Summer is here, and the pandemic is largely over, which means it’s time to break out the cute, warm-weather-friendly footwear again. The best men’s sandals tend to prioritize function over fashion, since staying cool is paramount when it comes to men’s feet. For women, however, the story looks a little different. Women need cute and cooling footwear that compliments their outfits and doesn’t give them blisters. We need sandals for hiking, slides that are easy to get on and off and comfortable shoes that also look right at home at a trendy brunch or backyard BBQ. Thankfully, there are sandals that fit the bill in all of those categories. We’ve compiled a list of the best sandals for women for summer 2021 and divided them up into three categories: fashionable, sporty/outdoor and slides. Whether you’re a TEVA loyalist, Birkenstock enthusiast or prefer something minimal and chic, we’re confident our list has something for you.
1. Zara Strappy Low Heel Leather Sandals
This classic minimal design makes for a great sandal because it can be dressed up or down, and worn with so many different outfits. These strappy sandals wrap around the ankle and fit snug between your toes for a look that works just as well with a dress as it does with jeans. The soles also have a stud detailing around the edges and the closure is tied so you can find a comfortable fit easily.
2. Steve Madden Irenee Ankle Strap Sandal
This is a must-have sandal for women simply due to its versatility. You can wear this sandal casually with shorts and a blouse, with slacks to work and out on the town with a fancy dress. It’s a comfortable shoe with a chunky heel for stability and a thin ankle strap that’s flatteringly minimal. The black color goes with everything, and it comes in four other neutral colors, and the thin strap across the toes fastens you in without being too constricting.
3. Jeffrey Campbell Jamm-3 Slide Sandal
This is another super cute neutral sandal with a blunt toe design and slender straps for an effortless, minimalist finish. The sole has cushioning on it for comfort and the chunky kitten heel isn’t too tall and provides stability. The super minimal straps give your feet tons of breathability and the architectural heel provides a unique design.
4. Jaklyn Espadrille Platform Sandal
An espadrille is another classic women’s sandal that’s good to have in your closet for the summertime. The platform gives you a nice lift and the cork sole has nice summer vibes to it. It’s got an earthy texture on the side and a grippy sole so you have a solid foundation to walk on. The straps are less minimal and have more coverage, but the neutral color still means you can rock this sandal with most outfits. It’s breezy but solid, chunky but understated.
5. Madewell The Wave Slide Sandal
These super cute sandals from Madewell offer a unique twist on the classic slide design with a wavy upper that’ll hold and compliment your feet. These slip-on sandals are made of vachetta leather and genuine calf hair, and the wavy design has an 80’s vibe to it. They’re made with Madewell’s MWL Cloudlift Lite padding designed to be super comfortable and go perfectly with jeans, skirts and dresses.
6. Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandal
You know them, you love them, and if you’re looking for a great outdoor shoe Tevas are the way to go. They’re made with quick-dry webbing so they can take a dunk or two without leaving your feet pruney and the Universal Strapping System is made of earth-friendly polyester webbing that supports your foot while holding it in place. You’ve got multiple points of adjustability so you can find your right fit and the hook-and-loop closures are easy to get on and off. The midsole also has EVA molding and added arch support for extra comfort.
7. Women’s Chaco Sandals
Chacos are another great outdoor water shoe for women that come in plenty of flattering colors and patterns. Their classic sandal is made up of eight component parts including the wraparound strap and podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT PU footbed designed for all-day support and comfort. Their Classic outsole also features ChacoGrip rubber so you get a solid grip on the ground and the lock buckles are made with an injection-molded ladder which makes them easy to use and dependable.
8. Women’s Rainbow Sandals
Flip flops and the outdoors go hand in hand, and this pair of women’s Rainbow sandals is made of premium leather and has single-layer arch support. They’ve got parachute box-stitched toe posts for comfort and structure, and the whole design is sewn with nylon thread for added durability. The bottom soles are designed with non-slip rubber and the sides are embossed with the Original Rainbow logo.
9. Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea Sandals
Clarks “Cloudsteppers” are some of the most comfortable and supportive flip flops you can get, they’re made with a synthetic rubber sole and an Ortholite footbed designed for optimal cushioning. They’re super lightweight and easy to transport with you, and have a soft textile lining on the inside that adds softness. The cushioning is designed to bounce back with every step and the EVA midsole is built for maximum shock absorption, making them great for folks with joint issues.
10. Crocs Women’s Classic Clog
Another classic outdoor sandal, the Croc can’t be beat if you’re on an outdoor adventure and need a waterproof sandal to rock. They’re lightweight, comfortable, breathable and protective. They dry quickly after a dunk in the ocean, lake or stream and come in an endless number of styles and colors. We love Crocs here at Spy, so much so we wrote a love letter to them.
11. Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal
Slides are such a popular category within sandals for women we decided they deserved their own section, and we’re happy to announce that Birkenstock slides have become trendy again. Hallelujah. These slides mold so comfortably to your feet you’ll never want to squeeze into another heel, mule or tight sneaker again. This design from them has a soft footbed made with an extra layer of plush foam that supports your foot from toe to arch to heel. The leather straps are adjustable and you can choose the colors of both the straps and the buckles to your liking.
12. Vivi Slide Sandal
This chunky black leather sandal is built with so much soft leather and cushioning that it almost looks like a house slipper. It’s got wide leather straps that stretch around the foot, holding it in, as well as a footbed built for arch support. It comes in a variety of colors including blue, red, green, white and black, and has a basic design that’ll make it a wardrobe staple.
13. The Boardwalk Double-Strap Slide Sandal
Every woman needs a few basic slide sandals and this pair from Madewell is a perfect neutral shoe for summer. It’s got two leather straps with elastic that adjusts to the shape of your foot, and a flat footbed with extra padding for comfort. These shoes are a fan-favorite amongst loyal Madewell customers and come in three colors including sand, desert camel and black.
14. Birkenstock Essentials Unisex Arizona EVA Sandal
This shoe from Birkenstock takes everything you love about their classic slide design and makes it waterproof by making it entirely out of EVA thermoplastic material. It’s super lightweight, washable and has a grippy rubber sole on the bottom. The EVA sandals from Birkenstock are also entirely monochromatic, with the buckles matching the surrounding color, so if you’re going for a one-color look they’re a great pick.
15. adidas Women’s Adilette Comfort Slide Sandal
Last but not least, we couldn’t write a piece about the best sandals and slides for women without bringing up these shoes from adidas. These classic slides have been around for years and frequently go in and out of stock because they’re still so popular. They’ve got a rubber sole that’s waterproof as well as a large upper strap that holds your foot in. The footbed has built-in arch support and they come in many colors in addition to the classic black and white, including this white and navy design that’s currently in stock on Amazon.