The 14 Best Sandals of 2023
Plus, a celebrity stylist shares how to choose the right pair.
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Real Simple / David Hattan
From block-heeled, strappy sandals to hardy sports sandals and everything in between, the right pair of sandals can get you through every summer occasion. After all, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is uncomfortable shoes that result in blisters or sore heels.
That's why the best sandals seamlessly fit into your lifestyle and are comfortable for the occasion you’re wearing them for—whether that’s cocktails out with friends or taking long walks in your local park. You can choose from a wide variety of materials, but celebrity stylist Eliza Yerry likes leather in particular: “Leather is always a good material when purchasing sandals, as it has the ability to mold to your foot.” This results in a more comfortable feel.
To find the best sandals, we researched dozens of options while considering factors like price, style, arch support, and materials. Yerry also provided expert insight into choosing high-quality and stylish sandals for every occasion.
They're water-friendly yet stylish, so you can wear them basically anywhere.
They don’t have as much arch support as other sandals on this list.
These leather sandals are classics for a reason: They’re reasonably priced, comfortable, cute, and water-friendly, so you can wear them poolside or to the beach. They come in several colors, including some metallic options. The brass buckle is rust-resistant and easily adjusts to fit your feet, and the footbed is made from a cushy, breathable leather. The soles of these shoes are rubber and will withstand lots of wear and tear over time.
Another good thing about these sandals is that they come in lots of size options, including for littles, in case you want to gift them to a child in your life. We love that these are versatile enough to be worn to the beach with a casual cover-up, but can easily transition to evening plans when paired with a sundress. And since they’re waterproof, you can hose them off if they get covered in sand or dirt. These sandals come in easy-to-wear neutrals like tan, brown, and black; but they also come in more statement-making shades like rose gold, red, and mustard yellow.
Price at time of publish: $60
Material: Leather | Size Range: 6-11 (children’s sizes available)
They have the look of real leather without the price tag.
They only come in two colors.
If you’re looking for a simple pair of flat sandals that won’t break the bank, these Old Navy cross-strap sandals are a great choice. Made with a faux-leather material, these sandals can easily be dressed up or down. Also, unlike some faux-leather sandals, these look very close to the real thing.
Old Navy only offers these sandals in a cognac brown color and a heather black. However, they have some similar options in the same cross-strap silhouette that are made with fabric and raffia instead of faux-leather. Just keep in mind that these aren’t great for long-distance walking or hiking, as they don’t have added arch support (although the footbed is lightly cushioned), nor do they have a back strap for additional support.
Price at time of publish: $20
Material: Faux leather | Size Range: 6-11
The molded footbed and textured tread make these shoes extra comfortable for walking longer distances.
They aren’t available in half sizes.
Teva's Original Universal Sandals were developed by a Colorado River guide in the early 1980s specifically for wearing on long walks. The brand now makes a ton of different styles, and often comes out with limited edition styles and colorways, including collaborations with other brands.
We especially love this classic style for a few reasons: First, these sandals are waterproof, which makes them suitable for a walk through the woods, going to the pool or beach, or any other summer-friendly activity you might be doing. Next, we love how comfortable the molded footbed is—it’s made of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) for ultimate walkability and comfort, while the tread has a textured rubber to give the wearer traction. These shoes are also very lightweight, so your feet don’t feel weighed down after a long walk. Lastly, we love the many colors and patterns the straps come in, all of which are made from recycled materials.
Price at time of publish: $55
Material: Recycled polyester, ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) | Size Range: 5-14
They'll mold to your feet as you wear them.
They aren't water-friendly.
Birkenstock Arizona sandals have been trending for years at this point, and it’s no wonder why—they’re comfortable, come in tons of different colorways, and are made with quality materials that will last a long time and wear beautifully. The footbed (insole) of the Arizona will mold to your foot as you break them in, but keep in mind that the straps can be a little hard at first (depending on the finish you get) and may rub your feet, causing blisters. We suggest wearing thick Band-Aids or socks the first few wears so that your feet get used to them. If you have a flatter foot or need extra arch support, these will provide a good amount—but keep in mind you may want to purchase additional inserts just in case.
Another thing to love about these sandals is their versatility. You can just as easily wear Birkenstock Arizona’s with dresses or skirts as you can with jeans or casual outfits. This is a great option when you’re commuting to work or when you want to dress down a somewhat formal outfit. Just remember to give your sandals a good coat or three of weather-proofing spray so that your leather doesn’t get ruined if you’re caught in the rain.
Price at time of publish: From $110
Material: Varies | Size Range: 4-13.5
They’re lightweight and super easy to clean.
The insoles tend to get slippery when wet.
If you’re often at the lake, pool, or beach, we strongly suggest these waterproof Tevas. They’re lightweight and made from EVA, which means you can just hose them down or throw them in the shower when you want to clean them up. And since they have a back strap, they won’t spray any hot sand or water on the backs of your legs as you walk on the beach or along the water.
