandals. Some materials, like leather, tend to be more durable and long-lasting, while others may be prone to wear and tear over time.
- Heel Height: Consider the heel height that you find most comfortable and suitable for your needs. Flat sandals provide a more casual and relaxed feel, while higher heels can add elegance and elongate the legs.
- Budget: Determine your budget and consider the cost of the sandals you’re interested in. While quality and comfort are important, it’s essential to find a pair that fits within your price range.
- Personal Preference: Ultimately, trust your personal preference and choose sandals that make you feel confident, comfortable, and aligned with your style.
The 25 Different Types of Sandals: “Here are Our Top Picks of Footwear Items”
There are various types of sandals available, each with its unique design, features, and purposes. Here are some of the commonly found types of sandals:
“Types of Sandals for Women & Men”
#1- Flip Flops
When the Summer season hits, Sandals come out! Flip flops are the most popular sandal types during the hotter months and look great with any casual wear. Know for their minimalistic design, Flip flops are the perfect pick for a laid-back day at the beach or a quick run to the local grocery store.
They feature a Y-shaped strap that splits the big toe from the rest of the toes, providing an easy slip-on design. However as comfortable and casual as flip flops may be, they lack the support and security for long walks or rugged terrains.
#2- Gladiator Sandals
Can you wear Gladiator Sandals for more formal events? with the right sandals and outfits: Yes you can.
Many ladies love to wear Gladiator sandals made of leather or faux leather for a dressier event and that’s OK.
While Gladiator Sandals can often be quite casual, there are sophisticated designs that can suit for formal or dressier events, as well
Exuding an ancient Roman Vibe, Gladiator sandals are all about style and elegance. They feature multiple straps that crisscross up the foot, sometimes extending to the calf or knee while they may not offer the best support for long walks or hiking, they are a fantastic choice to up your style game at a summer party or a casual day out.
#3- Slide Sandals
As the name suggests, Slide sandals are easy to “Slide” on and off. They feature a wide strap that covers the top part of the foot. They also come in a variety of designs from sporty rubber slides to leather-crafted ones that can pass for a semi-formal look.
Espadrilles can serve as a great alternative to sandals in a business casual environment. They are breathable and comfortable thanks to their canvas or cotton fabric upper and a flexible sole traditionally made from esparto rope while they are commonly seen as flat shoes, there are also wedge-shaped espadrilles for a more elevated look.
#5- Birkenstock Sandals
Birkenstock, the popular German footwear, is recognized globally for its unique blend of comfort, durability and eco-friendly attributes. From its models, we can mention the “Birkenstock Sandals”:
One of the most comfortable piece of footwear included in our list. Featuring a contoured cork footbed that molds to the shape of the wearer’s foot, an EVA sole for cushioning, and two buckle-adjustable leather straps for a secure fit, these unique Birkenstock sandals are the symbol of extra comfort.
#6- Platform Sandals
Platform sandals are much like wedge sandals They are an excellent option for those who want to add some height without sacrificing comfort
The main advantage is that the elevation in platform sandals is uniform, with the same thickness from heel to toe; making them a stylish and comfortable option for parties or formal events.
#7- Wedge Sandals
If you’re looking for a sandal-like shoe that offers a bit more formality, consider a pair of wedges. Instead of a separate heel, the sole in a wedge sandal is in the form of a solid piece.
The main advantage lies in the distribution of weight across the foot making them a stylish choice for those who want the benefits of high heels without the strain on the arches.
#8- Jelly Sandals
Jelly sandals bring a playful and nostalgic touch to your summer wardrobe. Made from PVC or rubber, these sandals are waterproof, durable, and easy to clean, making them perfect for trips to the beach or pool.
Jelly sandals are available in a variety of vibrant colors and often feature fun embellishments or glitter for added charm. They are lightweight, flexible, and comfortable to wear. While they may not provide the same level of support as other sandals, they are a great option for casual outings or for adding a pop of color to your ensemble.
#9- T-Strap Sandals
Another sandal type coming back on the rise is the T-strap pair. It is a classy and versatile style that is perfect for wearing with any casual outfit especially if you are going for a pretty look.
They can be worn at casual outings, at the beach or even at semi-formal events depending on the material and design. Plus, the strap that runs down the foot provides a more secure fitting, making them more stable than flip flops.
#10- Peep Toe Sandals
For those who want to flaunt their pedicure while keeping the rest of the foot covered, Peep toe sandals are the perfect choice It’s an open-toe shoe style that consists of a small opening at the front, allowing the toes to “peep” through
Thanks to its distinctive and unique design, it can be worn for more formal events. It will just look cute and elegant if paired with dresses or skirts
#11- Sports Sandals
Heading for a beach vacation or planning for a picnic and wondering what to wear sports sandals are the way to go.
They are designed with rugged materials, thick soles and adjustable straps to provide an optimal support which is very important if you want to do outdoor activities like hiking, walking, running around, etc…
The fact that some of these sandals feature water-resistant properties make them perfect for beach outings or water sports.
