I try A LOT of different shoes. A LOT. And I happen to have a lot of opinions on these shoes…strong opinions, actually. After researching, trying on, and walking in soooooooooo many shoes each season, I’ve started publishing a detailed follow-up to each of my big comfort shoe round-ups that includes pros and cons of the shoes I’ve tried.
Stylish Comfort Shoes: A Summer Sandal Review
Most summers, my feet gravitate toward my trusted FitFlops, but this particular summer I’ve been gravitating toward my Birkenstocks, Borns and Cordanis. It could be that I’m staying a bit closer to home and not walking quite as many miles as usual (FitFlops are awesome for walking comfort), but I also think the comfort brands are just getting better and better at balancing style with picky feet requirements. Go Comfort Shoes Go! Added bonus…MANY of the shoes I tried are now on sale, so let’s get to it…
Pros: These Birkenstocks are my most worn shoe right now. The new big buckle design (on a slight angle) feels modern and fresh, and my feet are quite happy sliding in to these on a daily basis. I also love the color options–I debated long and hard possibly ordering a lighter color as well because I’ve been wearing the black so much. The footbed isn’t cushy, but feels really nice on the bottom of your foot due to Birkenstock’s well-known supportive footbed. The buckle is adjustable for better fit. I’ve actually raced my kids in these and although I lost (slow and out of shape), the sandals were total winners, staying on my feet just fine.
Cons: It did take me two wears to break the Birkenstocks in…the leather on top isn’t buttery soft. I was initially surprised and a bit annoyed that the footbed is EVA, but the footbed has been fine for me even on sweaty days and hasn’t deterred me from daily happy wear.
2. Born Sandals
Pros: The Born are one of my other most worn sandals so far this summer. These look good with EVERYTHING. I’ve been wearing mine mostly with maxi dresses, but they also look great with denim, linen pants and skirts. All four of the colors are pretty (tan, black, red and navy), and the studded detail gives them just the right amount of interest. Born is one of my favorite brands for flat summer shoes, because they provide a lot more cushion than other brands I’ve tried in this style. One more great thing…they have a buckle clasp, but just enough elastic that you can pull them on and off without unbuckling. I’m a lazy sandal wearer and usually hate buckles.
Cons: They don’t provide a ton of arch support and because of this type of minimalist sandal design (like all similarly styled sandals) they don’t feel super secure, so your foot slides around a bit. They also do NOT in ANY way hide scrappy looking toenails or dry scaly heels…which I’ve personally just embraced this summer.
Pros: These are SO pretty in person. The dual tan/beige coloring works well with a lot of different color schemes, the height is perfect for longer flare denim, and the design with the low cut in front is good for elongating legs (they come in a darker colorway as well). They have a buckle clasp in back, but are easy to pull off and on, and I love the vintage vibe especially with midi dresses. They took no break-in time, are comfortable, walkable, and provide plenty of support to make my feet happy.
Cons: Cordanis are designed to have a comfortable rocking action which takes a bit to get used to. I’m a fan, but I could see that some people may be thrown off a bit (especially at first). I’m disappointed they’re not photographing that well (they really are so much prettier in person), but I recognize photographic quality is not a concern for most of you guys. They’re expensive for sure..especially for a shoe you’re likely not going to wear on the daily. I’m hoping, though, that I won’t get tired of the design and will wear them for many summers to come…they feel pretty classic to me.
4. Gentle Souls
Pros: Gentle Souls are a dream to wear. They are made of high quality materials, have a nice cushioned footbed, and have chic styling (especially when compared to other comfort shoe brands). These do not disappoint. They’re cute, comfortable, and a breeze to get off and on with the velcro closure.
Cons: Gentle Souls generally are pricey for sandals, but these are currently on sale. Woohoo! I like the sporty bottom and ankle strap in theory, but personally it’s just not a style that I gravitate to on a daily wear basis.
Pros: These are a HUGE reader favorite. They’ve been around for a while, and I know many people wear them as their go-to sandal all summer long. Really soft material, super soft cushy footbed, several color options, a good price point, and a very cute style. It’s clear why it’s a fav.
Cons: For some, the buckle rests right against their ankle bone and rubs. Some readers have fixed it with a bit of moleskin. For me… they’re super comfy and don’t rub at all. I do get annoyed, though, that you actually have to buckle the clasp each time and they’re not easy for me to just slip off and on. Has anyone found a trick for this?
Pros: This cherry red is bright and playful and combined with the light wood base is absolutely perfect in terms of coloring. I also like that this particular design of Sandgrens is wider and the leather is softer than the ones I tried last year. I especially like the red with all the white summer linen. You can see me wearing these with the Voloshin X TME collaboration here and here.
Cons: These guys are expensive and you can get similar ones from Lotta here and here for less. Although the red is adorable, I don’t find myself reaching for red shoes that often these days…this summer of social distancing I’ve gotten a bit more boring with my daily shoe picks.
7. No. 6 Wedge Clogs
Pros: The leather is butter soft on these, the color is a beautiful shade of blush, and as a clog-lover, they are uber comfy and plenty supportive. They had no break-in period, feel super luxe, and look great with denim, shorts, skirts, dresses, and pants. For anyone with pale legs like mine, the color is great for elongating leg line. The wedge makes them easy to dress up or down.
