The endless search for summer sandals

by Ashley on June 1, 2011


Every year, it seems, I find myself searching for the perfect summer sandals. Oddly, the pair that I seem forever trying to replace was a $16 pair from Payless! After Aron’s resuccitation efforts failed (the lovely fellow tried surgically stitching them back to life), I’ve spent untold riches in search of their equal. This year, a growing belly brings new challenges.

As my due date draws nearer and the number on the scale climbs, my feet have started killing me! None of my favorite sandals (e.g. my salt water sandals or my gladiators) are cutting it. Here’s the goal: a non-sporty, stylish sandal that’s also comfortable enough for the demands of walking in New York (at minimum, 2-3 miles each day).

I have a pair of dansko clogs that are quite nice, but they come with two caveats: they’re very tall, and they’re suede-lined. In my mind, the perfect summer sandal cannot be suede-lined. They get too dirty too easily, and they become slippery and gross when it rains (which is often during the summer). This unfortunately (and to my utter bafflement) rules out most comfortable sandals!

Naturalizer had a favorite option, though it came with a suede foot bed. Clarks and Born make some great options, though let’s be honest: most of them look like “comfort shoes.” Still, there are some non-suede-lined possibilities there.

So far I have home some faux Birkenstocks, which I’m loving for standing around (not as much for walking), especially because they slip on, and I’ve tried adding insoles to my saltwater flats. And I’ve been considering trying out Tom’s–though they aren’t actually sandals. But I may have finally found an option that meets both my style and comfort criteria (if still slightly short on arch support): Easy Spirit Remi sandals. They look like gladiators, go as well with a dress as with pants, are designed with comfort in mind (soft leather) but skip the suede, and they have a velcro closure that means less time trying to bend over and buckle my shoe (also key)!

Who makes your pick for best (comfy, stylish, pregnancy approved) summer sandals?

[Pictured: Remi by Easy Spirit]

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronika June 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

Hello, Ashley, greetings from Prague and happy holiday to all the kids for their International Day of Children today.
I have been thinking about the shoes/sandals… and the safety/comfort/style and I belive the brand ‘Scholl’ should deliver according these requirements. Regards, Veronika

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:27 am

Thanks for the tip, Veronika! (And all the way from Prague! … a city I can’t wait to visit.)

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Jill June 1, 2011 at 10:04 am

I cannot fit my feet into anything except Old Navy flips and while I thought those would be fine for the last few weeks… Those few weeks aren’t ending and embarressingly enough, I’ve had to sport them at a funeral, shower and multiple other places that I would rather wear something else. Oh well… it will be over with soon.

I understand the swelling that I’m experiencing in my feet won’t go away (right away) but it will over time. So flips it is……

Good luck on your search! How annoying!

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:28 am

I cannot believe how soon, Jill! I can’t wait to see your little one’s snapshot! Good luck with the swelling… not fun.

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Clare June 1, 2011 at 10:14 am

All you want is comfort, how hard can it be hey? I wore a pair of leather ‘flip-flop’ style sandals all summer last year while I was pregnant, so much so, that I have had to throw them out and I can’t find the same pair for sale anymore.

They were so comfortable, like slippers and I could just slip them on and off with no fastening, bliss! Good luck with the new pair!

The way I saw it, it’s better to be having to put sandals on when heavily pregnant than have to bother putting socks and boots on everyday – killer!

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

I suppose that’s true! I’m so grateful not to be struggling with fitting a big down parka around myself, let alone boots!

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Rebecca June 1, 2011 at 10:36 am

I have and love these Mephistos. Like Birks, they are firmly in the “comfort shoe” category, but I don’t care. We need to be comfy!

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gia June 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

what?? I love the ones you chose!! They are fantastic!

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Colleen K June 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I’m about 28 weeks pregnant, and have been living in Olukais (specifically, these: http://www.zappos.com/olukai-kukuna-w-pewter-tan) all summer. The “kukuna” style, while a bit pricey, has great arch support. The only thing is that they are a bit tricky to get on with a belly. But, I just plan on putting them on once and leaving them on the rest of the day (or, you can always get help!). I used them on my trip to NYC two weeks ago and they were fantastic and use them daily in the SF Bay area.

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jess O. June 1, 2011 at 3:55 pm

i totally might need to snap up a pair of those sandals! i’m not pregnant (yet) but i always need comfy shoes for work where i’m on my feet all day 😉 thanks for the recommend!