#12- Slingback Sandals
These are another great option to wear with any casual outfit. They feature a strap that goes around the back of the heel or ankle, making them appropriate to be worn for both casual and formal situations. Plus, they offer a more secure fit than typical slip-on sandals, providing a more polished and professional look.
#13- Clog Sandals
If you’re looking for a pair of sandals that provide impressive durability and stylish versatility, clog sandals are a worthy contender
These sandals feature a chunky design with thick, often wooden soles and a strap across the top or back of the foot
Although they may seem heavy, modern adaptations use lightweight materials to provide comfort along with their distinctive style. For a boho-chic look, you can pair clog sandals with jeans or a summer dress.
#14- Mule Sandals
Mules are open-back shoes that are easily to slip on and off. They are an excellent compromise between the desire for an open, breathable shoe and the need to maintain a professional appearance
For a more formal look, you can pair your favourite trousers with a small heeled-pair
Mules come in a wide range of styles, flat, heeled, casual or formal, making them a perfect choice for different situations.
#15- Ankle Strap Sandals
As the name suggests, Ankle Strap Sandals feature a strap that goes around the ankle. This ankle strap makes sandals a more secure option. The straps can be thin and delicate, exuding elegance for a night out or thick and chunky for a more casual, daytime look
Ankle strap sandals can feature a flat, platform or heel base, making them appropriate for many occasions.
#16- Strappy Sandals
Strappy sandals are characterized by multiple straps that run across the foot, holding the sandal securely in place
These straps can either be simple and straightforward or complex and interwoven Strappy sandals can add a touch of sophistication to your outfit particularly when paired with tailored pants or dresses.
#17- Huarache Sandals
Huaraches are sandals with woven leather or fabric straps that create an intricate pattern across the foot. Originating from Mexico, these stylish and bohemian-inspired sandals have gained popularity worldwide.
Huaraches are known for their excellent breathability, comfort, and unique craftsmanship. They come in various styles, from closed-toe options for cooler climates to open-toe designs for warm summer days. Huaraches are perfect for adding a touch of artisanal flair to your outfits and can be paired with jeans, skirts, or dresses.
#18- Fisherman Sandals
Fisherman Sandals are a robust and functional type of footwear originally designed to protect fishermen’s feet from sharp objects and to prevent them from slipping on wet surfaces
They feature a T-bar running down the middle and a closed toe area. The rest of the sandal features a cage-like structure with various straps
#19- Thong Sandals
Known for their minimalistic design Thong Sandals are the perfect pick for a casual day out or a beach vacation. They feature flat soles with ankle strap for providing support and a secure fit. They can be styled casually or dressed up depending on the design and materials used.
#20- Greek Sandals
For those seeking a blend of fashion, history and comfort, the Greek pair of sandal is worth considering. Steeped in ancient culture, these Greek sandals are synonymous with minimalistic elegance
Its slender straps offer a more trendy appearance without compromising support and comfort
They usually feature flat soles with slender straps across the foot or sometimes around the ankle. They can be worn for a casual day or a beach vacation.
#21- Oofos Sandals
OOfoam™ technology is at the heart of every pair of oofos sandals. This technology is designed to reduce stress on your feet, knees and back, making oofos sandals the perfect choice for any individual looking for comfortable sandals
Oofos sandals come in a wide variety of styles whether you prefer the convenience of a slide or the secure feel of a thong sandal there’s an Oofos model for you. Plus, the design of these sandals is minimalist and versatile, allowing them to pair well with various outfits and settings.
#22- Recovery Sandals
Recovery sandals are designed to provide comfort and support to your feet after a strenuous workout or a long day of standing or walking
They can also be beneficial for individuals who suffer from foot or joint pain such as plantar fasciitis or arthritis They offer therapeutic benefits designed to facilitate faster recovery of your feet and lower limbs
These sandals come with features like arch support, cushioning, massaging footbeds and responsive foam materials, making them one of the best types of sandals out there.
#23- Dad Sandals
Dad sandals, also known as “ugly sandals” or “tourist sandals,” have gained popularity in recent years for their comfortable and laid-back style. These sandals often feature wide straps, Velcro closures, and chunky soles.
While they may not be the most fashionable choice, dad sandals offer excellent support and cushioning, making them perfect for long walks or outdoor activities. They are ideal for casual outings, summer vacations, or simply relaxing in comfort. Embrace the trend and rock a pair of dad sandals for a relaxed and effortlessly cool look.
#24- Crocs Sandals
Crocs sandals have made a lasting impression in the footwear industry with their distinctive design and unparalleled comfort. Originally designed as a boating shoe, Crocs sandals have evolved into a versatile option for various occasions.
These sandals are made from a proprietary material called Croslite, which is lightweight, flexible, and odor-resistant. Crocs sandals feature a roomy fit and often have a perforated upper, allowing for excellent ventilation.
#25- Waraji Sandals
Waraji sandals hold a significant place in Japanese culture as traditional footwear worn by samurais, farmers, and commoners alike. These sandals are made from woven straw or hemp ropes, providing a unique and rustic appeal. Waraji sandals were historically used as outdoor footwear, offering protection and grip on various terrains.
