Is there a sandal comfortable enough to take you from a morning museo to passaggiata**, yet cute enough to wear with your flirtiest sundress or dressy black trousers? Up for a Travel Belles challenge, I set out for Shoe Fanatic Nirvana, aka Shoes on a Shoestring in Albuquerque, to find out.[pullquote]**In Italy la passaggiata is the art of strolling around the center of town in the evening, perhaps stopping in somewhere for coffee, ice cream or a glass of wine.[/pullquote]
I’m not alone in my quest. The folks at Shoes on a Shoestring tell me that this time of year women come searching for that perfect shoe where form and function meet in preparation for their summer travels. And the good news is that, whatever your favorite style— slide, gladiator, thong, or wedge—this season you’ll be able to find it in a sensible-yet-cute version.
When looking for a great sandal that will take you from giorno to notte, consider:
- Fit, fit, fit. Don’t compromise here. If you have to “break them in,” they’re not your shoes. The straps especially need enough stretch to accommodate fluctuations during the day.
- When it comes to comfort, you’ll get what you pay for. Many options are available in the $75 to $120 range, and can reach beyond $200.
- Intrigued by the idea of those shoes that help you tone your legs and backside while you walk? Get in shape with them well before your trip.
- Gladiator style sandals are everywhere, and before you invest, make sure that you really like wearing them. The back part can literally rub you the wrong way, causing blisters or bruises.
- Not patient or dexterous enough for fussy ankle straps? Consider a brand like Riekers with a snap closures that make them, well… a snap to get into.
Here are a few options that meet at the intersection of comfort, cuteness, and cost:
[pullquote]Long sworn by as the comfort shoe of choice by many women with various back, leg and foot pain concerns, Merrell’s “stride-sequenced” cushioning technology absorbs shock and provides stability. [/pullquote]
Merrell Lotta Green
Women’s Merrell Alyssum
[pullquote]All of the Ariats I tried were so comfortable that they seemed to disappear on my feet. The contrast stitching on these two styles added a bit of interest and gave them a casual look.[/pullquote]
[pullquote]Privo stylemark of cushy and light, combined with an attractive price point both hold true here.[/pullquote]
[pullquote]Like the Merrell brand, Dansko has a very loyal following of women with various foot issues. I’ve found it’s best if I wear my Danskos every other day, alternating with something else, especially when travelling.[/pullquote]
[pullquote]The Fit Flops were surprisingly comfortable and didn’t flip or flop annoyingly.[/pullquote]
[pullquote]Teva’s more refined styles are still incredibly lightweight and perfect for a day of pounding the pavement.[/pullquote]
[pullquote]Checking in at the most expensive, Naots are made to last and are preferred by many women in need of firm, yet comfortable arch support that provides even weight distribution.[/pullquote]
Cymbal by Naot
[pullquote]These two Rieker styles have “fake” buckles and a snap closure.[/pullquote]
[pullquote]Jambu is the brand formerly known as “J-41,” and my favorite shoe discovery today. Very comfy and much more flattering than I would have ever guessed before trying on.[/pullquote]
*Disclosure: Each shoe described here is linked to Amazon via an affiliate relationship. Neither the writer or The Travel Belles has a relationship with Shoes on a Shoestring beyond just loving shoes, their innovative falling price markdowns, and weekly specials.