Cons: They are SO freakin’ expensive. It’s ridiculous, I know. My hope, though, is these are a forever shoe that I will wear summer after summer. I will often go to Mia’s or Lotta’s for more reasonably priced clogs, but I haven’t found a similar style/color to these in those brands.
8. Steve Maddens
Pros: These are REALLY cute clogs and more budget-friendly than some of the more popular clog brands (especially on sale!). This particular cheetah print feels super summery, and they have a nice airy feel to them as well.
Cons: Although these are more budget-friendly than many other clogs, they do not feel near as luxe as my Sandgrens or No. 6’s. I haven’t worn them a ton this summer because my other clogs are just more inviting comfort wise to slide in to for daily wear.
9. EILEEN FISHER Sandals
Pros: EILEEN FISHER shoes are gorgeous. She adjusts the styles a bit and adds variations each summer, but the designs all remain pretty classic and will look elegant now as well as summers to come. The specific wedges I tried are almost sold out, but there are many that are similar. Supportive and completely walkable.
Cons: EILEEN FISHERs aren’t as soft and cushy as some of my other go-to comfort brands. Pricey, but many on super sale right now.
10. ABLE Sandals
Pros: We are huge fans of ABLE’s commitment to training, educating, and employing women so they can earn a living, break the cycle of poverty, and thrive. Also a fan of their transparency and ethical practices. You can read more here. They have a gorgeous line of sandals this summer and these come in a range of neutrals as well as fun colorways. Soft leather, beautiful materials, and I love the wood grain platform. I wear these as a pretty (but still walkable) shoe with dresses and skirts.
Cons: These sandals are comfortable, but the platform sole does not have much bend or arch support. I’m more used to a flexible sole for an everyday sandal. They run big, so follow guidance on site for sizing.
11. No. 6 Flat Clogs
Pros: I love the way these classic looking clog slides look with denim and a white tee. Easy, versatile, and stylish (without looking like you tried too hard). No. 6 is known for making high quality clogs with good materials that last forever, so I have high hopes that these will be a wear forever shoe.
Cons: As mentioned with the other No. 6’s, these are SO ridiculously expensive. I also had a bit of a hard time with sizing. I ordered my size and the size up and neither were perfect. The smaller size that I kept are a tiny bit small on me–my foot comes right to the edge which I don’t love. The tan leather is not as soft as the blush pink and took a bit to break in.
Pros: I think these are adorable and thought they were going to be my go-to slide this summer because of the cute design and cushy footbed. They’re also at a good price point for a casual summer slide.
Cons: Not enough arch support to be my go-to daily sandal. The cushiness is nice and soft, but the sole of my foot ached a bit after walking all day in these (my feet like a decent amount of arch support).
Pros: FitFlops are my picky feet’s favorite summer shoe for sure. They are supportive, super cushiony, and feel like you’re walking on clouds. My feet LOVE them. They’re one of my go-to’s if I have to walk long distances in super hot weather.
Cons: I’m not in love with the styles this year from FitFlop. Because I tried so many other cute comfy sandals this summer (and I think because I’m not doing as much walking the city as usual) I’ve been gravitating to other options. So although my feet will probably always prefer FitFlops, other shoes (particularly my Birks) have won out this season.
Pros: These are an old pair (like super old), but they’re still one of my favs that I keep in the rotation (and I like better than the newer tan ones above). Pretty much my whole extended family is fairly obsessed with FitFlops, and they wear them out and about as well as keeping a separate pair for house shoes. When asked about the MOST comfortable flip flops, I always recommend these. I can walk the city in these all day long and feel fine. When I get home after wearing new shoes that I’m trying out that aren’t super comfy, I put these on to treat my feet. They’re cushy and soft and supportive and make my feet very happy.
Cons: I wasn’t super excited with any of this year’s styles from FitFlop. Another negative is this style of FitFlop is pretty clunky. They’re fine for me, but some of my skinnier ankled friends complain that they look too big and bulky on them. They do have many styles that aren’t as clunky, but the clunky ones are my favs in terms of comfort.
Pros: I wore these last summer as my go-to summer travel sandal and continue to wear them this summer as my easy, comfy, only- shows-a-bit-of-my-terrible-pedicure sandal. They’ve been awesome two summers in a row. They are lightweight and take up no room in a suitcase. All six colors are really pretty in person, but the gold and tan are my personal favorites for go-with-everything shoes. These Borns are a thin flat shoe, so they aren’t going to provide a ton of arch support, but for me they do feel significantly more supportive and cushier than similarly styled Pons. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the rubber bottom sole—it has a bit more traction than I expected during a trip last summer where I was walking in them on slippery dirt paths.
Cons: They’re flat, so they’re not THE most flattering shoes ever for those of us with short legs and I like to say “stronger and sturdier” (i.e. bigger) ankles. Wedges are more flattering for sure when it comes to elongating my legs when wearing dresses, but I apparently don’t care (ha!) because I wear them anyway.
Okay, comfort shoe readers…what are your favorite comfort shoes this summer? And what brands are you looking at for fall? With Nordstrom Anni Sale coming up, I’m hopeful to see what options they have from Aquatalia, new styles from Born, and hopefully some new casual boots from Ugg and Gentle Souls too.