The 9 Summer 2021 Sandal Trends and 5 Sandals You Need

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Summer is right around the corner. It’s time to put your ankle boots away for another season and splurge on a pair of summer sandals.

With the rise of athleisure and activewear, sandals have replaced stilettoes and open-toe heels as our summer go-to.

Current fashion trends are all about putting comfort first. Is there anything more comfortable than a pair of sandals?

We’re rounding up all the top sandal trends for summer 2021. After a year of wearing slippers and sneakers, it’s time to book in for a pedicure and treat ourselves to a new pair of sandals.

Elle Fanning, Hilary Duff, Lily Collins, and Bella Thorne wearing comfy summer sandalsElle Fanning, Hilary Duff, Lily Collins, and Bella Thorne wearing comfy summer sandals (Credit: WENN)

With temperatures rising and the beach calling, sandals are the only shoes you want to be wearing this summer.

Our ultimate style guide includes our top picks for sandals, so you can click ‘add to bag’ before these styles sell out.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the 2021 summer sandal trends, which ones to buy, and where to purchase them!

It’s no surprise that most of the sandal trends are having a throwback moment. If you’ve taken a scroll through TikTok or Instagram, you’ll know that everything from the ’80s to the early 2000s is the current source of fashion inspiration.

You can expect to see lots of sandals that you (or your aunties!) might have worn growing up. Grab a pen and take some notes!

1. Elevated Flip Flops

Flip flops are no longer just to wear to get your nails done. These shoes are often overlooked and thought of as the shoes you wear at a spa to keep your pedicure polished.

Michael Michael Kors Angela Kitten Heel Flip Flop, Vince Camuto Sabrinda Flip Flop and Marc Fisher Faren Kitten Heel Flip FlopMichael Michael Kors Angela Kitten Heel Flip Flop, $99 at Nordstrom, Vince Camuto Sabrinda Flip Flop, $98.95 at Nordstrom, and Marc Fisher Faren Kitten Heel Flip Flop, $109.95 at Nordstrom

These sandals are unique though as they take the ’90s flip-flop and adds a kitten heel. We think these shoes are the perfect way to get back into wearing heels without jumping in at the stiletto deep end.

DKNY Platform Leather Flip Flops, Stella McCartney Tubular-Sole Flip Flops, Osoi Boat Leather Platform Flip FlopsDKNY Platform Leather Flip Flops, $169 at Farfetch, Stella McCartney Tubular-Sole Flip Flops, $325 at Farfetch, and Osoi Boat Leather Platform Flip Flops, $303 at Matches Fashion

If you’re not ready to get back into heels (or if you’ve sworn off them!), you can swap the heel out for a platform sole. You can act like you’re an extra from Legally Blonde in these quirky flip flop sandals.

2. Fisherman Sandals

If there’s one thing we learned during the pandemic, it’s that nothing beats comfortable shoes. Fisherman sandals are a ‘dad shoe’ that we’re seeing everywhere this season.

They are both stylish and functional, feeling like a throwback to the shoes we would have worn as a kid.

Church's Leather Fisherman Sandal, To Boot New York Santorini Fisherman Sandal, The Row Fisherman Leather SandalChurch’s Leather Fisherman Sandal, $590 at Saks Fifth Avenue, To Boot New York Santorini Fisherman Sandal, $275 at Saks Fifth Avenue, and The Row Fisherman Leather Sandal, $990 at Mytheresa

You can find fisherman sandals that work for every budget – whether you prefer rubber or leather. These shoes have a low or flat heel making them a must-have for your summer vacations and beach trips.

What we love about this trend is that you can wear these shoes with anything. Whether it’s a midi-dress, maxi skirt, or denim shorts, these sandals work with any outfit.

3. Birkenstock Sandals

Ah, the faithful Birkenstock sandals. They may have started as the OG ‘dad shoe’, but they’ve become beloved by fashion bloggers across the spectrum.

Even Chanel has come out with their version of this trending sandal. You can find budget-friendly options from H&M or Zara or splurge for the originals by Birkenstock.

Birkenstock Arizona Two-Strap Sandal, Birkenstock Gizeh T-Strap Sandal, Birkenstock Mayari SandalBirkenstock Arizona Two-Strap Sandal, $86 at Farfetch, Birkenstock Gizeh T-Strap Sandal, $100 at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Birkenstock Mayari Sandal, $99.95 at Zappos

These sandals give casual chic a whole new look and add a touch of bohemian vibes to any outfit. Birkenstocks are another versatile sandal trend, and you can find them in different materials – from velcro to leather and rubber.

Birkenstocks are the shoes that bring together comfort and practical style. Whatever your mood is, these shoes will always be your summer go-to. If you can only pack one type of sandal for your summer vacation, you will want to take your Birkenstocks.

4. The Puffy Square-Toe Heel Sandals

Bottega Veneta has become one of the ‘it’ luxury brands of the moment, making a legendary comeback in the fashion world. Bottega has influenced almost every trend we’re seeing right now.

