Yes, folks, it’s sandal season. Summer’s the time to let your feet breathe, but there’s also a lot of action to be had. You need footwear that gives you that Big Lebowski chill-out feel but still performs if you are boating, combing the beach, or even headed on a hike. But before you pick out your go-to sandals, bear a few things in mind. Mostly, the people who have to look at your feet.
Celebrity groomer Marissa Machado works with good-looking and style-conscious guys like Rami Malek and Zachary Levi. And when it comes to men and sandals, she doesn’t mince words.
“I truly believe if a man is going to show his feet they need to be presentable,” says Machado.
This means, guys, go get your toes handled. “Men can go to any nail shop for a pedicure,” says Machado.
But if this too, well, out there for some guys, they can DIY things at home.
“Fill a large bowl or bucket of sorts with hot water and a pinch of epsom salt and soak for about 5-7 minutes. After your feet are good and soft, clip nails to desired length. Use a cuticle pusher and clipper to clean up dead skin around the toenails. Finish by filing the nails for smooth edges and you’re flip-flop-ready,” says Machado.
Pedicures aside, when shopping for sandals or flip-flops, the American Podiatric Medical Association recommends you opt for leather ones, because they minimize blister potential. Make sure your feet fit snugly and don’t hang off the edge. And don’t wear sandals or flip-flops when walking truly long distances, because many don’t offer enough shock absorption or support.
That being said, the following sandals can handle all of summer’s fun, give your dogs some breathing room, and look the part when you are just hanging out with a mojito.
If you prefer the closed-toe option, no judgements. So slip on these Chaco sandals, which also double as hiking shoes.
Pros: Damn, we love these Chaco sandals. They’re all-terrain, feel like you’re going barefoot, and go from land to water to drinks. There’s a breathable mesh upper, and synthetic overlays for toe protection. The midsole is antimicrobial so your feet don’t smell.
Cons: We only wish the heel strap was a bit tighter.
Both casual and comfortable, this Timberland sandal has a removable orthotic for added support. This means you can wear these all day.
Pros: With these Timberland sandals, you get uppers made with leather and a handy hook-and-loop closure. Plus, the brand boasts about its Smart Comfort system technology, which gives wearers all-day comfort and support. Plus, these shoes are breathable, so you won’t deal with foot stench.
Cons: The soles are slippery, say customers.
These sandals are casual enough for dinner, but rugged enough for a light hike, thanks to impressive traction.
Pros: Sandals can get gross, fast. And that’s why you’ll appreciate that this sandal, which has three adjustable straps for closure, also features an EVA topsole with Microban zinc to provide anti–microbial protection.
Cons: These can take a while to break in, but that can apply to any shoe.
We never thought we'd say this, but these are some damn fine-looking Teva sandals. It's an athletic sandal featuring patterned webbing with adjustable hook-and-loop straps.
Pros: Long gone are the days of tacky Tevas. Instead, we have this style, which feel like you’re wearing socks but still bring a nice element of style. The quick-drying straps keep you comfortable in water and on land. And the print is on point.
Cons: They can run on the narrower side.
We like these Columbia sandals because of their Techlite footbed and frame for solid cushioning and impact absorption, plus their adjustable straps across the instep and the convertible heel.
Pros: You won’t slip and slide in these sandals, thanks to their high-traction grip helps prevent slipping on wet and dry surfaces. Plus, these Columbia sandals have a multi-terrain traction system works in various weather conditions.
Cons: Of course, it’s a matter of personal taste. But fashion-forward, they’re not.
We like these Teva leather sandals because they have outdoor traction and a contoured footbed.
Pros: It may look and feel like a casual flip-flop, but this Teva sandal thong is built for action. The leather upper not only feels good but it also keeps the kick secure on your foot. Best of all the outsole grips to rocks and dirt like a hiking boot. And it’s treated with an anti-stink tech that ensures you will still have friends after spending your entire summer in the same shoes.