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Ashley June 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, guys! (And those Mephistos look a alot like the faux Birks I bought, but mine have annoying bumps in the footbed–those look better). A friend at work also mentioned to me that she swears by Campers. I think these look nice: http://shop.camper.com/producto.xhtml?option=21442-003&from=21361-004&lng=en

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Cristina June 1, 2011 at 6:46 pm

These Birks (http://www.birkenstockusa.com/products/women/sandals/gizeh/habana-oiled-leather/74383) which I suspect are similar to your faux birks are super comfortable. Don’t let the fact that they are slip on count against them. I’ve walked miles and miles in those shoes on various trips, and they have yet to cause any amount of pain.

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:31 am

I love the gizehs! I sometimes find Birks a little hard to get used to (on the other extreme of arch support), but I definitely think I might try breaking a pair in soon. They’re super cute ! (Did you see that even Madewell is stocking them now? You were onto something early!)

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katie June 2, 2011 at 8:58 am

/\/\ I second the Birk Gizeh recommendation. I’m a mom to a 1-yr-old and I love my silver ones. They’re the best! The black patent are really cute, too. I have red Toms and love them, but they get a little hot in the hot Florida climate. I also have these (http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?searchCID=4016&cid=4016&vid=1&pid=862332&scid=862332002) Cole Haan sandals which are AMAZEBALLS! They have Nike Air! They might be a little hard to zip with a belly, but if you could get help they are perfect. They come in some other colors, too, on the CH website.

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:33 am

Good to know about the Toms, Katie. I couldn’t see which CHs you’re referring to–what is the style name? That collaboration with Nike Air is brilliant. I still remember the Oprah episode where she gushed about Nike Air in CH heels. 🙂

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katie June 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

the sandals are called Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan Air Jasmine. They’re the tops!

*also Toms give me a slight blister when I first get them (you know, until they’re worn in…another reason why they might not be great for swollen preggo feet)

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Teryn June 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Great post. I’ve been looking for a great summer sandal, too, and I just went with the OluKai brand based on Colleen K’s rec above. I decided on the Olu’Olu’ style, instead of the specific one she mentioned. But, both look super-comfortable and stylish!

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Can’t wait to see them!

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Kathleen June 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I second the TOMS recommendation – I wore mine to pieces when I was pregnant. I just bought these Minnetonka sandals for toddler-chasing purposes when we go to the park, and they’re super comfy: http://www.zappos.com/minnetonka-isles-quarter-strap-brown-distressed-leather .

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Ashley June 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Thanks, Kathleen! I’ve never seen those Minnetonkas–I LOVE them! So cute and they look they have a great sole!

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Justine June 3, 2011 at 1:32 am

Sofft shoes are really comfortable (albeit a bit pricey). I love shoes, so happy shopping!

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Lia June 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

I think you just helped me find my summer sandal! I’m always looking for something comfortable and stylish since I spend so much time walking and running after my two little boys in Brooklyn. I recently bought a cute Gladiator style pair from Steve Madden that has a similar foot bed as Birkenstocks and those have been working, but these seem even better. And the price is amazing! Do they run true to size? I’m thinking about just ordering them online because it’s free shipping.

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Ashley June 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

They just went on sale! I got a 1/2 size up because my feet tend to get a little swollen by the end of the day now that I’m expecting, but my heel does slip up a bit. I find the leather is soft enough, though, that it hasn’t rubbed me wrong. If you’re not expecting, I would go with your true size. If you are, and experiencing some edema symptoms, I would try 1/2 size up or your size in wide?

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Ivy June 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Hi Ashley!
I’m going to try Gentle Souls Upon-a-Star Gladiator Sandals…

http://www.garnethill.com/gentle-souls-upon-a-star-gladiator-sandals/womens-fashion/footwear/sandals/144503

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Ashley June 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Those look great! So many cute strap options, too! The buckles do get harder later in the term, but a nice fiance might help with that… 🙂

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Viv June 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

These are on the obviously sporty side, but I really like Nike’s gladiator shoes! They have some street cred and don’t look like granny shoes. And Toms, for their unbeatable comfort.

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Ashley June 13, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Whoah–those are wild! Not granny at all. I’m not sure I could pull those off right now (esp with slightly swollen ankles), but they’re awesome! Happy with the Easy Spirits, but thinking of also getting one of the new Toms designs with stripes on the side… Thanks!

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