The padded and puffy heel sandals give you the best of both worlds – you get the look of a kitten heel and the functionality of a flip flop.

Proenza Schouler Square Toe Red Mule Sandals, Bottega Veneta BV Lido Beige Lamb Leather Sandals, Steve Madden Thai Heeled Turquoise SandalsProenza Schouler Square Toe Red Mule Sandals, $730 at Shopbop, Bottega Veneta BV Lido Beige Lamb Leather Sandals, $1,270 at Mytheresa, and Steve Madden Thai Heeled Turquoise Sandals, $89.95 at Zappos

While Bottega is the brand behind the trend, everyone from Steve Madden to Zara and Proenza Scouler has released sandals in this style. What we love about this trend is all the color that it’s bringing to our closet.

You’ll find these sandals in every color of the rainbow, making them easy to incorporate into your wardrobe.

5. Logo Slides

The slide trend shows no sign of dying. If you’re heading to the beach or spending the summer by the pool, slides are the ultimate sandals for you. Whatever way you fall on the ‘socks and slides’ debate, these shoes have gone from being a fad to a summer trend every year.

The most popular slides are the ones that incorporate brand logos and monograms. You can find these logo slides from everywhere, like Adidas to Gucci or Nike.

Nike Victori Slide Sandal, Gucci Agrado Interlocking G Slide Sandal, Adidas Adilette Aqua SlidesNike Victori Slide Sandal, $30 at Nordstrom, Gucci Agrado Interlocking G Slide Sandal, $350 at Saks Fifth Avenue, and Adidas Adilette Aqua Slides, $24.95 at Zappos

Whatever your budget is, you can add slides to your closet. There is a pair out there for everyone to match your aesthetic and style. Slides are easy slip-on shoes that you can leave next to your lounger at the pool or throw into your overnight bag.

6. Colorful Sandals

If there’s one thing that unites all the sandal trends, it’s color. The brighter the color palette, the better. We’re seeing signature summer colors make a bold comeback with sandals this year. Some of our favorites include bubblegum pink, mellow yellow, and sea blue.

When it comes to choosing the right colorful sandals, you want to think of a shade that works with your closet.

Nine West Cati Lime Green Sandal, Ancient Greek Sandals Ikaria Jelly Sandal, Carlotha Ray Laser-Cut Scented Orange Flip FlopsNine West Cati Lime Green Sandal, $69 at Nordstrom, Ancient Greek Sandals Ikaria Jelly Sandal, $99 at Farfetch, and Carlotha Ray Laser-Cut Scented Orange Flip Flops, $210 at Matches Fashion

Sandals are the shoes that you’ll find yourself wearing all summer long, so it’s worth investing in a pair to see you through the season. You can match your sandals to your signature color palette or choose a shade that will ‘pop’ against your go-to summer looks.

If there’s any time of the year to experiment with color, it’s the summer. Along with colors, it’s worth checking out prints, including stripes and polka-dots. The more of a statement that the sandals make, the better!

7. Gladiator Sandals

Amina Muaddi is one shoe designer that we always go to for shoe inspiration. If there’s one silhouette that she’s known for, it’s gladiator sandals. What makes this trend so popular is that there are two ways of rocking it.

You can stick to the classic gladiator style or make it sultrier by taking the straps up your legs and adding a kitten heel.

Amina Muaddi x AWGE LSD Embellished Leather Sandals, Free People Anya Gladiator Sandals, Sam Edelman Jamila SandalsAmina Muaddi x AWGE LSD Embellished Leather Sandals, $1,510 at Mytheresa, Free People Anya Gladiator Sandals, $98 at Zappos, and Sam Edelman Jamila Sandals, $130 at Zappos

If you’re celebrating or want to make a statement, take a leaf from Amina Muaddi’s book and choose a crystal pair. These sandals will add a touch of drama to any look. If sparkles aren’t your preference, you can keep it classic with tan leather gladiator sandals.

Gladiator sandals are the perfect way to get back into wearing heels after the pandemic and a year of wearing sneakers. With gladiator sandals, you don’t have to worry about slipping out of your heels or running around in sky-high stilettoes.

These sandals add a touch of romanticism to any look and are a minimalistic alternative to court heels for a casual wedding or family event.

8. Kitten-Heeled Mules

Mules are the ultimate dressed-up sandal. They’re the shoe you want to reach for before a night on the town or when you’re celebrating a birthday or big event.

These shoes are perfect for wearing for brunch, allowing you to dress them up or down depending on your lifestyle.

By Far Lana Open-Toe Dark Brown Mule, Rejina Pyo Black Leather Kitten Heel Mule, Wandler Ava Kitten Heel MuleBy Far Lana Open-Toe Dark Brown Mule, $468 at Nordstrom, Rejina Pyo Black Leather Kitten Heel Mule, $440 at Farfetch, and Wandler Ava Kitten Heel Mule, $502 at Farfetch

Open-toe mules are the go-to choice for an elevated shoe for summer. If you’ve got a summer wedding coming up, these are the shoes you want to splurge on.

