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20 Different Types of Sandals to Consider


When you think of sandals, you usually think of a time when the weather starts to warm up. Many people think of traveling or having a good time during the summer months. However, you may not realize that there are so many different types of sandals. As a matter of fact, there are so many different types that it can be easy to slip into a pair of your favorite sandals without even thinking about the fact that you probably have several different styles in your closet. Below are 20 of the most revered (and sometimes most infamous) types of sandals. Just for fun, they’re ranked from 20 to one. That being said, you know almost everything related to fashion is subjective. Without any further delay, here’s the list. See where your favorite style ended up.

20. Slides

Just like the name implies, these are some of the most basic sandals you can choose. They are literally designed to allow you to slide your foot directly into them, hence their name. The shoes cover your foot just behind the toes, allowing the rest of the sandal to move with you as you walk. Some people love the freedom of wearing shoes like this, especially when the weather gets warm out. For others, they can be hard to walk in.

19. Leather Sandals

This can include any type of sandal made from leather material. Some people very much prefer leather over practically anything else while others aren't particularly fond of it when it's used for sandals. It's a sturdy material and it usually works well because it can be dyed a variety of colors. The material also holds up well over time. The only drawback is that leather sandals can sometimes develop a certain odor, largely because they're often worn without socks or any type of foot covering. Despite that potential drawback, they are a very popular option.

18. Heels

Surprisingly, some people don't think about heels when they're thinking about sandals. It's almost as if they categorize the shoes in two distinctly different camps. Technically, heels are indeed sandals. That's because they don't cover the entire foot, sometimes covering everything but the top of the foot and sometimes leaving the toes exposed. Either way, they can be some of the most elegant types of sandals that you'll ever wear. Depending on the exact type of shoe in question and your personal preferences, they can also be among some of the most uncomfortable shoes you'll ever come into contact with.

17. Wooden Sandals

A lot of people forget that wooden sandals are even a thing. They definitely aren't the most popular types of sandals out there, and because of that fact, they can even be quite difficult to find. They're also not the most comfortable shoes in the world, offering no flexibility whatsoever. After all, you are literally walking on a wooden block that has a strap attached to it. Nevertheless, they are quite popular in some parts of the world. They may not be your next choice for a fashion statement, but some people wear them on a routine basis.

16. Flip Flops

Flip flops come in a variety of colors and can be made out of practically any type of material. Some are made from leather, some are constructed from foam rubber and others are made from synthetic plastic. They also come in a variety of different styles, such as flats or wedges with straps of different widths. They're some of the most versatile shoes out there and while they don't work well for all types of situations, they are almost perfect for spending time around the pool or even just lounging around the house during a lazy summer afternoon.

15. Sling Backs

If you like the idea of wearing slides or flip flops, yet you're not completely comfortable with the idea of not having anything to support the back part of your foot, sling backs may be the answer for you. They have a thin strap that goes around the upper portion of your heel, leaving the lower portion of the heel exposed. In short, they cover as little of your foot as possible while still providing enough support to make sure that they stay securely attached to your feet while you're walking.

14. Wedges

Another popular type of sandal is the wedge. They're not flats, but they're not really heels, either. Just as the name implies, the sole of the foot is designed in a wedge shape that provides elevation at the back which gradually decreases as you move progressively closer to the toe. They make you feel taller when you wear them and they provide an added level of elegance without forcing you to walk on something that isn't much bigger than the head of a pin, such as when wearing some heels.

13. Tatami Sandals

These are some of the most ancient types of sandals on the planet. They’re also widely regarded for their comfort. They have a flat heel and they look like a flip flop at the toe, yet they also buckle around the ankle. This makes them easier to wear, especially for those who find that flip flops don’t provide enough support or stability.

12. Rope Sandals

Rope sandals are another variation that you don't really see available for sale all that often. The top portion of the shoe is indeed made from braided rope that can be dyed virtually any color. That rope can then be tied or pulled through a clasp in order to secure the shoe to the foot. In some cases, the design features a single piece and you merely slip your foot into them. They may not be particularly easy to find, but a lot of people do enjoy wearing them, so once they figure out where they can get their hands on them, they typically purchase several pairs at a time.

