The ultimate guide to summer sandals that look good on you and the planet

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Summer is here and it’s time to get out and about in the sun. After SO much time spent inside during lockdown, we finally are getting back to normal as beaches reopen and everyone packs a pair of comfy, breathable, made-for-walking sandals their summer luggage with. Sandals are perfect not only for weekends on the beach, but also a staple for everyday outfits, as they can be easily dressed up or down, and just much, much more giving on the feet compared to stilettos. This year, we see a wide range of styles embraced on street style shots, from the super casual flip flops to the romantic strappy heels.

One pet peeve when picking the right eco-friendly footwear is material. Our most basic rule of thumb is to stay away from PVC, or Polyvinyl chloride, as this plastic is non-biodegradable, releasing a lot of toxic chemicals during its treatment process. If possible, go for bio-based leather, and/or vegan fabrics like hemp and pinatex. Deadstock and upcycled scrap leather are also better options for the environment. All of the sandals from our picks are not only PVC-free, but are also ethically made from eco-conscious materials, such as recycled PU. The ones made from genuine leather are sourced from Leather Working Group Certified tanneries, which meet the highest standard of environmental responsibility in the industry.


 

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Laid-back & Leisure

Think about Birkenstocks, slides, and even the unconventional, debatable fashion item – flip flops. They are sandals with no heel straps, the ones you slide on when getting the groceries from the trunk of the car. These quick-to-throw-on items are becoming fashionable as people are prioritizing comfortable, practical blends between loungewear and work-wear even post-pandemic. This year’s trend allows for ultra-comfort with zero trade-off in style.

 


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Vagabond Shoemakers



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NISOLO



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Brother Vellies



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Paloma Wool


Elevated clogs and mules

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Clogs and mules, some of the most the humble and underrated footwear, are making a comeback this summer. These functional slide-in shoes now get a chic makeover, mostly in the oversized soles, and the neutral hues that pair well with anything. Already in vogue on Spring 2021’s runways, the clunky shoes, with their thick and sturdy wooden composition, give your heels ample support without a single style trade-off.

 


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Brother Vellies



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Paloma Wool



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OG sling-backs

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These slings are made for walking – flatforms that never go out of style. A pair of brown sandals can go with just about anything: long dress, midi, skirt, shorts, you name it. When people think of an eternal summer footwear, a pair of these come to mind. This year, you can venture out and about with different color takes like mustard yellow and dandelion orange. Also, you may want to check out a people’s favorite for this summer – the fisherman sandals.

 


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Christy Dawn



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EILEEN FISHER



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All about volume

The bigger the better. After such a long quarantine, people are bringing statement items back into their outfits more than ever. Depending on the shades and silhouette, the chunky platforms can give your outfit a cool retro vibe or a clean, sporty look. And in case you’re wondering, no, this summer’s tall sandals are not the comeback of sky-high wedged heels – they are all bout bold, exaggerated straps, platforms or block heels that lift up your looks. And yes, boxy sandals are harder to pack, but who cares when they just look this good.

 


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Coclico



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Paloma Wool


Loud colors

Saturated-colored accessories are the quickest way to give your outfit some character, and colorful footwear leads the way. For safe options, we recommend trying out butter yellow, baby blue and pastel tones, as these are close to neutral. For those who are really keen on exploring an altered palette, try lime green, mango sorbet, bubblegum pink – the bright, joyful summer colorway that everybody’s been raving about.

 


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Paloma Wool



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Vagabond Shoemakers



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Brother Vellies


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Flirty kitten heels

There’s always something more playful, more summery about these stiletto miniatures than regular pumps. They’re small, easy to slide in, and, dare we say, chic. The delicate heels give you that extra feminine feel without sacrificing ease of walk, and are perfect for a day out.

 


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Paloma Wool



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Brother Vellies



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Brother Vellies


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Strappy n Stringy

These gladiator-inspired wired sandals might take the longest to put on, but they go perfectly with a simple summer dress, making a foolproof combo for a night out. The thin straps add a barely there touch to your outfit and are perfect for when you’d rather go barefoot.

 


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Brother Vellies



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Brother Vellies



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–Jacqueline Pham