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Sandal Styles to Wear This Summer · Primer

Sandal Styles to Wear This Summer · Primer


Vacation here we come.

Gentlemen, it’s summertime. Sun’s out…toes out? Anyway, it’s sandal season, and while we’re all about eclectic style, certain sartorial choices are simply never going to be ok (I’m looking at you, crocks with socks). We threw together a short list of sandals that you can rock this summer for that casual, breathable look, and maybe even a pair or two you could wear to the office.

Let us know which pair are your favorite and if we missed any styles.

Birkenstock Arizona, $130

I got my first pair of Birkenstocks when I was a junior in high school, and I wore them through college until they literally fell apart. I’m now on my third pair in twenty years, and while they’re not cheap, they’re made well and worth every penny.

I like the Arizona because the suede straps are soft against the skin, and the open back encourages the natural gripping motion of your toes. I wear them with shorts, jeans, chinos, pretty much anything shy of a suit.

man wearing shorts with black birkenstock rubber sandalsman wearing shorts with black birkenstock rubber sandals

Birkenstock Arizona EVA, $49.95

Ok, I’ll be honest: When these sandals were first released, I was a nay-sayer. Who in the hell would want foam Birkenstocks? But then I got a pair. You know what you can do in these? Literally anything.  Beach day, scoop the dog poop, creek walkin’, backyard baths for your Bernese Mountain Dog (I know I’m getting a little specific here).

The bottom line: These sandals can take a beating and get wet while doing it (And no, you don’t want to get your suede Birks wet). Just rinse them off, and you’re good to go. I’ve said the same pair for two years, and they still look good as new.

a leather thong style sandala leather thong style sandal

Rainbow ‘301Alts’ Sandal, $59.99

Personally, I’m not a flip flop guy, but if there were a brand I’d buy, it would be Rainbow. Rainbow is a classic Apple story, started in a California garage by one man who spent $200 on a sewing machine and enough materials to make six pairs of sandals. When those were sold, he made another twelve pairs, and today Rainbow makes 2M pairs of sandals every year.

Each pair of Rainbow sandals is still made by hand, and this particular model has a nubuck leather upper, which will mold comfortably to your foot. It’s available in eight different colors, but man do I dig this forest green.

a man wearing slip on woven huarache style sandala man wearing slip on woven huarache style sandal

Nisolo Huarache Sandal, $150

A hundreds-years-old Mexican style (Yucantan if you want to get specific), huaraches were originally made from the fiber of agave plants, which was quickly replaced by leather. Your grandad wore huarache sandals when he saw the Beach Boys live in concert, and they’ve been in style ever since.

This pair from Nisolo is woven by the hands of a craftsman who is paid a fair, living wage (a commitment made by Nisolo). The leather is water-resistant, and the no-slip rubber sole will keep you from taking a spill on a wet deck. Huaraches look great with sandals, but because they are closed-toe, they can also be dressed up with summer work wear.

espadrille style flat sandalsespadrille style flat sandals

Viscata Canvas Espadrille, $109.95

We’ve written about espadrilles before, so I’ll keep this brief. Suffice to say, this is the ultimate summer shoe that’s sort of like a sandal. Originally named for the type of grass used to make the soles, this timeless shoe is now most commonly constructed using jute and a canvas upper. The canvas allows your foot to breathe, and the jute sole protects your feet from the ground.

man wearing espadrilles with teal shirt and khaki shortsman wearing espadrilles with teal shirt and khaki shorts

Espadrilles slip on and off easily and pack flat for that upcoming beach trip. Wear them with shorts, bathing suits, jeans, or chinos. Apart from a suit, they match literally everything. 

a suede leather clog style sandala suede leather clog style sandal

Birkenstock Boston Clog, $160

We’ve also written about the Bostons before, and while clogs aren’t exactly sandals, they’re not  exactly not sandals either. The most alluring aspect of suede clogs is that they really are a three-season shoe (four seasons depending on where you live). Not only are these incredibly comfortable (the soft footbed molds to your foot and offers wonderful tactile feedback), but you can style them just about any way your heart desires.

In the summer, the Bostons are right at home with shorts. In the fall, they complement jeans, a sweater, and a pair of fairisle socks. The combinations are endless, and they move seamlessly from being an around-the-house shoe to a run-to-the-store shoe.

woven slip on sandalswoven slip on sandals

Mohinders Woven City Slipper, $165

If you want a summer sandal that will breathe even better than the Bostons, look no further than the woven city slipper. Half clog, half huarache, half wildcard, these sandals are hand woven in a small village in India, which gets the vegetable-tanned leather from the next village over. Because of the open back, these definitely lean more casual, but you could probably sneak them into the office on a Friday with a pair of slim chinos and a polo shirt.

The secret weapon of these sandals is the crepe rubber sole, which I find the most comfortable type of shoe sole available. Crepe rubber seemingly never gets tired (that’s the best way I can say it) in that it stays lightweight while giving outstanding support.

Cole Haan Nantucket Sandal, $99.95

There’s nothing wrong with those all-foam Adidas slides that you wore in the shower in college, but that’s what all-foams slides are for…the shower in college. And I know what you’re thinking: But what if I get the foam slides that say Balenciaga on top? Then I’d say you dropped $400 on $0.58 worth of rubber.

If you like slide sandals, go with a grown-up choice like a cross strap. These leather-strapped sandals from Cole Haan are subtle and understated, meaning you can wear a casual style that looks refined and mature.

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