Five pairs of chunky sandals you’ll wear all spring and summer
It’s the season for awkward shoes that are both practical and pretty,
When model Adut Akech posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a combo that could have come straight out of a manga (Japanese comic book), she jumped straight into the pages of Vogue. For the record, she wore a bright red mini dress, but what really caught the eye were her shoes – a chunky pair of black leather Prada combat boots.
Extreme and cartoonish, these boots feature huge treads, inch lacing, and four removable nylon zip handbags that loop around the calf, both stamped with the iconic Prada triangle. (Perhaps it’s the addition of these that justifies the $ 3,150 price tag.)
This feminine / utilitarian mix, one of fashion’s ‘have your cake and eat’ style compromises, has been playing out on the streets for quite some time now: miniskirts or flowing dresses acquire an instant attitude when worn. with a pair of Dr Martens. work boots.
While I love the idea of ââtying romance together with a little no-frills practicality, wearing boots in summer conjures up images of Glastonbury to me. Since I’m not going to a music festival anytime soon, I’ll go for the urban alternative: clumsy sandals.
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Connoisseurs were talking about Birkenstock’s collaboration with designer Jil Sander long before the launch date in June. What wonders would these two German fashion giants – the sandal makers known for their hippie ergonomic comfort and the luxury minimalist design house – be up to?
Well, the star player turned out to be the Arizona Jil Sander Cream, a pair of vanilla leather double-strap flat sandals with a matching leather-lined cork footbed and exaggerated bumper sole. Purist beauties, they looked both organic and sculptural, as if carved from a solid piece of white chocolate. They sold out and I’m still a little sad.
I love Birkenstock. I wear them with bare legs and matching opossum / cashmere blend socks that in my head look earthy, artistic and slightly Italian, although in reality they probably just look shabby, like I’m left the house with my slippers on. No matter. Anyway, I am encouraged by the comfort.
It’s not often that you’ll see podiatrist-approved shoes in the fashion spotlight and Birkenstocks is in good company. Teva, the heavy velcro tramping sandals, also have a trek-chic moment, although its Flatform Universals take it up a notch. Classic nylon webbing (100% recycled) foot straps are elevated on a flat, lightweight platform that combines pretty ugly functionality with a little extra fashion. Teva’s nod to the ’90s is probably the easiest way to wear a platform.
The most economical designer of the moment, Gabriela Hearst, put her leather schoolgirl sandals on flat soles and yes they look like a dream (especially when she sent them to the catwalk with knits in chevrons) but I wore a version of these ankle twists for the first time. Heavy soles that don’t bend with the foot can make you walk like a geisha. This time, I will revel in the transition to comfort.
The prettiest hiking sandals (and for pretty, read colorful, not dainty) are at Karen Walker’s Playpark, where they stock cult Japanese brand Suicoke. Blue and yellow nylon straps crisscross a molded sole and clip around the foot like a practical backpack, ready for fashion adventures.