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Buying Guide for Must-Have Sandals

Linda has written content for national fashion and beauty websites. She enjoys sharing style trends and tips with her readers.

Buying Guide for Must-Have Sandals

Buying Guide for Must-Have Sandals

Time for a Shopping Spree!

Looking to shift into summer mode? Go shopping for a pair of playful sandals! They bring to mind warm weather, carefree days, and great pedis! No shoe style is more flattering, freeing, or more comfortable than a beautifully crafted pair of sandals.

Peak sandal-wearing season begins in the spring and can last well into fall. Sandals can be worn with leggings, tights, or socks (if you dare!) even during cold weather months. Take advantage of the extra-long sandal season by studying up on the endless available styles, such as earthy leather flats, wooden wedges, and sexy evening versions.

I’m here to help with your annual sandal hunt. I’ve spent countless hours scouring stores and the web (tough duty, I know!) for the cutest picks. To minimize the confusion, I have grouped the hottest styles into six delectable categories. This way, you can dive in and snatch up your favorites before someone else does!



There are many incarnations of the platform sandal, but I’m referring to a specific style—just like the pair you had in high school in 70s. Yep, platform sandals. They’re back and just as cute as ever.

The platform sandal (aka flatforms) can be easily identified by a thick sole that is a relatively uniform height from toe to heel. They're like a cross between a flat and wedge. Platform sandals provide height without the danger of wobbly heels. IMO, they are the best options for comfort, style and stability in a higher “heel”.

Platform sandals command attention—and they deserve it. When you don these chunky fashion statements, pair them with a skirt, dress or just-to-the ankle pants. It would be a shame to cover them up!

Here are a few helpful tips when searching for a comfy platform sandal:

Fun Materials

You’ll find platform sandal soles made from everything from hard plastic to wood to cork. Obviously cork will cushion your feet and absorb shock much better than rigid materials. If you spend a great deal on your feet or walking, opt for a cork, rubber or flexible plastic sole.

Different Heights

Heel height is not really a concern with platform sandals. Some do feature a slight incline from the arch to the heel, but no more than a half-inch or so. Women that are used to wearing sky-high heels will be unfazed by the overall height of platform sandals. However, if you are accustomed to flats, the increase in elevation may take some getting used to.


Give platform sandals a good test drive in the store before you take them home or place an online order. Walk on non-carpeting surfaces to get a good feel for the comfort level. If you notice any discomfort at all on the soles of your feet, move on to another style until you find one that feels “just right”.



Wedge sandals are related to the platform, however they differ dramatically in heel height. Wedges can sport heels as high as 6 inches—wear these at your own risk!

The infinite variety of wedge sandals makes shopping for them almost as much fun as wearing them. Wedge sandals can go from day to night, casual to dressy and from work to clubbing. With so many choices, you may have trouble finding the right style for the right occasion.

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Wearing wedge sandals in the office requires careful consideration and common sense. By all means, stay away from uber-high heels. Go for a single, conservative color and traditional materials. You can get away with more daring styles if you work in a casual office, but don’t get carried away! If your office has a strict dress code, check with HR before rocking your wedge sandals at work.

Great for Parties

Casual cookouts and pool parties are the perfect occasion for show off your new wedge sandals. Pair a bright summery color with a floral dress or ruffled tank and walking shorts. They also look great with a sexy swimsuit and pareo wrap. By all means, have fun with flirtatious wedge sandal styles for outdoor events.

Great for Going Out

A night out demands a dramatic pair of wedge sandals. Metallics, patents and snakeskin take your LBD to new heights. Wedge sandals also look perfect with a printed silk mini romper or skinny pants and a sheer Boho tunic. Don't be afraid to walk on the wild side when clubbing in your wedge sandals!



Wedge and platform sandals are all the rage, but let’s not forget the humble flat sandal. I, for one, love them. I don’t feel the need to stand out in a crowd, so I am quite happy in my carefree, flat sandals. You might think flat sandals lack the personality of their flashy cousins. Just because they lack a heel, doesn’t mean they can’t be height of fashion.


Flat sandals are lightweight—wearing them is just like going barefoot. That’s probably a good reason to avoid them when dressing for a formal occasion. However, there are embellished flat sandals you might just consider pairing with an evening dress.


My all-time favorites are flat sandals with delicate straps. The lightness of these sandals are perfect for summer dresses, skirts, crop pants, Capris and shorts. In other words, they work with virtually everything associated with warm weather. They should be part of your fun summer wardrobe, however they may not be a good fit for the office.


Flip Flops

Flip flops are the most affordable choice in the sandals category. You can go for the utilitarian rubber flip flips designed for the beach or pool. Or, you can step up to high fashion slide versions made from brightly colored leathers.

Comfort First

Even basic rubber flip flops come in a rainbow of hues and feature embellishments from crystals to beading to grosgrain ribbon. Flip flops are acceptable in almost any setting. However, many offices still frown upon them (except on casual Fridays), as do upscale restaurants and clubs.

Sometimes Noisy

The only bad rap I can think of regarding flip flops and slides is the sheer volume they produce. It seems when people wear them, they tend to walk with a heavier step than normal. When worn on uncarpeted surfaces, like tile or wood, one person sound like a herd of buffalo!

The pluses of flip flops far outweigh that one negative. I love my flip flops and spend most of the summer months in them.


Strappy Heels

No single sandal style can compliment so many different looks than a pair of strappy heels. Strappy heel sandals are the ultimate in dressing up. They show off your legs in a sexy cocktail dress, they add a touch of elegance to a wedding gown and they look downright righteous with a kickin’ mini. High heel strappy sandals even look good with a silk blazer and harem pants. They’re amazingly versatile.

Not the Most Supportive

Before you run out the door to buy a pair, it is critical to understand the fit of strappy heel sandals. Their delicate proportions often do not provide necessary support—especially if you are on your feet for hours or out dancing.

Sizing Is Important

Make sure you purchase the proper length. It is important that your entire foot has a firm foundation. The straps should hold your foot in place (to prevent sliding), without cutting into or rubbing your feet and toes.

Consider Cushioning

Rubbing straps can be a problem with strappy heel sandals no matter how well they fit. Consider purchasing strap cushions when you purchase your sandals. These comfort strips adhere to the under side of straps to minimize chafing and irritation.


Low Heels

Low heel sandals are for those of us who can’t quite maneuver in strappy heels. They can be just as dressy, but are not nearly as treacherous or painful. Low heel sandals are extremely multifaceted—they are equally appropriate for the office or a casual weekend getaway.

Great for All Occasions

Low heel sandals look ever so stylish and feminine while providing the utmost in comfort. With a heel typically lower than 2-inches in height, low heel sandals are perfect for women who don’t want or need extra height.

A Variety of Styles

The good thing about low heel sandals is the infinite variety in styling. You can find ankle straps, wide toe and heel straps and ultra-feminine, thin strappy models. Their heel styles are just as varied. Choose from kitten, cone-shaped, block and wedge heels to name a few!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Linda Chechar

I'd love to hear from you.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 16, 2012:

Yes, incomeguru, they are very nice and much better for her feet than high heels! Thanks so much for stopping my my Hub!

Oyewole Folarin from Lagos on March 16, 2012:

I like flat sandals especially when my wife put them on. It's good and pretty nice for any occasion.

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