11. Metallic Sandals

The really cool thing about metallic sandals is that they can come in virtually any style. It doesn't matter if you're talking about heels or flip flops, metallic designs are all the rage right now. They definitely add a little bit of bling to your overall ensemble, regardless of what style the particular shoe in question might be. They also have a tendency to make virtually any style of shoe look a little bit dressier than it actually is, even if you're talking about flip flops with flat soles. The design seems to be especially popular on wedge designs as well as various types of heels.

10. Flat Sandals

This is a catch-all term for a type of sandal that can be made from any material that also has a flat sole. They're often popular because they are relatively comfortable and easy to wear. The one caveat is that they don't tend to provide a great deal of arch support, so if you have issues in that particular area or you have chronically sore feet, they may not be the best option.

9. Rubber Sandals

It might be hard to believe, but rubber sandals have become a huge fashion trend recently. The thing is, they don't look like they're made from rubber in any way, shape or form. In fact, it's virtually impossible to tell by looking at them that this material is incorporated in any capacity. They also tend to have more flexibility than other types of sandals because of the material that they're constructed from, often making them more comfortable. Another reason they're so popular is that they can be dyed virtually any color and they can also be sprayed off with a water hose and left to dry in the sun anytime they get dirty. They're practically indestructible and they couldn't be easier to care for.

8. Lace Sandals

On the other side of the spectrum, you have sandals that are made from lace, a very delicate material. They make a great option when they are incorporated with heels or wedges, especially if you want to wear them on a night out and incorporate something special into your outfit. However, they also get dirty easily and they're not the easiest to care for, so it's important to remember that fact whenever you decide to wear them.

7. Gladiator Sandals

A few years ago, gladiator sandals were all the rage. They're not as popular today as they were back then, but you can still find a few pairs available here and there. They have thin laces that attach the remainder of the shoe to your foot, intersecting and criss-crossing back and forth all the way from the toe to about halfway up the calf muscle. In some other cases, the laces stop just above the ankle bone. Either way, they take a bit of time to put on and take off. The good thing about them is that they're definitely not likely to slip off.

6. Hiking Sandals

When you think about going hiking, sandals are probably the very last thing you think about. Nevertheless, they do exist. They are far more robust than traditional sandals, with a thick, flexible sole that supports your foot. They’re also more secure around your foot. However, they don’t completely cover the foot, something that seems a bit odd if you plan to spend the day hiking.

5. Running Sandals

Just as in the case with hiking sandals, the very idea of running sandals seems a bit odd. By their very nature, they're not as likely to provide the support that most people need when they run, even though they feature reinforced soles with extra support built into them. The thing is, a good portion of your foot is still exposed and every time you pound your feet onto the pavement, your foot gets jarred into the webbing a little bit further. If you're able to wear these shoes comfortably, knock yourself out. That being said, that's probably not the best option for running, even if you think they're comfortable at the time. Running in improper footwear is one of the worst things you can do for your body and it's something you'll likely end up paying for years later.

4. Block Heels

This is the perfect type of sandal for a person who really wants to wear heels, yet has trouble walking in traditional heels that don't offer a lot of surface space to support the back of the foot. Instead of the traditional heel, these are more like elevated blocks. For most people who have trouble walking in heels, this provides the added level of stability needed to be able to walk comfortably. They also go well with virtually any type of outfit so it doesn't matter if you're wearing them to work or in a casual setting, they go well with practically anything.

3. Stilettos

Somehow, there are people that are completely comfortable wearing stilettos, those heels that are tall and narrow to a fault. Others wonder how anyone even manages to stand still in these things, much less walk. If you fall into the first group, that's great for you. If you fall into the second group, you might be more comfortable with block heels or even pumps, which will be discussed in just a second.

2. Kitten Heels

This is a great design because it's a low heel that's relatively comfortable and the heel of the shoe itself is carved out just a little so that it looks slightly more delicate than if it were straight from top to bottom. They were very popular back in the 1940s and they've been popular ever since. They look great and they're usually far more comfortable than you would think, which is why they have remained such a steadfast option for so many decades.

1. Pumps

Finally, one of the most popular types of sandals is the pump. They look like heels in every respect except for one major change. They are actually flats. If you like the way that the top of the shoe is designed in a more delicate manner with regard to heels, yet you simply cannot walk in those things, then this is a great option for you. It's a more sophisticated option that looks great in the boardroom without making you feel like you're about to twist your ankle with every step you take.

Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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