Looking for my perfect sandal
July 11, 2019 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Good for both walking and work with a minimalist design.

1. Comfortable. I walk for my commute every day. I like cushioned, arch support, and of course no blisters. Maybe a back ankle strap for stability.
2. Appropriate for my trendy, casual office. Leather, suede, etc. Not Tevas, Chacos, etc.
3. Modern, minimalist design. For instance, one or two wide bands instead of multiple thin strappy bands. I refuse to wear something that needs to be buckled or zipped. Slip on/in preferred but a simple velcro strap might be okay.
4. Under $100.
posted by ohsnapdragon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Something from the Madewell Boardwalk collection might suit you.
posted by mskyle at 6:51 AM on July 11, 2019

Does Camper have anything you like. IMO they are really good for walking and also good looking
posted by mumimor at 6:52 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

There were always three or four people in my somewhat trendy (museum work? artsy, at least) office wearing Gizeh Birkenstock sandals a few years ago.
posted by cpatterson at 6:55 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I wear these from Bionica all the time. Dansko is another fave of mine and they have great sandals.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:14 AM on July 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Birkenstock Pisa aren't quite two-strap, but the interwoven three straps create a very interesting effect that I get a lot of compliments on. And they're secure and comfortable enough for literally miles of walking - much more so than standard Arizona or Gizeh models.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 7:21 AM on July 11, 2019

The Arizona is the proto-typical Birkenstock, with two wide bands, made of leather; comfy arch support; slip on.

I have a pair of Granadas on my feet right now, which are a little more femme.
posted by damayanti at 7:26 AM on July 11, 2019

Keen Presidio or Rose. I have arthritic feet and Keens are comfortable and well made.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 AM on July 11, 2019

2nding Camper. Most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, and they look fab.

(Also, I don't know what trendy means to others, but Birkenstocks would not read as trendy in an office in my city. Maybe trendy on the street for someone with a specific stylistic sensibility with a historical nod, but not in an office.)
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 7:39 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

What level of casual are we talking? I feel like with their recent comeback, Tevas and Chacos are the epitome of trendy and casual (they're at Urban Outfitters!) but maybe you need a more sophisticated look? A step more sophisticated than the Teva Universal is the classic Salt Water sandal. These seem to have been kids' sandals from ... later than I was a kid, I guess, but they have that "romper room" appeal as well. Mine are silver. They look great with everything.

Some others that I don't own myself, but which seem to hit that style x comfort dovetail pretty well:
Vionic wide-strap platform
Pons avarcas
Ethically fabricated huaraches
Relatively open with a closed toe, in case you have Toe Shame (I'm sure your toes are great, but sometimes we all get self-conscious.)
A great price on Fly London platform wedges (see Park Slope McDuck comment below)

Caveat: my style is Bohemian Park Slope Stay-At-Home-Mom but my spending is Scrooge McDuck. And the only Brooklyn I go to regularly is Brooklyn, Ohio (no joke, it's a suburb of Cleveland by the airport.) So make of that what you will. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:46 AM on July 11, 2019

I said "sophisticated" about Salt Water sandals but I should have said "indoorsy". I'm not sure that "sophisticated" and "adult sized version of sandals that kindergartners wear to Mother's Day Brunch" belong in the same sentence.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:47 AM on July 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

(Also I love Camper but they always fit me badly -- I kept a pair for a decade as literally exhibit shoes, because they were beautiful and handmade but also painful. It is weird to dust a pair of shoes you keep just to admire.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:48 AM on July 11, 2019

AND FINALLY on reread I realized that a couple of my options do technically have buckles; the Salt Waters I just pull on and I think the Fly London are velcro.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:51 AM on July 11, 2019

I'm very picky about sandals too (fuck a buckle, for real), but I think it might be hard to find something that can slip on, yet is good for walking and doesn't give you blisters. Just structurally speaking.

I will say, I googled "trendy walking sandals" and got a ton of results - maybe start there? I was going to pull a few options to show you but there are SO MANY!
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:59 AM on July 11, 2019

Salt Waters don't have arch support. Madewell shoes in my experience are heavy (and without support.) Camper never worked for me, but everyone's feet are different I guess.

