We’ve all been there: it’s blazing hot and you’re on the way to an occasion that requires shoes that aren't your go-to trainers or flats. Whether it's an alfresco brunch, fancy drinks, or a baby shower perhaps, you've likely employed some strappy leather sandals to do the trick. Then about ten minutes into your strut to the station, you're hit with a slowly building sensation.
The shiny leather is already starting to rub, the straps feeling like a boa constrictor growing tighter around your ankle. With every step the pain gets worse and, to your horror, the sweat is making the dye run onto your skin. Do you give up and return home for your trusty Birks or hope the bottomless mimosas will numb the pain? It's a modern day nightmare!
But what if there was another way? Could there be a style of strappy sandal that felt both undeniably chic and comfortable? This was the question burning into my brain as I recently assessed my severely lacking shoe collection. So, I embarked upon a noble quest.
After spending far too long researching alternatives to blister-inducing sandals, I eventually discovered three softer styles that I hoped would provide more gain than pain. For the sake of science (and to end my reputation as a barefoot partier) I tested them out by walking and dancing in them in the summer heat. Now, here are my thoughts.
Strap Material: Fabric
Style Points: If you're looking for a head-turning shoe, these neon numbers from Mango are the way to go. From the bright colour to the super-long straps that lace all the way up the leg, you simply can’t ignore this statement pair. Plus, the off centre knotting adds even more flair, instantly turn any average 'fit into occasionwear – the perfect day-to-night accessory.
Comfort Level: While these have the highest heel of the three, they're still pretty sturdy thanks to the sculptural ‘trumpet’ heel. When it comes to the cord, the fabric was actually more rigid than I was expecting, which helped to keep the straps on tight throughout hours of filming TikTok videos (trust me, it's a work out). Great news for anyone sick of tripping over their ties!
Strap Material: Rope
Style Points: First things first, these shoes a great option for eco-conscious shoppers as Alohas keep the environment at the heart of their business model with carbon offseting and on-demand production. When it comes to aesthetic, they're your perfect ‘barely there’ sandals. The neutral colourway will match just about any outfit and the knotting detail gives the girlies a lil somethin’ somethin’, making them an ideal shoe to match with every different wedding guest dress you'll wear this summer.
Comfort Level: Okay, these might technically be cheating due to the leather base, but we all know that the pain factor of a strappy sandal is usually in the straps. In the case of these Alohas sandals, the straps are made from cotton rope ties. My first concern was that the rope might cause significant digging, however its unique netting made for pretty comfortable coverage and didn't tug around the toes or ankles. You just might find walking in these a little harder because of the slimmer heel.
Strap Material: Suede
Style Points: Standing at the lowest height of the bunch, these shoes are perfect for those wanting something that says smart and sophisticated. The square toe and matching square heel work to create a heightened simplicity, in a very ‘Rosie Huntington-Whitely goes for coffee’ kind of way. On top of this, the length of the ties mean you can style the shoe in different ways every time you wear them; a great choice for versatility.
Comfort Level: Alright: suede is leather – you’ve got me there. But unlike the shiny leathers and pleather sandals that cause massive chafing, this suede is soft AF. With this pair in particular, the straps are flat and ribbon-like, therefore causing barely any digging into the skin. Though the softness can make the straps a bit loosey goosey at times, these sandals are a great option for longer days. For wedding goers this summer, you can nix that extra a pair of flip flops from your bag, hurrah!