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The sun is finally out which means only one thing - it’s time to unleash your tootsies and let them see daylight after months of being hidden away in your winter boots.
Buying new shoes should be fun, right? But if you’ve ever found yourself the unfortunate owner of ill-fitting, uncomfortable sandals, you may now feel stumped and overwhelmed by the choice of summer footwear out there. And let’s face it - when it comes to sandals, it’s very easy to get it wrong.
It’s certainly a hot topic on our Style and Beauty forum each year. Take this Mumsnetter who laments: “I really struggle to find comfy sandals that don't end up rubbing my feet in various places after an hour or so, leading to blisters and whatnot.”
But wouldn’t it be wonderful to find a pair of sandals that ticked every box, including style and comfort? Well, we’re here to tell you that it IS possible to find the sandals of your dreams.
Whether you’re looking for leather sandals, hiking sandals or the best sandals for narrow or wide feet, we’re pretty sure that your go-to summer sandals are lurking in this round-up.
Here are the best sandals for women in 2021.
1. Best overall sandals for women: Saltwater Sandals
Price: From £64.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I've had my tan pair for years and they look brand new.”
“Very comfy and go with everything. I basically wear them all summer.”
A surefire winner every single year, these Saltwater Sandals are a staple summer favourite for Mumsnetters.
They're tough and hard-wearing, and they come in lots of colours. We particularly like the rose gold colourway, which looks très chic when paired with blue denim.
They are also the best waterproof summer sandals we’ve found - ideal for nipping in and out of the water to retrieve beach toys and paddling children, as required.
OK, they’re not cheap, but for such a brilliant all-rounder we’d say it’s money well spent. As one satisfied Mumsnetter says: “Worn them to death at festivals, uphill and in the sea etc. and still look hardly worn. I baulked at the price when I bought them, but they've done well.”
2. Best budget women’s sandals: Sanuk Yoga Sling Sandals
Price: From £22.47 | Buy now from Amazon
“I've had several pairs of Sanuk Yoga slings. Very comfortable, stay on your feet well, and there are lots of different colours.”
If you’re not looking to spend too much of your hard-earned cash on a pair of summer sandals, you may well like the look of Sanuk Yoga Sling Sandals.
These thong flip-flops feature a padded yoga-mat footbed and stretch cotton straps with a wrapped toe post for added comfort. They’re also available in a rainbow of shades to match any summery outfit.
Some reviewers say that they’re more suited to narrow feet so bear that in mind if you’re wide of foot. We also can’t verify if they’re any good for doing actual yoga but, if you’re in the market for elegant yet reasonably priced summer sandals, these may well float your boat.
3. Best women’s sandals for comfort: Ecco Flowt Sandals
Price: From £51.77 | Buy now from Amazon
“I buy a pair or two from Ecco each year and find them really comfortable. And usually reasonably stylish!”
“My new Ecco sandals arrived yesterday; extremely comfortable and I think they look great! 'Flowt' sandals.”
These Ecco Flowt Sandals offer unrivalled support and comfort, according to the fashion mavens on our Style and Beauty Talk boards.
Their top comfort score is all thanks to their three foot straps and heel support, while the gladiator-style design keeps them on-trend and stylish. The gentle wedge sole means that your lower back is well supported as your foot isn’t flat to the ground.
The black version could be easily added to any outfit. But if you’re looking for something with a bit more pizazz, there are plenty of other colours of this comfortable summer sandal available, including snazzy red chilli and chic warm metallic.
4. Best casual sandals for women: Teva Women's Original Universal Sandals
Price: From £33.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I wore a pair pretty much non-stop for a whole year on a round-the-world trip. I hiked in them, walked miles around city pavements, wore them in the sea/rivers and they still had tonnes of life in them when I got back home.”
“I just bought Tevas from Amazon - they came yesterday and are fab. I got them to wear for sightseeing and walking on the beach with a pair of shorts and a vest top.”
Tevas feature adjustable grosgrain straps and a comfy textured footbed – good news for your tootsies. One happy Mumsnetter reports: “Really comfortable. I think they look better than most walking sandals, including with dresses. I love them so much that I have them in three colours.”
Style-wise, you’ll probably either love them or hate them and they may not be the thing you’re after for a chic city break (although, let’s face it, your tired trotters would probably thank you).
However, they’re ideal for a laidback beachy vibe or for long summer walks. Loads of colour combos mean there's something to suit every wardrobe too.
5. Best women's sandals for narrow feet: Toms Sicily Sandals
Price: £42 | Buy now from Toms
“I have Toms sandals and find them more comfy than Saltwater sandals.”
Mumsnetters rate Toms shoes and sandals as being super comfy AND stylish - that’s the holy grail of summer sandals right there, folks.
Toms Sicily Sandals may suit you if you’re looking for a dressier sandal that doesn’t sacrifice support for your feet. Thanks to the cushioned insole, walking in them, even for long distances, won't be a problem.
Available in four colourways - black, macadamia, silver and tan - these soft leather cross-over sandals will suit narrow to medium-width feet according to independent reviewers.
You may also be interested to know that Toms - a company that has always held a strong ethical stance - has promised to donate a third of their annual products to local community-focused organisations.
6. Best women's sandals for arch support: FitFlop Walkstar
Price: From £60 | Buy now from FitFlop
“I expect I'll be wearing FitFlops for about the sixth year since I discovered them. They help my back and all my joints when standing all day on a hard floor, and I can walk for hours and hours (the proof is how I feel the next day!).”
“Their plain black flip-flops with a sleeker strap and toe post genuinely look good.”
These toe-post sandals will look equally stylish and summery whether you’re having lunch in your local beer garden or picnicking in the park.
Mumsnetters love FitFlops because not only do they look chic, they have a cunningly hidden squidgy base within the wedge sole, which gives you some extra height while protecting your feet and supporting your arches.
