The Summer Sandal Styles That Matter, All In One Place

Here comes the sun...and open-toe shoes.

Sandal trends
Summer Fashion Issue 2024
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The OOO days for your beach vacation have just been approved. You’re signed up for the local tennis league. That new window AC unit is installed and ready to go. So, what’s left to prep for summer 2024? Perhaps your closet is in need of a refresh — or, more specifically, your sandal collection. As open-toe season is finally rearing its head, it's time to set your sights on the industry’s buzziest trends. Luckily, the wealth of silhouettes flooding the market are as eye-catching as they come.

To start, comfort is king this time of year. “We’ve seen consistent interest in low-heeled or flat sandals,” Vanissa Antonious, founder and creative director of NEOUS, tells TZR, highlighting the brand’s Ibor flats and new Jumel style as particular favorites amongst its shoppers. And because you’ll be booked and busy over the next few months, versatility is another overarching theme. “Our customers appreciate sandals that carry you from desk to dinner,” Nordstrom’s associate fashion director Linda Cui Zhang tells TZR. “These styles look great with tailored suiting and crisp shirts as much as they do breezy dresses and flowing skirts,” she adds.

While we’re on the topic of practicality, Labucq founder and designer Lauren Bucquet feels bold, overly complicated designs are taking a back seat in favor of minimalist silhouettes. “There have been a lot of maximalist designs in the last few years, but now, customers are ready for something a little quieter,” the footwear aficionado says to TZR over a Zoom call.

Alright, let’s not give away too much here. Ahead, check out summer’s 10 ubiquitous sandal trends. And don’t forget to book a pedicure appointment while you’re at it.

Wedges That Wow

You either love wedges or simply can’t get behind the slanted silhouette — we’d argue there’s not much in between. Should you sit in the former camp, here’s some great news: Elza Wandler, the founder of Wandler, says the look remains a fan favorite this season. What attributes to the shoe’s ongoing popularity? “Everyone can wear them; they work for a wide group of women,” the designer explains, adding that their customers also appreciate the fact that the shoe doesn’t compromise comfort for style.

Heavy Hardware

Thanks to the season’s hardware trend, sandals are essentially akin to a piece of jewelry, notes Merve Manastir and Beste Manastir Bagdatli, the co-founders of Manu Atelier. “This new design element is where art fuses with fashion,” they explain. Zhang echoes the duo: “Delicate hardware on a sandal gives a subtle decoration for a touch of shine.” To partake in the look, nab a casual slide or sleek kitten heel anchored with studs, buckles, or chains.

Put A Ring On It

PSA: The following sentence may be a real shocker. Toe-ring styles of yore are on track to reemerge this summer. “Flat or heeled sandals with asymmetrical uppers that wrap around and call attention to the big toe are everywhere,” Katherine Theobalds, founder and creative director of Zou Xou, says of the modern-day take. And Ani Nieto, the footwear designer at Brandon Blackwood (which launched footwear in early 2023), seconds this sentiment. “Our audience has been gravitating to the Kingston heel; the minimal singular toe silhouette is a staple that is adaptable to wear with summer outfits,” she shares.

Strap In

The barely-there sandal trend has yet to run its course, confirms Shopbop’s fashion director Caroline Maguire. “The delicate nature of the shoe pairs perfectly with everything — I love wearing mine with Bermuda shorts or a midi jean skirt,” she tells TZR. Also in step with the minimalist look? Subtle strappy heeled styles. “They’re perfect for seamless day-to-night transitions,” states Jasmin Hekmat, the founder and designer of Cult Gaia.

Statement Makers

An antithesis to the aforementioned barely-there silhouette, bulky styles haven’t exited the chat yet, according to Bucquet. “We continue to see great traction in our chunky sandals,” she tells TZR. “This speaks to people wanting something comfortable that’s also a bit put-together but not too dressy. They veer on the casual side.” Jess Bensley, director of active product and merchandising at Teva, also notes the demand for the comfortable look. “The thicker the sole, the better. From our Hurricane Ampsole to the Flatform Universal, these drive a lot of momentum in spring and summer.”

Artisanal Luxe

Chelsea Hansford, creative director and CEO of Simon Miller, points to raffia as a prominent material in the sandal scene. “They’re perfect for summer and pair back to everything with a fun neutral twist,” she says. Similarly, woven styles are on the rise, according to Sherri McMullen, founder and CEO of McMullen. “Handcrafted sandals and accessories often showcase intricate craftsmanship that people are craving for summer,” she says. Dip your toes (literally) into the look by way of a subdued neutral pair or, alternatively, go bold with a punchy shade like red or green.

Flipping Out

We’re still in the midst of the flip-flop revival. Only this time, the notoriously “ugly” rubbery footwear is seen through a designer lens. “The simplest of shoes with a down-to-earth vibe, the flip-flop was seen across the runways this season [at SS24 shows like Chanel and Proenza Schouler],” explains Christina Martini, co-founder and creative director of Ancient Greek Sandals. But how does one dress up the laid-back silhouette? Martini encourages you to style yours with an elegant dress or tailored suit.

A Clear Winner

Sure, a clear sandal may feel a bit outside your footwear wheelhouse. But the trend is inherently versatile — take Larroudé co-founder and CCO Marina Larroude’s word for it: “They create the illusion of a ‘naked’ shoe and go with everything,” the expert, who is a purveyor of the see-through look, tells TZR. “There isn't an outfit they don't complement; they're the ultimate sandal.”

Let It Slide

Sometimes, all you really want is a foolproof, no-fuss sandal. Sound familiar? If yes, turn your attention to a pair of luxe slides. “Everyone loves them because you don’t need to bend down to put them on,” notes Jessie Randall, Loeffler Randall’s founder and creative director. One of the New York-based label’s most popular iterations this season is its signature Hadley puffy bow look, which Randall notes is super comfy. But if the feminine accent doesn’t resonate with your personal style, consider a casual take (like Tory Burch’s Double-T Leather Sport Slide Sandal) or something sleek (think Mansur Gavriel’s Everyday Sandal).

So Jean-ius

Denim is no longer reserved for ready-to-wear — accessories are getting the true blues treatment, too. In addition to bags (championed by brands like Diesel and Marine Serre), sandals are now rendered in the perennial fabric. “It feels fresh and is something she might not already have in her closet,” Janelle Lloyd, fashion director of RTW at Bloomingdale’s, explains of the shoe’s allure. Not to mention, these babies will provide some edge to every summer outfit they accompany.