Sandals are to summer what boots are to fall. We just can’t get enough of them and can always find an excuse for adding one more pair to our wardrobes. From trendy PVC and artisanal detailing to easy pool slides and toe-ring silhouettes, this summer is filled with fresh trends we just can’t help but wear on repeat (many we’re even sporting at work!). One distinct sandal style, however, is at once a fashion-girl favorite and totally timeless: minimalist sandals.
Whether a lace-up gladiator, two-strap slip-on or multi-strap slingback is your preference, a perfectly pared-back sandal is endlessly versatile with your favorite summer pieces like breezy dresses, swimsuits, summery tops and all your shorts and skirts. In neutral colors like black, tan and white, you’ll get an insane amount of mileage beyond a single season—we’re for owning a few neutral pairs and rotating between them. A metallic option is great, too (it’s a great alternative to heels for dressier occasions—easy, comfortable and super sleek.)
Whether you’re a die-hard minimalist or newly convinced that simplicity is key, ahead, we’re spotlighting nine brands whose unfussy sandal offerings are outstanding.
Simple Summer Sandals
Simple, understated elegance is LA-based Emme Parsons' ethos, intended for those who crave elevated functionality with their footwear. Each sandal is a wear-with-everything style that boasts sophisticated and distinct design—every single one can be worn over and over (and over) again. What’s more, each pair is handmade in Tuscany where the brand works with small family-run factories and tanneries that are ethically run and adhere to the highest environmental standards. Plus, the brand is committed to giving back and supporting the community in Los Angeles where all of the sandals are designed.
For made-to-measure sandals with a European aesthetic, newly launched label, Amanu is a dream. The great news: From the silhouette to the leather (which is sourced from the finest Italian factories), you can customize your perfect-fitting sandal (choose from ten core silhouettes, two leather sole options and five different strap materials) and have it made on the spot within 30 minutes (you book an appointment in advance on the brand’s website). As a bespoke service, there is no waste and no excess materials, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint. It also means prices fluctuate based on your chosen materials, but range from about $160 to $265. The (sort of) bad news: Located in West Hollywood in Los Angeles, the store is an in-person only situation. Fingers crossed for pop-up locations to come. In the meantime, it’s a must-visit in LA.
Launched in 2012, Cornetti sandals embody a Mediterranean spirit and are handmade in Southern Italy. Whether you’re one for super simple or a bit playful (don’t miss the leopard print slides, multicolored lace-ups and fruit motifs in this case), every silhouette is incredibly comfortable and achingly stylish—your go-to for everyday wear in summer.
For the minimalist on a budget, Tkees is a treasure trove of “sandals for those who don't want to overthink it”, as the brand puts it. From barely there straps to gladiators and yes, even flip flops (they are, indeed, having a moment), the brand offers all the versatile neutral shades including nudes for every skin tone. Starting at $50, you can scoop up a few pairs! Don’t worry, quality is not a compromise.
Ancient Greek Sandals
Co-founders Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglu set out to deliver a plethora of sandal styles inspired by ancient Greece. Using traditional, centuries-old techniques and chemical-free, natural tan leather, this label is distinguished by a raw yet feminine aesthetic that’s not without modern appeal. Whether you go for gladiators, multi-strap or toe-ring slides, every sandal wears beautifully over time. Meaning, this footwear will last in your wardrobe forever. Greeks really know good sandals.
Founded in 2011 by lifelong friends Maj-La Pizzelli and Jonas Clason, ATP Atelier (standing for All Tomorrow’s Parties) was sparked by a trip taken by the duo to the coastal Italian town of Otranto where the vibe is all about simplicity and elegance. What better inspiration for a shoe line? Bringing together Italian craftmanship with a Scandinavian aesthetic and Parisian attitude, styles run the gamut from strappy lace-ups to sleek slides and their popular toe-ring silhouettes. The label is socially conscious, too, employing craftsman in Italy (ensuring fair wages and working conditions) and using sustainable materials and practices whenever possible.
We couldn’t possibly talk minimalist sandals without discussing K. Jacques. The St. Tropez-born brand started in 1933 by Jacques Keklikian and his wife Elise, crafting strappy leather sandals with clean lines and superior quality. French icons like Brigitte Bardot were known to sport sandals from the now world-renowned label and, we must admit, a sandal brand that’s good enough for one of our greatest style icons is most certainly good enough for us. You can even customize sandals and have your well-worn styles repaired by the brand. One of each, please!
You know DÔEN for their idyllic bohemian dresses and adorable straw bags, but did you realize the brand's sandal offerings are exquisite, too? Continuing their mission of delivering easy silhouettes with luxe fabrics, look to the California label for a range of suede and leather lace-up sandals as the perfect finish to your breeziest hemlines, whether you’re in the mood for natural tan, velvety black or burnt henna. But don’t hesitate—their cult-loved styles sell out fast.
For a dressed up minimal sandal, Pedro García is flawless. The family-run shoe label started in Alicante, Spain in 1925 (now headed by Garcia's grandchildren, Pedro and Mila) making everything from wedges to stilettos. A range of Swarovski crystal-embellished sandals are a must-have for modern minimalist tastes craving a dose of glamour, whether you go for basic black or a bit more festive with antique-rose, silver or gold. Wear them for weddings, date night or as a contrast to denim.