The 20 Best Summer Shoes For Women – Essential Shoes To Complete A Summer Wardrobe

Yousra Attia

Listen, I like boots. I practically hold back my tears as the sun starts to burn and I’m forced to slide my beloved Chelseas to the back of my closet or else my feet will burn. But the summer shoe season has its perks: First, the huge range of shoes available for shopping.

Winter is naturally restrictive; there are only so many styles that can survive several months of cold, gray slush. But summer means both open-toed and closed-toed designs have free rein. And with so many summer events — vacations, weddings, cocktail parties, long walks on the beach, baseball games, casual Fridays at the office — there are more excuses than ever to fill your cart.

Of course, that also means there are a bewildering number of options to choose from. While a winter capsule wardrobe is uncomplicated, summer brings a million different styles of sneakers, sandals, flats, heels… the list literally goes on. To make storing your shoe rack a little easier, we’ve narrowed down the options to 20 essential summer shoe styles, including the all-important pool slide, dependable slip-ons and a dressy sandal you can wear to parties and weddings all season long. Happy feet make for a happy summer.

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A dressy sandal

Carile Sandal

Every closet needs at least one pair of event-ready sandals. I’m a fan of this summer’s braided strap trend, and this Kelly & Katie pair features an elegant (yet accessible!) square heel.


A sustainable sandal

Arizona waterproof slide sandal

There’s a reason they’re the unofficial shoe of the summer: Birkenstocks have been put to the test by a very ardent fan base. I recommend this waterproof pair for its ability to survive sun and splashes.


An entry-level sandal

The dusty rose of Azura

If you’re looking for a pair of comfy slip-ons but worried they’ll fly off your feet, this pick from Bells and Becks is your answer. The buttery leather is snug enough to keep the shoes snug to your feet, but soft enough to feel every bit of luxury as you hop from dinner to drinks. I carry mine everywhere.


A Slingback Sandal

Desert Kiss Sandal

I’ve had my slingback Skechers for a few years now and believe me when I tell you these shoes have seen things. Notably, they’ve endured miles of concrete streets, soaked from rain and pool water, and carelessly crammed into many a suitcase…and they’re still kicking.


A pool slide

Sunshine Slide Sandal

These sturdy quilted slides are luxuriously plush, but don’t worry, they’re tough enough to handle sand, salt water, and chlorine without complaint.


A thong sandal

Leather sandals decorated with Marmont logo

The tried-and-true flip-flops are a summery item that will definitely transcend trends. Elevate yours with a Gucci logo in gold.


A high heel sandal

Lesley Sandal

Whether for weddings, boardrooms or cocktail parties, a dependable pair of high heeled sandals should be the priority in any capsule wardrobe.


A low block heel sandal

The Block Sandy ankle strap sandal

If stilettos scare you as much as I do, believe me: a chunky block heeled sandal will save you unnecessary ankle pain. This pair from Rebecca Allen looks luxe yet casual.


A colorful pump

high heel pumps

Summer is the open toe season, but there are always one or two occasions that warrant covering up. Give your favorite pair of pumps an adventurous hue for the season.


A soft loafer

the starling

Unfortunately, not all summer days can be spent at the beach, so when I go to the office and haven’t had a chance to touch up my pedicure, I opt for these cushioned loafers from Birdies. Whether dressed up (with a skirt) or down (with cropped jeans), they’re always stretchy, supportive and chic.


A flat with closed toe

Huarache Flat

The woven pattern on these closed-toe flats makes them scream summer vacation even when you have to wear them to work.


A white sneaker

Old Skool sneaker

Chances are you already have a beloved pair of white sneakers on your shoe rack, but if you’re looking for a fresh new pair for summer, Vans’ classic Old Skools never get…well, old.


An entry-level sneaker

Cahlvan sneaker

I’m not too proud to admit that there are days when I don’t feel like tying my shoelaces. That’s the simple pleasure of a good loafer: no effort, maximum comfort, with the benefits of a sneaker and the style of a loafer.


An all-terrain sandal

Midform universal canvas sandal

An absolute must for the adventurous among us. If your summer takes you anywhere near a hiking trail, you’ll want these plush yet super strong Tevas to take you to the next view.


A mule with a heel

Lupita leather wedge sandals

Sheer straps and heels are another burgeoning trend this season, and Amina Muaddi’s glassy block heels contrast beautifully with the timeless leather mule.


A flat mule

Majjik Mule

If you often suffer from shoe-caused heel abrasions, these flat mules are the ideal alternative. Backless but close to the toes, they are a business casual favorite for the warmer months.


An espadrille wedge

Lulu Espadrille Wedge Sandal

Beach promenades and espadrilles belong together. These platform wedges – spot the trendy braided straps! – provide just the right amount of height without sacrificing comfort.


An Espadrille Flat

Espadrille Casual Flatform Sandals

If you prefer not to waddle on platforms, a flat with espadrilles is the way to go.


A Fisherman’s Sandals

Voss Fisherman’s Sandals

Loved for its durable boots, the brand makes equally resilient sandals, available in this sleek yet edgy angler style. Team them with cropped, wide-leg denim and a tucked-in linen shirt for a casual, resort-ready look.


A gladiator sandal

Preslen Gladiator Sandal

The gladiator sandal is back for summer 2022, mostly in the form of a lace-up hybrid. With a strap around your calf and a sturdy back that supports your heel, these Crown Vintage sandals may take a walk or two to break in, but after that they’re endlessly wearable.

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