These shoes come in lots of colors and have easily adjustable straps, so you can slip them on and off quickly. They’re also supportive, and cushion your feet with a molded insole for comfort during your warm weather adventures. They’re a great pair of sandals to take with you when you’re traveling, thanks to their ultra light weight. Just throw them in your travel bag and wear a heavier pair of shoes on the trip to keep the weight of your bag down. Keep in mind that since they’re made of EVA, the insoles can get a little slippery when wet.
Price at time of publish: $45
Material: Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) | Size Range: 5-12
The premium leather will wear well.
They don’t provide much arch support.
The Day Crossover Sandals are an incredibly versatile pair of shoes that you’ll want to wear all the time—with jeans while running errands or with a sundress when you’re out on date night. These sandals are made from a buttery soft leather, so the crossover straps won't feel uncomfortable. Similar sandals often have thick, stiff leather straps that can take a long time to break in and can rub against your feet, causing blisters.
These shoes have a flexible sole, which also helps with the break-in process. While Everlane has sold a version of this sandal for a while, this iteration has been tweaked to be more comfortable and longer-lasting. The Day Crossover sandals come in five neutral colors and will dress up a casual look but still look great when worn with something more formal.
Price at time of publish: $85
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5-11
These throwback platforms give you height without the discomfort of typical heels.
They’re not meant for walking long distances.
The early 2000s have been trending for a while now, and the popularity of these Steve Madden slides are proof. They come in six colors—we’re partial to the black, as it reminds us of the classic version. The strap is made of a stretchy fabric, so it’s also worth considering a darker color if you’re not going to want to clean your shoes often (this type of fabric will get more noticeably dirty compared to leather, faux-leather, or a skinnier poly-blend strap).
These sandals are more fashion over function, as they’re around two and a half inches off the ground, but they’re still quite comfortable—just don’t try going for any long walks in them. Since they don’t have a back strap, they won’t be as secure as some other shoes on this list, but platform (these are almost more “flatform”) shoes are pretty comfortable, since you’re usually walking on an even platform compared to high heels, which bend the shape of your foot depending on how high they are.
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Fabric upper, leather lining, synthetic sole | Size Range: 5-11
The cushioned footbed makes these more comfortable than most wedges.
The strap has some stretch, so the shoe may make noise as you walk (similar to a flip-flop).
These sandals are comfortable and stylish, thanks to a combination of smart design choices. The straps are made of a breathable mesh, and the ankle strap stretches with your foot so there aren’t any stiff fabrics or leather chaffing against your feet. The insole is made with what Skechers calls Luxe Foam, an ultra-light and cushioned material that makes walking much more comfortable than other wedge sandals that are on the market. While the silhouette of the shoe is more formal than a flat sandal, these can easily be dressed up or down.
Most of the colorways have a textured cork heel of varying shades, while the black option appears smoother since it’s so dark, which reads as slightly more formal. Keep in mind that although these sandals have a slingback ankle strap, the strap is stretchy, which means your shoe may make a slapping sound (similar to a flip-flop) when you walk.
Price at time of publish: $50
Material: Linen stretch fabric, foam, cork | Size Range: 5-11 wide
The block heel helps to distribute your body weight more evenly, providing better comfort.
The leather can feel stiff at first.
These go-with-anything block-heeled sandals will, well, go with anything! From jeans and a tee to a skirt and blouse, to a jumpsuit, you’ll find yourself reaching for these again and again. The classic silhouette means they won’t be going out of style any time soon, and the leather upper and footbed will stand up to lots of wear and tear. Speaking of the footbed, it’s exceptionally comfortable, as it’s made with extra cushioning, making it soft and comfy for standing or walking.
Block heels are typically more comfortable than skinnier heels, as your weight is more evenly distributed on the heel of your foot, and these are a very comfortable mid-heel height. They have a hidden elastic strap on the side of the straps, so as you walk the straps have some give (and you don’t end up with blisters). In addition to the classic black, the sandals are available in a nude color, too.
Price at time of publish: $138
Material: Leather | Size Range: 5-11
These fun sandals come in a variety of unique colors.
They can be difficult to get on and off, and the suede shows dirt easily.
These sandals are perfect if you’re in the market for a strappy pair of heels that you can wear all summer long. With a 2.5-inch block heel, these sandals are easy to walk in and comfortable for events where you’ll need to be standing for long periods of time, like a wedding. (Speaking of weddings, we love the idea of wearing these for your wedding day for a little color!) Not into a colorful pair of sandals this season? These also come in black for a more neutral option. We love all the artful knots in the straps and the minimalist silhouette of these sandals. The toe of the footbed is squared off, adding a subtle modern touch. These shoes are made of real leather, which means they will wear well and stand up to lots of use. Keep in mind that you should spray these with a shoe protectant spray every few weeks if you’re wearing them often, especially if you aren’t getting the black—the suede will show dirt easily and requires special care to clean.
Price at time of publish: $130
Material: Leather | Size Range: EU 35-41 (US 4-10.5)
This classic style is easy to slip on and off.
They shouldn’t be used at the pool or beach without a protectant spray.
If these sandals look familiar, it’s probably because you've seen them before—they're a fan-favorite shoe from French Sole. They are bestsellers for a reason: They’re comfortable, well-made, and timeless. They’re also extremely versatile and will likely become your go-to flats for cookouts, running errands, or cocktails out with friends.