9. Barely There Sandals

When you’re wearing sandals, it can feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. If you’re a fan of fake tan or have a sun-kissed glow, these sandals will accentuate your summer color and add a seductive twist to your look.

The barely-there straps will elongate your legs, whether you choose a kitten heel or a higher heel.

You have two options with this trend. You can choose a skin tone shade for a minimalistic look and add a ballerina pink polish or go all out with vibrant colors.

Sergio Rossi Ankle-Strap Sandal, Stuart Weitzman Ellsie Strappy Sandal, Schutz Desta SandalSergio Rossi Ankle-Strap Sandal, $695 at Farfetch, Stuart Weitzman Ellsie Strappy Sandal, $470 at Farfetch, and Schutz Desta Sandal, $118 at Nordstrom

This trend first jumped onto the scene in 2019 and was the ‘it’ show of the season, making a major comeback for 2021. You can make these shoes easier to wear by choosing a style with fewer straps.

The simplicity of these shoes is what has made them a timeless summer sandal trend. Whatever your aesthetic is, you can incorporate these shoes into your summer closet.

After a year of shopping for activewear, loungewear, and sneakers, you could be forgiven for having no idea which sandals to buy.

For our ultimate summer sandal guide, we’re rounding up a few of our top choices for the season. We’ve chosen a variety of price points and brands so that there’s something that works for everyone.

These sandals won’t be in stock for long, so it’s worth picking your favorites and making an impulse purchase. Trust us. You won’t regret it!

1. Jacquemus ‘Les Tatanes Lin’ Leather Platform Flip-Flops, $505 at Net-A-Porter

For your platform flip-flops, the Jacquemus are the perfect splurge purchase for this summer.

The '90s-inspired Les Tatanes Lin platform flip-flops debuted on Jacquemus Spring 2021 runwayThe ’90s-inspired Les Tatanes Lin platform flip-flops debuted on Jacquemus Spring 2021 runway

These shoes were released as part of the brand’s Spring 2021 runway collection, but they’re wearable shoes that you can live in all summer long.

These ‘90s-inspired sandals are easy to wear and a classic option that every fashion follower will love. The chunky platform is an ideal alternative to a high heel or mule shoe.

2. Zara Low Heel Square Toe Topstitched Sandals, $29.90

When it comes to budget-friendly options, Zara is always our go-to. These sandals are an easy-to-wear style that you can throw into your beach tote or carry-on bag.

Square toes add a modern appeal to these affordable classic leather sandalsSquare toes add a modern appeal to these affordable classic leather sandals

They have a classic vintage feel and will work with anything in your closet. You’ll want to pick up these sandals before they become an instant sell-out.

3. Jeffrey Campbell Landen Sandal, $149.95 at Nordstrom

Remember those fisherman’s sandals? These are the top of our wish list for summer 2021. They add a touch of retro-chic to any look and are amongst the most versatile shoes that you can wear.

The Landen fisherman-style sandals from Jeffrey Campbell bring a retro-chic feel to any lookThe Landen fisherman-style sandals from Jeffrey Campbell bring a retro-chic feel to any look

The strappy style makes them perfect for wearing for brunch with your girlfriends or for a walk in the park. You have three color options to choose from, meaning you’re guaranteed to find a colorway you love.

4. Stuart Weitzman Moxie Sport Sandal, $295 at Saks Fifth Avenue

For platform ‘dad sandals’, we love this mid-tier option from Stuart Weitzman. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to athleisure or the sporty aesthetic, then these are the summer sandals for you.

Add a touch of sporty chic vibe to your look with these strappy chunky platform sandalsAdd a touch of sporty-chic vibe to your look with these strappy chunky platform sandals

The rubber sole makes these sandals easy to wear and ideal for going through any climate or terrain.

The leather gives these shoes a luxurious and elevated feel, making them the perfect investment for anyone who has fallen in love with ‘dad sandals’ but doesn’t want to break the bank with Chanel shoes.

5. Gucci Rubber Logo Platform Slide Sandal, $360 at Mytheresa and Nordstrom

What we love about these shoes is that they bring together almost every summer sandal trend. You get a pop of color, the iconic Gucci logo, and the mule and slide style all in one.

Whether by the pool, beach side or a casual stroll, these Gucci rubber platform slide sandals will make a chic addition to any outfitWhether by the pool, beachside, or a casual stroll, these Gucci rubber platform slide sandals will make a chic addition to any outfit

These chic square-toe slide sandals have a chunky heel and a platform. If you want to update your flat slides, these are the shoes for you. The Gucci slide sandals are available in multiple colors, including porcelain light blue and ballerina pink.

We hope this ultimate guide for summer sandals has given you the inspiration you need to refresh your closet. These shoes are the must-have style of the season and will be the shoes you wear all summer long.

What we love about sandals is their versatility. Unlike heels or boots, you can wear sandals almost anywhere. Our guide has a mixture of comfortable everyday sandals and special occasion options.

Once you’ve found your favorite style of summer sandals, they’re an instant ‘add to cart’. Don’t forget to book in for your pedicure before embracing the sandal trends!

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