Birkenstock Gizehs have carried me through the last 7 or 8 years and a pregnancy, I guess they're not fancy but I can walk miles in them and nobody at my office has ever looked twice at me (jeans are ok at my office.) In my opinion getting them in actual leather rather than Birko-flor vegan leather makes them more durable and they wear in better. They come in metallics, look at Nordstrom for the fancier options? I've also had the Mayari style and liked it.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:03 AM on July 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

Oh also when I’ve had a subway/walk commute Born and Clark’s were in the rotation heavily. Quality highly variable.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:07 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I heartily endorse the Pons Avarcas, if they are sandal-y enough for you. I get a fresh pair every summer, take a couple of days to break them in, and then walk in them absolutely everywhere.
posted by redfoxtail at 8:09 AM on July 11, 2019

Consider Naot. I don't personally love the look of their slip-on styles, but they are great for comfort and there are definitely certain styles that read as more minimalist/dressy/appropriate for the office. Arch support is there, which in my experience is very hard to find in a sandal.
posted by CiaoMela at 8:33 AM on July 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

These are not cushioned but they are quite comfortable and I get many compliments:

Target sandals
posted by mai at 8:41 AM on July 11, 2019

Wolky sandals are fabulous. They’re great to walk in, I think they’re cute, they hold up well (my first pair lasted for 10 years of mostly daily summer wear).

They’re pricy, but they have some on sale, and my first pair I got from Sierra Trading Post in significant discount.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:07 AM on July 11, 2019

I have the suede versions of these in two colors and they are the comfiest sandals I own. It makes no sense but it's true!
steve madden sandals
posted by amycup at 9:08 AM on July 11, 2019

Seconding the Birkenstock Gizeh sandal. This has been my go to sandal for years. I also need good arch support, and Birkenstocks are great for that. I think it looks nice enough for casual office wear; I also think it's a little more current looking than some of the other styles. If the back ankle strap is important to you, they make a version of the Gizeh that has a back strap, although I've never worn it: Birkenstock Kairo.

Depending on your personal style, some other Birkenstocks you might consider:

Yara (this one has a wrap around ankle strap)

The Gizeh is the only one I've personally worn, but I think the arch support should be equally good for all of these.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:05 AM on July 11, 2019

I'm wearing Birkenstock Mayaris at work right now!
posted by phunniemee at 11:22 AM on July 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

So, yeah, the easy to put on and back strap parts might be in some conflict with each other, while velcro might conflict with your desire for something more modern or minimalist. Having said that...

You said no Chacos or Tevas, but sometimes the outdoorsy folks make good crossover sandals. Chaco has some nice leather options right now that I suspect are pretty easy to put on, even though they have buckles. And they'll have good footbeds.

Keen has a few leather sandals too, including this one with a buckle and this one with velcro.

(Alternatively: sandals are so lightweight it would be pretty easy to carry a nicer pair for work while wearing something more supportive on your walk; you could also leave a pair or two at work.)
posted by bluedaisy at 12:22 PM on July 11, 2019

You might like these Clarks, which kind of remind me of some Madewell styles but might be slightly more comfortable for walking.
posted by pinochiette at 12:23 PM on July 11, 2019

Born varies a lot, but they fit my feet very well, so I keep going back. I have similar requirements in sandals and you should look into Oconee, and I'd expect Bernt to be high quality, supportive and comfortable. Also possibly these or the Fremont. For all of those, the thick rubber sole is key. All of those should be slip-on, including the first one with the buckle.
posted by Dashy at 1:03 PM on July 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding Naot, which can be a bit over your ideal price range if not on sale, but soo well made and repairable, they will last. I got these about 6 years ago, have easily put several hundred of miles on them, and they're still the most comfortable sandals I own.
posted by shelbaroo at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2019

I've ordered three pairs of Born sandals. Hoping one of them is "it." Thanks, all.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 2:36 PM on July 11, 2019

In case the Borns don’t work, I own a pair of Vionic Kirras and they’re the comfiest sandals I own - better than my old birks and Tevas and Chacos and Borns and everything else I’ve owned and tried on.
posted by umwhat at 4:19 PM on July 11, 2019

Chacos are the epitome

Chacos have very little cushioning for heelstrike or standing. I had to switch to breathable Merrill trailrunner-type sneakers.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:15 PM on July 11, 2019

For future-searchers : I own these rockport sandals, and they are insanely comfortable. I wear them to work, and take public transit so there's a lot of walking. Velcro, minimal amounts of straps, my foot doesn't slide around at all, no blisters, etc. I have wide feet, plantar fasciitis, and a couple other minor structural foot problems, and I love them. They're on sale for $48.
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:02 AM on July 12, 2019

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