The craftsmanship involved in creating waraji sandals is meticulous. The straw or hemp ropes are woven together to form a comfortable and durable sole, while the long straps wrap around the foot and ankle to secure the sandal in place. Waraji sandals conform to the shape of the wearer’s feet over time, enhancing their comfort and fit.
Although traditionally associated with historical Japan, waraji sandals are still worn today for special occasions, cultural events, and festivals. They are particularly popular during the summer months when the lightweight and breathable nature of the sandals provides relief from the heat.
Waraji sandals are not only significant for their cultural value but also for their practicality. The straw or hemp material allows for good air circulation, preventing excessive sweating and discomfort. The woven design provides traction and stability, making them suitable for walking on various surfaces.
In modern times, waraji sandals have also become a fashionable and unique choice for those seeking footwear that showcases traditional Japanese heritage. They can be paired with traditional Japanese clothing such as kimono or yukata, or worn as a statement piece to add a touch of cultural flair to contemporary outfits.
Our feet are so precious, they bear the weight of our entire body and are always subjected to a significant amount of stress. So it’s our duty to maintain them comfortable as much as possible. Our feet need time to relax and recover. This recovery period is crucial to maintain overall foot health. The right type of footwear can help soothe our tired feet and promote healthy foot function.
Frequently Asked Questions – The Different Types of Sandals
Q1: Can Men Wear Sandals Too?
A: Absolutely! There are numerous sandal options available for men, including flip-flops, slides, sport sandals, and leather sandals. Men’s sandals often have a more minimalistic and masculine design, offering comfort and style for casual and beachwear. Some styles even have added arch support for enhanced comfort.
Q2: Which Type of Sandal is Best for Casual Occasions?
A: For casual occasions, flip-flops, slides, and espadrilles are popular choices. They provide comfort and a relaxed vibe that goes well with casual outfits.
Q3: Which Type of Sandals is Best for Beachwear?
A: Flip-flops are often the preferred choice for beachwear due to their easy slip-on design and water-friendly materials. They are lightweight, provide good traction on sandy surfaces, and are easy to clean. However, slides and gladiator sandals can also be suitable depending on personal preference and style.
Q4: What type of Sandals are Suitable for Hiking or Outdoor Activities?
A: For hiking or outdoor activities, it is recommended to choose sport sandals or hiking sandals that offer more support, traction, and protection. These sandals often have adjustable straps, sturdy soles, and may feature additional features like toe guards or water resistance. They provide comfort and stability while allowing your feet to breathe.
Q5: Are There Sandals Suitable for Wide Feet or Narrow Feet?
A: Yes, there are sandals available for various foot widths. Look for brands that offer specific width options, such as wide or narrow. Additionally, sandals with adjustable straps or stretchy materials can accommodate different foot widths and provide a better fit.
Q6: How do I Care for and Clean My Sandals?
A: The care and cleaning instructions may vary depending on the materials used in your sandals. It’s best to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific instructions. In general, you can wipe down sandals with a damp cloth or mild soap solution to remove dirt and stains. For certain materials like leather or suede, you may need specific cleaning products or treatments to maintain their appearance.
Q7: Can I Wear Socks with Sandals?
A: Wearing socks with sandals is a matter of personal preference and style. While it was traditionally considered a fashion faux pas, it has become more acceptable in certain fashion circles. If you choose to wear socks with sandals, opt for low-profile or no-show socks that are not visible above the sandal’s straps.
Q8: What are The Strap Sandals Called?
A: Strap sandals are commonly referred to by various names depending on their specific design. Here are a few terms used to describe strap sandals:
- Strappy sandals: This is a general term used to describe sandals with multiple thin straps that often crisscross over the foot or ankle.
- T-strap sandals: T-strap sandals feature a central vertical strap that extends from the toes to the ankle, creating a T-shape.
- Gladiator sandals: Gladiator sandals are characterized by multiple straps that crisscross up the leg, often reaching mid-calf or higher. They are inspired by the footwear worn by ancient Roman gladiators.
- Ankle-strap sandals: Ankle-strap sandals have a strap that wraps around the ankle, providing extra support and security.
- Slingback sandals: Slingback sandals have a strap that wraps around the back of the heel, keeping the shoe in place while leaving the toes and the top of the foot exposed.
These terms are often used interchangeably, and the style and number of straps can vary greatly among different sandal designs.
Q9: What are Open Toe Sandals Called?
A: Open Toe Sandals are typically referred to as “open-toe sandals” or simply “open-toe shoes.” This term describes sandals that have a design with an open front, allowing the toes to be exposed. Open-toe sandals are popular for warm weather and provide breathability and comfort for the feet. They can come in various styles, such as flats, wedges, or heels, and are available in a wide range of designs and materials.
Q10: Can I Wear Sandals for Formal Occasions Like Weddings or Business Events?
A: Sandals may not be the most conventional choice for formal occasions like weddings or business events, especially in conservative settings. However, some dressier sandals with elegant designs, embellishments, or made from high-quality materials can be appropriate for less formal or outdoor events. It’s essential to consider the dress code and the overall formality of the occasion before opting for sandals.