Bryce GruberUpdated: Dec. 01, 2022
Say goodbye to blisters and foot pain with these incredibly comfy picks.
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Your new favorite shoes
Ready to trade in your usual kicks for something more breathable and downright summery? Of course, you are! The best sandals for women are just as necessary to your summer-essentials list as the best face sunscreens, bathing suits, cover-ups, and sun hats—perhaps even more so since choosing the wrong ones can completely ruin your day (and your entire week) if they give you blisters and assorted foot pain. Ouch! And if you think sandals can’t provide ample arch and back support, think again. You can absolutely find a pair that’s great for your feet, cushioned and comfy, and even doctor-approved.
The first step to achieving sandal nirvana is finding the ones that fit you best. “You want to make sure the fit is accurate. To achieve that, I recommend trying them on at the end of the day, as your foot may be swollen,” says William Spielfogel, DPM, a podiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital–Northwell Health in New York City. The second step is making sure the sandals you choose have a few key features. “Having a good, supportive arch in your shoe will help to reduce any pain in your feet and provide your feet, ankles, and back with support by redistributing your weight more evenly.”
From gorgeous embellished slides to sensible walking shoes, and fromflip-flopstotop-rated Birkenstocks, all of the sandals on this list meet Dr. Spielfogel’s criteria and hit some important style notes, too. If you’re ready to say goodbye to blisters this summer, read on and start adding to your cart. You can thank us later.
Naot Wand Wedge Sandal
This high-quality shoe is one of the best sandals for women who are always on the go and looking for versatility. It offers a removable insole, arch support, and ultra-comfortable cork and memory foam footbed construction. “A sandal with a good strap is important, as is the support the middle of the shoe provides,” says Dr. Spielfogel. “If a sandal bends easily, folds, or collapses, then it most likely does not have good support.” Naot is known for its comfortable, pain-free wearing and styles that look just as cute with shorts as with business casual looks. Here are some of the best Nordstrom sandals and shoes we’re buying now.
ECCO Flowt Wedge Slide
If you’re getting throwback vibes from this classic silhouette, that’s the point. Just about everyone who lived through the late ’90s had a similar-looking pair they loved wearing. These, however, are the upgraded big sister of those fun classics—and the look is totally back in style. Better yet, the added support makes these ECCOs some of the best leather sandals out there. “Having a good, supportive shoe will help to reduce any pain in your feet and provide your feet, ankles, and back with support by redistributing your weight more evenly,” Dr. Spielfogel explains.
Teva Midform Universal Platform Sandal
Yet another vintage style made our list of the best sandals for women, and not just for their iconic look. These platform-enhanced shoes rank among the best sandals for plantar fasciitis, thanks to their modest platform and support. “Wearing flats, flip-flops, ballet slippers, or boat shoes do not provide adequate support,” says Dr. Spielfogel. “If you are on your feet for long periods in these types of shoes, it can lead to plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and stress fractures.” Instead, he suggests wearing a modest platform sandal with up to an inch in height for added cushioning. Ideally, they’ll also have some arch support like these fun-to-wear kicks do. If you suffer from foot pain, you’ll definitely want to check out these tips from foot doctors for wearing sandals.
FitVille Arch Rebound for Women
This affordable classic is one of the best sandals for walking because of its excellent arch support, upper Velcro straps, smooth suede footbed lining, and anatomically shaped cork-latex footbed. They’ll also keep your arches and heels out of harm’s way, thanks to even weight distribution and a slight platform. “Supportive sandals will also make standing for long periods of time a bit more tolerable,” says Dr. Spielfogel. That makes these FitVilles perfect for barbecues and other outdoor gatherings.