FitFlop Walkstar comes in a range of snazzy colours including rose gold, red, black, bronze and midnight so you’re sure to find something to suit your style. However, they may swamp you if you have narrow tootsies as the manufacturer say they’re designed for wider feet.
7. Best smart sandals for women: Office Hallie Cross Strap Espadrille Sandals
Price: £52 | Buy now from Office
“Oh my gosh - they are amazing. I’ve just spent four hours walking in them. Very comfy! My feet look pretty in them.”
“Office Hallie sandals are unbelievably comfy and look good. Lots of colours as well.”
If you're looking for a stylish summer sandal without too many frills, the Office Hallie Sandals may well be your best bet.
Smart enough to wear to work or to host a barbecue in your garden, these slightly wedged cross-strap espadrille sandals come in a range of subtle shades and will complement any outfit.
As reviewers report that these sandals are as comfortable as they are stylish, you should remain blister free and chic at the same time.
8. Best sandals for wide feet: Birkenstocks Gizeh Sandals
Price: From £39.52 | Buy now from Amazon
“Birkenstocks for me. The shaped footbed is great. And they don’t smell.”
With a special moulded footbed to ensure maximum comfort and available in lots of colours, Birkenstocks Gizehs tick lots of boxes.
Smarter and less clumpy than traditional Birkenstocks, they’re just as good for an evening meal as they are for traipsing around town.
They come in an extensive range of colours and, as they’re available in a narrow and wide fit, they should suit you even if you have wider feet.
One Mumsnetter waxes lyrical about her faithful Gizehs, saying: “I have them in three colours. They are THE most comfortable summer sandal for walking in and, unlike the traditional strap Birks, they work with a skirt or dress. Love them.”
9. Best walking sandals for women: Merrell Women's Terran Lattice Sandals
Price: From £39.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“Merrell! So comfortable, so practical, but also elegant. They do lots of different styles of sandals, some very pretty (in my opinion) but all with a proper trekking sole. Because I do a lot of walking/running around but have quite a feminine style I really don't like clumpy classic trekking sandals and prefer to wear dresses in summer. These have been a game-changer for me.”
The super comfy Merrell Women's Terran Lattice Sandals have all the technical details you’d expect from a proper outdoor footwear brand, such as a soft microfibre insole, memory foam base and reassuringly grippy soles.
Despite being so practical, however, these leather hiking sandals are much less bulky than other walking sandals we’ve seen.
For that reason, they wouldn’t look out of place on a beach holiday or with a sun dress. As one Mumsnetter advises: “I have walked miles in them and the straps are thin enough that they aren't completely fugly.” High praise indeed.
10. Best sandals for petite women: Timberland Malibu Waves Sandals
Price: From £39.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“My last two pairs of sandals have been Timberland. They've lasted brilliantly, are very comfy and still have some style (to my untutored eyes at least).”
Living up to the brand’s reputation for style and durability, these Timberland sandals are trendy yet sturdy.
The suede upper is embossed with a subtle pattern that adds interest to the sandal, while the cork wedge sole offers underfoot support, grip and a bit of added height, making them great if you’re on the petite side.
Mumsnetters love that these sandals are as comfy from the first hour of wear to the last. Available in a range of colours including black and tan, you’re sure to find a pair to complement your wardrobe. Be warned though - reviewers say that they fit on the small side so you may need to size up.
11. Best stylish women’s sandals: Sam Edelman Gigi Wedge Sandals
Price: £60.40 | Buy now from Sam Edelman
“I love Sam Edelman Gigi sandals. They're slightly cushioned while still looking fashionable and dainty, and I can really pound city pavements in them.”
Comfort doesn't have to mean clunky, as these sleek Gigi Sandals from Sam Edelman prove with aplomb. The footbed is well cushioned and there's an adjustable ankle strap too, improving fit without sacrificing style.
Available in granite green or cheetah, the Sam Edelman Gigi Sandals are stylish and flattering enough to wear to a posh party or to the office without the worry of hobbling home with sore, aching feet.
They’re hardly cheap, but they’re a great investment buy as they’re so versatile and timeless.
12. Best lightweight sandals for women: Hotter Tourist 2 Sandals
Price: £39 (usually £59) | Buy now from Hotter
“I love my Hotter shoes! My feet thank me every day that I wear them.”
“They last for ages and are very comfortable indeed, while still being reasonably presentable.”
If you're all about comfort, then Hotter sandals are what you're after. According to Mumsnetters, these Tourist 2 Sandals - an update of Hotter’s best selling Hotter Sandals - are blissful to wear.
They come in a range of lovely colours including tan, gold and rosey pink and are available in four widths - slim fit, standard, wide and extra wide - so you’re almost guaranteed to find your perfect pair unless you have extremely awkward feet.
Lightweight and easy to throw on, these sandals will stay on your feet in the summer heat too thanks to the elasticated adjustable toe and ankle straps.
What are the most comfortable women's sandals?
Ecco Flowt Sandals offer unparalleled comfort for your feet while FitFlop’s Walkstar Sandals offer arch and heel support thanks to their clever design. Musnetters also say Hotter Tourist 2 Sandals are like walking on clouds.
What are the best walking sandals for women?
Merrell Women's Terran Lattice Sandals are the best walking sandals for women we’ve found thanks to their memory foam sole. For a great-value walking sandal, Teva Women's Original Universal Sandals provide durability and comfort at a very reasonable price.
How we chose our recommendations
Our suggestions for sandals for women came from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums and from consumer reviews on the web. We consulted independent review sites for opinions about products to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of sandals for women in 2021.
Why you should trust us
Mumsnet has been helping make parents’ lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.
We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.
Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.
Lead image: Office