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Not Your Grandmother’s Summer Sandals

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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]

Ariat Shalimar Sandal

Ariat Vero

[pullquote]Privo stylemark of cushy and light, combined with an attractive price point both hold true here.[/pullquote]

Privo Gali

[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]

Dansko Alize

Dansko Sela

[pullquote]The Fit Flops were surprisingly comfortable and didn’t flip or flop annoyingly.[/pullquote]

FitFlop Pietra

[pullquote]Teva’s more refined styles are still incredibly lightweight and perfect for a day of pounding the pavement.[/pullquote]

Teva Ventura Cork 2 Wedge

[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

Naot Esteem Cheetah Patent

[pullquote]These two Rieker styles  have “fake” buckles and a snap closure.[/pullquote]

Rieker Sondra

Rieker Women’s Vincenza 53 Sandal

[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]

Jambu Sicily Slingback Wedge

*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.

This article has 4 comments

  1. katie

    Great article and LOVE the shoes. Though I wish I could describe my summer days as delightfully beginning with giorno and ending with notte, they actually begin with schlepping to the neighborhood pool, then to the grocery, and end out back at the grill. My summer sandal of choice is one from Oka b. The bows withstand immersion in water, the heat of the sun and being squashed in a beach bag– all without wilting! Decidedly preppy rather than glam, they are cute with a beach coverup or sundress. They also provide more foot support than typical sandals. Check them out!

  2. Margo

    thanks, Katie, I can’t wait to check them out!

  3. Leslie

    You have me looking at brands I have not seen before. How did you know I was thinking about this issue every single day this week?

  4. Paz

    Very nice and comfortable-looking shoes. I could chose anyone of them.


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