Over the last few years, it's chunky thick-soled sneakers that have dominated the footwear trend cycle. But right now, there's a new "ugly" footwear gaining steam — the sport sandal. Chunky, strappy styles inspired by the likes of Birkenstock and Teva have become key in many designer collections. With the trend's trajectory only rising over the next few months, TZR's editors decided it was time to offer up a how-to on wearing sport sandals IRL. Three distinctly different takes on the trend, styled three very different ways.
"I feel as though the sports sandal was a response to a broader mood: one that recognized a preference among female consumers for more functional footwear," notes Farfetch’s Senior Womenswear Editor, Celenie Seidel. And though comfort is a key element to this footwear, designers are finding unique ways to give them a sartorial spin. "What I’m finding interesting now are the hybrid styles that are emerging. The overall aesthetic nods to the sports sandal trend, but the finish moves away from the tech fabrications and finishings."
Styling can play an important key in making a more extreme or polarizing trend feel accessible. For those whose style skews more ladylike, leaning heavily in to the girly aesthetic is the key to balancing out these outdoorsy shoes. Suggests Seidel, "my favorite ways to wear them is either with shorts and men’s short sleeve summer shirts with layers of jewelry, or with a mid-calf dress, granny cardigan and socks. Below, see three ways The Zoe Report's editors are wearing the trend and shop a few key styles too.
Lauren Caruso, Managing Editor
"I usually gravitate toward neutral colors and simple silhouettes, especially as the weather warms, but I'm solidly stoked on the chunky sport sandal trend. This white leather Marques Almeida style marries my love of bright white with my penchant for comfort, and I love how the woven raffia midsole instantly makes them feel more airy and summer-appropriate.
"Here, I styled them with a midi skirt with a slit up the side for a touch of femininity, as well as a button-front pile-weave top in a similarly neutral tone. I love that the skirt offsets the sandals' sporty vibe."
Aemilia Madden, Senior Fashion Editor
"I was first introduced to sport sandals by my dad who has worn the same pair of Birkenstocks for over a decade now. While in my early days, they were more of a practical weekend pick, I love that a more elevated iteration is one I can wear to work. Prada's laid-back design still feels essentially sporty, but adds a touch of cool to an outfit.
For a look that toed the line between fun and professional, I styled mine with suede pants from Veda and a colorful Sies Marjan button-down and Wandler bag. Since the sandals read fairly casual, mixing them with trendier pieces didn't feel overwhelming."
Mecca James-Williams, Contrib. Senior Style Editor
"In the summer, I always go for shoes that have a classic element mixed with a modern, cool touch. The leather thick strap coupled with the solid suede flatform makes this a sport sandal with spunk, especially with the cool toe detail.
For styling, I paired this statement shoe with a structured look with edge. I chose a Hyke suit with a waist belt, and deconstructed wrap skirt; the neutral color paring was modern and graphic. My style always has some element of quirk or eccentricity, even if it's monochromatic. I also added in my Florian London croc bucket bag for another color splash."