Oka-B Maxwell Sandal
You’ll want these brightly hued shoes for the beach, and quite honestly, you won’t know how you ever went there without them. They repel sand and are easy to rinse, and even better, they’re made from waterproof material that’s actually comfortable. Plus, they’re far more supportive than the average beach shoe or flip-flip, since they offer gentle reinforcement for the arches and heel cushioning. They’re definitely a better choice than many flip-flops, which often offer “no arch support at all,” according to Dr. Spielfogel. “Flip-flops should not be worn if you plan to spend the day on your feet.” These Oka-Bs also come in a variety of colors, from hot pink and lime to basic black.
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Merrell Kahuna Web Sandal
Add some color to your feet and head to your local mountain, forest, or other outdoor haven in these Merrell Kahuna Web shoes, our pick for the best hiking sandals. “The material of the shoe is important,” says Dr. Spielfogel. “Try to look for a shoe that has a breathable and durable fabric or material.” That’s especially true when you’re wearing them on rugged terrain. These vegan-friendly kicks hit all the right notes, offering nylon webbing and upper mesh, a mesh lining, an adjustable hook and loop closure, and Merrell’s famous Air Cushion technology that absorbs shock and adds stability. They also come in matching versions for the whole family.
Frankie4 LiLLi Black Sandal
The genuine leather on this goes-with-anything shoe makes it a top choice for women searching for day-to-night wardrobe essentials and an extended size range. “I tell my clients to avoid synthetic leathers,” shares Maggie Gillette, a fashion expert and stylist. “Plastic straps won’t allow your foot to breathe and are much more likely to cause rubbing than real leather or fabric straps.” The LiLLi sandal also comes in an especially inclusive size range, featuring petite sixes all the way through a women’s 13. These could even go with a stylish work top!
Dr. Liza Sandal
Yes, it’s possible to find a comfortable heeled sandal, although it’s certainly a rarity. “We all know high heels aren’t usually the most comfortable option, but sometimes you want a little extra lift,” says Gillette. “In that case, try to find a chunky heel or, even better, a variation of the wedge style that helps distribute your weight across your whole foot.” This Dr. Liza sandal is doctor-designed and offers an orthotic sole with added reinforcement, as well as more under-toe support to prevent slipping and blisters. The cushioned platform with a deep heel cup helps you stay comfortable for hours without even thinking about what’s on your feet. It also comes in a broad range of sizes to suit most women’s feet. While these sandals are definitely a splurge, they’re also definitely worth it. Plus, wearing genuine leather, high-quality heels is one of the most practical and simple fashion upgrades you can make.
White House Black Market Floral-Print Crinkle Slide
Say hello to your new favorite going-out, dress-up, and ooh-la-la shoe style: crinkle slides. According to Gillette, the best sandals for women are ones with rounded edges, no sharp buckles or straps, and friction-free materials, like in these brightly hued beauties that are made with a soft fabric. Their breathable lining and lightly padded footbed additionally make them a smart choice for events of all kinds, and they might even get you on the dance floor for a few extra hours. The modest half-inch heel offers just a smidgen of elongation to your frame, but more importantly, it adds extra shock absorption and comfort.
MIA Lunna Sandal
“Sandals with adjustable straps can help you get a more customized fit and cut down on rubbing—especially for those with wider feet,” says Gillette, adding that shock-absorbing soles can make all the difference between tolerable and incredibly comfortable. These sneaker-bottomed summer kicks are some of the best sandals for walking, thanks to platform rubber soles that add spring to just about every step you take. If you really want to step up your style, try wearing them with matching loungewear sets to look fresh and modern on your most casual days.
Rag & Co. Candance Block Heel Sandal
This happiness-inducing block heel is quickly going to become your favorite wardrobe essential. It easily makes our list of the best sandals for women because of its overall versatility, style, comfort, and soft straps that don’t pull, scratch, or hurt skin. The open toe is accented with genuine suede and a braided two-tone appearance that will wow for several years to come, and the padded, cushioned soles will leave you feeling like you’re floating on air whether you’re at an outdoor wedding, a work event, or a night out on the town. They’re also shockingly affordable at under $80, making them one of the best wedding season sandals to scoop up for summer. Find out how to make shoes last longer so you can enjoy this perfect pair for the next several summers.