These sandals come in seven different colorways, ranging from camel to lilac to silver metallic. We also like that you can see the subtle stitching on the darker colors, but if that’s not a detail you like, you may prefer the lighter colors. As with other leather shoes on this list, we suggest sealing them with a protectant so that they repel water and dirt. Keep in mind that since these are made of leather, you probably won’t want to use them as your beach or pool shoes, as water can potentially damage them.
Price at time of publish: $150
Material: Leather | Size Range: 6-11
The memory foam insoles provide enough cushion for a full day spent on your feet.
They are not well suited for wide feet.
If you’ve been looking for the perfect pair of summer clogs, consider these leather sandals. Nisolo makes these shoes with high-quality leather, for straps that will break in beautifully. The three-inch heel is both fashionable and functional for walking and standing, thanks to the shock-absorbent memory foam insoles. The outer soles have a rubberized tread to grip onto surfaces and reduce any chance of slipping and sliding, even on wet and slippery roads. In other words, these are super comfortable despite being a higher heel height.
The leather is water-resistant, so it’s protected from splashes or light rain, but always remember to spray leather every few wears, just to keep them in good shape. These come in several different colorways, and we’re particularly fond of the Brandy shade: It’s a reddish-brown that will work with almost any outfit and look great even in the cooler fall months when paired with a chunky pair of socks.
Price at time of publish: $170
Material: Leather, wooden sole | Size Range: 5-11
These affordable, ergonomic, and waterproof flip-flops come in many different colors.
They can’t be dressed up for more formal occasions.
Great for lazy summer beach and pool days, these flip-flops come in 27 colors and are super comfortable to boot. It’s not often that a rubber flip-flop can also be comfortable for running around town and spending a lot of time walking, but these definitely are. That’s thanks in part to the micro-bubble foam ergonomic footbed, which both cushions your foot and keeps your heel in place better than most other flip-flops.
These shoes have also been awarded the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which is given to products that help promote good foot health. If that’s not an indicator of comfortable shoes that are also good for your feet, we don’t know what is. While these shoes are excellent for quickly sliding on and for more casual outings, keep in mind that they’re definitely still flip-flops and you can’t really dress them up.
Price at time of publish: $32
Material: Rubber, EVA | Size Range: 5-11
We choose Salt Water Original Sandals as our best overall pick because they’re reasonably priced, comfortable, stylish, and waterproof, so you can wear them poolside or to the beach. They’re also classic so they won’t go out of style any time soon.
“The first question to ask when purchasing sandals is where will you be wearing them the most?” says Eliza Yerry, a celebrity stylist. “Will you be walking around NYC? Vacation? Or are you looking for everyday comfort?” If you’re looking for sandals for a special occasion, look for strappy or block-heeled options. If you’re going to the beach, look for a flip-flop or waterproof sandal that’s more casual. Sandals with a back strap are usually more comfortable for longer walks, as are those with arch support.
“If you plan on using them to walk miles, choose a sandal like a Birkenstock. They will provide you with lots of support,” says Yerry. Always pay attention in the sandal description to see if they mention arch support, or ask someone from the brand for specifics. There’s always an option to buy arch support inserts to make them more comfortable, but super flat sandals won’t generally be comfortable for long walks or standing for hours.
Sandals come in a variety of options. Rubber or EVA sandals are great because they’re waterproof and easy to clean. Leather will wear beautifully over time, and even develop a patina that can give the sandals more character. Leather will also last a long time and can mold to your foot. Shoes like TEVA’s, which sometimes have polyester straps, are also good weather-resistant, comfortable options. Keep in mind that different materials will require different shoe cleaners, too.
“This truly depends on what you will be using them for,” explains Yerry. “I live in New York City and usually accept that my sandals will probably be a one-to-two summer investment.” In other words, if you’re wearing your sandals every day for a few months, you probably won’t have them for more than a couple of years, but remember you can always take your shoes to a cobbler to get them resoled and fixed up. Investing in your pre-existing sandals is always a good, eco-friendly choice. Plus it saves you money if you’re investing in a more expensive pair.
“Even though I'm a pro, I always love to defer to the reviews of the product from real people who have purchased in the past,” says Yerry. “Knowing what has worked for them, probably means the same for you!”
“Always look at the front of the foot and the back,” says Yerry. “Make sure your toes aren't hanging over the front or the edge of the back. Sometimes it's hard to gauge the width of a product without trying it on first, but if you have wide feet, keep that in mind when purchasing!”
This article was written by Hannah Baker, a freelance writer and editor with a decade of experience researching and writing about home products. She’s written about products for Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Apartment Therapy, Brides, MyDomaine, Shop TODAY, and Drew and Jonathan Reveal, to name a few. To write this article, Hannah researched various sandals and compared them for factors like price, style, arch support, and materials. She also spoke to celebrity stylist Eliza Yerry, for her expert tips on shopping for sandals.Price at time of publish: $60Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $20Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $55Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: From $110Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $45Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $85Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $90Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $50Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $138Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $130Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $150Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $170Material:Size Range:Price at time of publish: $32Material:Size Range: