The sun is out; the sandals are on. In theory, this is summer at its best. But we all know that the combination of hot weather and brand new shoes is not always pretty. However many promises might be made about wearing those sandals in before their first use, the reality is that, after the first day of wearing them, they often leave feet covered in blisters. And it doesn’t matter how expensive or pretty your sandals are – there’s nothing on Earth that can make a Compeed look attractive.
But fear not, as I have rigorously tested just about all the sandals the high street has to offer. No mean feat, it turns out, given the amount of choice on offer. But I struggled through nevertheless and managed to whittle it down to my favourite six pairs, none of which will leave you with sore feet.
The leather flip-flops
Unfortunately, classic rubber flip-flops just aren’t robust enough for anything other than the beach or for wearing at home, so I’ve found this lovely soft leather pair from Dune (£45). While other, similar pairs I tried on made me want to weep after just a few seconds, the thin toe post means that this pair is not going to rub. Go for a size down if you’re between sizes – these are great for normal to narrow feet.
The grown-up gladiator sandals
Gladiator sandals never fail to make an appearance in the high street’s array of summer footwear, but that doesn’t mean they ever get any easier to wear. From unflattering fits to ties that wind their way up to the top of legs (terrifying), I’ve never found a pair that feel grown-up – until I found this ribbon pair from Topshop (£24), that is. Available in five colours, these sandals are perfect for wearing with light, summer dresses and, helpfully, they’re suitable for all feet, as you can tighten or loosen as required.
The strappy sandals
I must admit, I actually bought these sandals from A Piedi (£80) a while ago, but I had to include them because, well, they’re amazing. The leather is incredibly soft and supple, while the ankle strap means that you can walk for miles over hill and dale – and trust me, I have done just that – and they’re still super comfortable. True to size and in an average width, they’re hard-wearing, too, meaning they’d be a good choice for anyone going to a festival. Plus, they look so chic all you need to do is add shorts and a T-shirt.
The slip-on sandals
It’s hard to avoid sliders, as they’re called, at the moment. And while there are some bonkers styles around – embellished, bright and even furry – this suede and leopard-print pair from Biba (£29) are brilliant. They’d be a great choice for holiday, but they’re also my weekend shoes – I can just slip them on, go and walk for miles on the cushioned sole. They’re true to size, for normal to wide feet, and go with everything, not to mention how liberating it is not to have to faff around with buckles and strap when it’s boiling.
The fringed sandals
I love these M&S sandals (£25), mainly because they take all the effort out of getting dressed. All I do is throw on my old jeans and a plain T-shirt, and then add these tasselled shoes to instantly make my outfit more interesting. It really is as simple as that. They’re better for normal to wide feet and fit true to size.
The statement sandals
These Kurt Geiger sandals (£110) are so lovely I almost want to frame them. The best thing about them is that they’re a great alternative for evening, if you don’t want to wear heels or stuffier shoes when it’s hot. They’ll look fab with cropped jeans during the day but, similarly, will look smart enough to wear with dresses or jumpsuits in the evening. They’re a normal to narrow fit, true to size and completely dreamy.
The everyday sandals
ATP Atelier’s (£135) sandals may be slightly more expensive, but I can promise you that they’re an investment worth making – I live in mine. For me, they offer so much versatility, given that I wear them to meetings, on holiday or on the school run. The only problem is that I love them so much I’m now tempted by the tan pair. I probably shouldn’t mention that there’s also a metallic option, should I?