Sandals stopped being a fashion choice around the time German tourists adopted them as a uniform. Like the bulky cargo shorts guys from Düsseldorf often pair them with, sandals are a victim of their own design. Sturdy and breezy, they make perfect sense when you’re strolling over sun-scorched pavements. And because fashion hates function, that utility means they’re also adept at killing looks. Or, at least, they were.
In a piece of rebranding Justin Bieber would kill for, sandals have become an honest-to-goodness trend and infiltrated every major runway this season. At Bottega Veneta, that bastion of Italian swagger, dual-strap sandals were even paired with chunky socks. As Vogue put it, “[come 2016] German package tourists will be the very height of chic.”
As our Teutonic cousins know – and as the ancients learned long before them – sandals are the footwear grail when temperatures rise. “Beyond aesthetics, you need to consider comfort and convenience,” says David Morris, shoe buyer at Mr Porter. The sandal’s open design allows air to circulate around your feet, but pick a chunky enough sole and you’re sure-footed on-road or off.
Not that you should do your sandal-shopping in a mountaineering store. Where your dad favours sweat-inducing nylon and plastic, the front row’s version is all natural. “Soft leathers are good, because they’re breathable,” says Giles Farnham, head of River Island’s Style Studio. “They tend to give a lot, so choose a snug pair.” But nothing so cosy your toes hang over the end.
When it comes to styling, stick to cuffed trousers or chinos, which flash your footwear and stop any unsightly fabric puddling. A strict summer shoe like the sandal also works best with warm-weather fabrics; think a low-key cotton-linen suit, with a crisp tee and as much insouciance as you can muster.
But even without bum bags and football shirts, sandals veer irredeemably tourist if your feet look a mess. “Go for a pedicure,” says Farnham. It’s a moment of discomfort for feet that are actually worth seeing.
Birkenstock Mayari Cross Strap Sandal
The classic Birkenstock has endured since the 1960s. And for good reason; the cork sole is flexible and the straps minimalist, but effective. Unlike your yoga teacher’s favourite sandals, the Mayari’s straps wrap around your big toe. Which keeps your look from veering too classic.
Available at Birkenstock, priced £59.95.
Hudson Matto Woven Leather Sandal
If you’re wary of going foot full-frontal, this Hudson sandal-loafer hybrid lets you dip a mostly covered toe. The woven leather adds texture, which means they play nice with more rugged (and rather warmer) fabrics. Consider these your ideal transition from pool to drinks to the late-night walk home.
Available at ASOS, priced £80.
River Island Brown Back Strap Sandals
Hit up the Med in sandals fit for an emperor. Thick, intertwining leather, set-off with a gold buckle, gives any look a Classics edge.
Available at River Island, priced £25.
Adidas Adilette Textured Rubber Slides
Practical, easy to pack and last season’s most unexpected trend, pool sliders are your newest holiday essential – and no-one does them better than the Three Stripes.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £25.
Mango Buckle Leather Sandals
Crafted in Spain from 100 per cent bovine leather and featuring a traction rubber sole, these Mango sandals will quickly become your new wear-anywhere summer shoe.
Available at Mango, priced £39.99.
Kurt Geiger London Kalil Navy Sandals
Kurt Geiger has given the traditional thong sandal a modern twist by reproducing it in navy leather complete with a sporty white rubber outsole. Slip them on with everything in your warm-weather wardrobe, from linen trousers to jersey shorts.
Available at Kurt Geiger, priced £135.
A.P.C. Vlad Sandal
These murdered-out sandals from Parisian label A.P.C. are perfect for those who like to wear black head-to-toe no matter what the thermometer says. Crafted from the finest Italian leather and featuring a Microcellular plastic outsole, they’re as comfortable as they are slick.
Available at End Clothing, priced £209.
Teva Original Universal Sandal
Green is undoubtedly the colour trend of the season, which makes these Teva sandals an easy way to dip a toe. Just avoid pairing them with anything too military-inspired, to sidestep any squaddie on holiday vibes.
Available at End Clothing, priced £35.
ALDO Turoc Sandals
ALDO butches up the classic sling back by subbing out flimsy straps for wide leather versions, with their brown colouring meaning they’re a shoo-in for teaming with both selvedge denim and light neutral chinos.
Available at ALDO, priced £65.
Dries Van Noten Leather And Grosgrain Sandals
Grosgrain-and-leather straps elevate Dries Van Noten’s sandals from your poolside basics, so they’ll work in the city too. Sandals are inherently relaxed though, so what’s around should match. “Try tailored shorts and an unstructured blazer for an easy summertime look,” says Morris.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £260.