Cons: Sure, you can play Frisbee (and even boulder) in them, but they are still flip-flops and not the best choice for more adventurous pursuits.
Sandals that go from lunch in town to a trail hike? Yes please. These Oboz sandals are built for all kinds of slippery surfaces with a higher grip and traction forefoot and heel area.
Pros: Montana-based Oboz adds an extra strap here to the the usual flip-flop and the result is a super-minimal, airy shoe that gives all the freedom of a flip-flop but can withstand a casual hike. With a non-slip outsole that can grip to wet rock, it’s the ideal shoe for fly fishing out of a drift boat or river trips when you want to get out and explore side canyons, but don’t want to haul along an extra pair of boots.
Cons: The two-strap setup is more secure but takes a little getting used to.
A water shoe/sandal meant for hiking? This is it. It has ventilated construction for fast dry-out times and a siped sole for traction in and out of the water. The Merrell sandal has a lace closure, a lycra neoprene lining for extra comfort, an EVA footbed for moisture control, and an EVA midsole for stability.
Pros: You truly can’t go wrong with Merrell, sandals that do much more than let your feet breathe. You can segue from swimming to hiking without breaking a sweat.
Cons: At 1.5 pounds, these shoes are not lightweight.
These sandals don't look like much, but they're actually meant for action. They're your sandal if you plan on hiking, running, doing yoga, rafting, or kayaking. They're flexible enough to roll up and fit in your pack.
Pros: A sandal that’s also a trail shoe? Why yes, that’s what you get with the Xero. The sandal promotes natural posture with its non-elevated heel. The sandals are fast-drying and water-resistant. And the flexible soles follow the natural contours and movements of your feet.
Cons: The straps can rip after prolonged wear and tear.
Here’s the sandal for that dude who refuses to wear closed shoes.
Pros: With a plush footbed that keeps your foot secure as if it were in boot and a tough outsole that can eat up the trail, this sandal has the pedigree of a serious shoe. Plus the classic Chaco fit system, which includes a big toe loop to keep everything battened down ensures the sandal does not flop around when you are out on a serious hike or exploring a remote canyon.
Cons: The strap system can take some futzing to adjust and some people simply do not like the feel of the big toe loop.
Pure comfort. Few sandals feel as cushy and natural on your hard-working feet than Birkenstocks, thanks to the iconic brand’s cork footbed that molds to the idiosyncrasies of your feet the more you wear it while still supplying lots of support.
Pros: These Birkenstock sandals have soft leather straps, coupled with a cork footbed, and you have the perfect choice for everything from just lounging in some dad time around the house to dancing away to Phish at your favorite festival.
Cons: Most humans have a love or hate relationships with Birks. You may love them; be prepared for some others to hate them.
Pros: Ecco’s tough Receptor outsole and plush midsole mean this sandal can handle long days of touring ancient ruins or running through airports. It also provides lots of stability up top with a combination of Nubuck leather and neoprene that keep your foot in place but still offer enough breathability to deal with humid weather and sloshing around in the water.
Cons: It’s a lot of sandal at two pounds, which may defeat the whole purpose of an open-toed shoe.
If you just want a basic flip-flop that keeps your feet protected from burning-hot beach sand and the gross floors of a public shower, this is your ticket.
Pros: But there’s a lot more here than you get in cheap thongs you buy for $5 on the boardwalk. The soft footbed and grippy sole mean you can ride waves in these babies and they offer up just a dash of arch support. Toss them in your bag when you hit the road.
Cons: They are not beefy enough for extended hikes and too minimal for airport travel.
Now this is sandal the ancient Greeks would approve of: It’s made of 100 percnent leather and makes you look like you own a yacht or can proselytize from a beachfront bar.
Pros: These sandals also feel damn good on your feet. Credit a lot of that comfort to the soft footbed, which is bolstered with an extra layer of shock absorber underneath your sole.
Cons: You gotta be that guy who can rock the mandals. Are you that guy?
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