Your Guide to Wearing Sandals in Style

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Although good enough for the Ancient Greeks and Romans during a time when clothing options were limited, sandals were more for functionality than fashion. Their gladiator sandals kept them from damaging their feet. However, with clothing options infinitely wider, wearing sandals and staying stylish is a little bit more complicated.

With the temperatures rising and the weekends getting longer, thanks to summer Fridays, inevitably your workday shoes are coming off and your warmer weather shoes (sandals) are making their yearly appearance. As much thought as you put into your work attire, which presumably is a lot because you have to look professional and presentable, just a fraction of that should be put into your summer attire. In other words, just because the mercury rises toward the triple digits doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care at all how you wear your sandals, if at all. Who wants to wear boating shoes when it’s that hot?

Despite numerous magazines and articles suggesting to steer clear of mandals, due to its lingering connotation of being a standard fashion faux pas, they have in recent years been seen all over the runway, suggesting there is a high fashion aspect to them. Lingering doubters beware and please do us a favor, if you’re going to venture into mandal territory, do spring for that pedicure before doing so. Everyone appreciates a man with nice feet.

There are rules to the acceptance of the mandal: Don’t even think about asking if it’s OK to wear Tevas, despite its rebranding and the normcore trend. Leave those babies in the closet; you will not be taken seriously by anyone if worn. But here’s to hoping you never had them in the first place.

In that same vein, below are three great sandal types to wear off-­duty. Buyer beware though: Shop for the type of sandals below that make your feet look smaller than they appear (an exception is made for Birkenstocks, which are a little bulky) and make sure that the sandal color matches your outfit and the look you are going for.

Here is your Cheat Sheet to rocking sandals away from the beach.

Leather Sandals

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Leather sandals are quite simply not only the perfect option (that is, if you have to wear sandals), they are also the most refined choice. There are a range of designer brands to more affordable choices and are the easiest pair to work into an outfit. They are the perfect off-­duty go-to. Not as confining as the boat shoe and not as casual as a regular sandal, the leather sandal is the high fashion answer to the man sandal. This choice is incredibly versatile and is easy to style with almost any casual, yet simple outfit.

Suggested to be worn with: If chosen to wear with pants, an expertly tailored above­-the-­ankle slim pair, and a short-­sleeve shirt. If you’re really adventurous, try a simple print. If the pants you choose to wear are too long and you don’t want to tailor them, they also look great if you roll them up slightly and cuff them for a similar look.


In keeping with normcore­-esque fashion, and also having made a recent comeback in women’s shoe wear, is the forever ugly yet oh­-so-­unbelievably­ comfortable Birkenstock. While this particular shoe will always be unconventional, it is worth the wear. Major respect is given to any man who can rock a pair of Birkenstocks with confidence.

Suggested to be worn with: Try with a fitted, print T-­shirt with a pair of chino shorts.

Flip Flops

Although perfect for the beach, leather flip flops, a very distant cousin of rubber flip flops, are the only type of flip flops that can be acceptably worn anywhere besides the beach. Leather flip flops can be worn with the most casual of outfits, i.e. when grocery shopping or running errands around the city.

Suggested to be worn with: Try with a light V-­neck T- shirt or tank top with a pair of jogger shorts.

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