Bzees Finale Peep Toe Sandal
This fun, chunky heel is an on-trend accent piece for any summer wardrobe, as well as one of the best sandals for women with wide feet, thanks to an array of wide- and medium-width sizes. They’re even better than they look (and they’re already pretty darn cute): Boasting stretch mesh and knit fabrics made of recycled, Earth-friendly linings, they slip on easily and offer a special type of rebounding foam called ComfortBoost that never quits. They also have built-in antimicrobial technology to keep them from stinking, a hazard of the best summer lifestyles, and they feel virtually weightless on your foot. The added arch support makes them some of the best sandals for flat feet, and guess what? They’re machine-washable, too.
Vionic Tide II Toe Post Sandal
You’ll wear these supportive sandals every day. The best sandals for alleviating heel pain, they have built-in orthotics proven to help treat it as well as kick plantar fasciitis discomfort to the curb. They’re lightweight, flexible, and have medium-density midsoles for all-day wear and comfort. Plus, these cute sandals come in a variety of colors, medium and wide widths, and an expanded size range of sizes 5 through 12.
Clarks Arla Glison Flip-Flop
These simple-seeming flip-flops from Clarks are more than meets the eye. They’re actually orthopedic sandals that offer cloud-like cushioning, arch support, heel support, and breathable materials that will keep you going all day. They are the best sandals for women looking for an everyday slip-on that keeps pain and discomfort at bay. They come in dozens of colors and sizes, and they’re an affordable Amazon Prime gift for the leisure-loving lady in your life.
Birkenstock Arizona Sandal
This classic sandal is a golden choice—literally. The two-strap Birkenstock sandals everyone has known and loved for decades are now available in a broader range of colors, finishes, and styles than ever before, with some of the brand’s best-sellers being upgraded with modern metallic hues. That’s some fancy footwork, isn’t it? Those who have owned and worn Birkenstocks swear by them, but for newbies and younger generations, the secret sauce is in the breathable, contoured cork footbed.
Bearpaw Meri Strappy Sandal
Another pair of the best sandals for walking? Yes, please! These Bearpaws are made with genuine suede and a durable, man-made lining that absorbs shock and evenly distributes weight. The adjustable ankle straps keep the shoes securely in place while offering you just the right fit. This casual sandal is the strappy favorite you’ll reach for when you head to the park, shopping adventures, and other outdoor fun.
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Taos Luckie Sandal
These adorable cork-soled sandals have tons of glowing reviews from customers who rave about the cushioned footbed, inclusive sizing, color options, and metallic accents that add a bit of flair. “This is my second pair of Luckie sandals,” one five-star reviewer writes. “The cork along with the rubber sole provides support and comfort. I’m 72 and can walk miles in these sandals.”
André Assous Isabela Featherweights
If you’re looking for an elegant slide, this André Assous design is sure to please. A simple, supportive footbed with a cushioned insole and layered rubber sole offers shock absorption and easy wearing, while the one-inch heel and raffia detailing add sophistication and modern style. It’s the trendy sandal you’ll want to wear with cropped denim, midi dresses and skirts, and coordinating evening leisurewear sets.
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Famolare Honey Buckle Sandal
What’s soft, cushy, and padded better than your sofa? This trendy pair of Famolare Honey Buckle sandals, that’s what. This thick-strap platform sandal offers toe detailing, two buckles, a real leather upper and lining, and enough padding to make standing seem fun. You’ll feel good wearing them, and feel even better knowing they’re all made of locally derived components from North America and produced in fair, living-wage factories. The rubber soles are also recyclable and in many cases come from renewable sources—all for a low carbon footprint fashion statement. If you love this idea, you’ll definitely want to check out these sustainable clothing brands.
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Originally Published: May 26, 2021
Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.