17 Gravel-Grinding Wedding Guest Shoes Perfect For Dancing On Uneven Ground

Pictured: Reformation Mia Platform Sandals.
Summer wedding season has always tangoed with the high potential for an alfresco setup. Beachside and patio nuptials relegated to the Sun Belt and more tropical locales during the fall, winter, and early spring, are now fair game for all hopeful “I do” sayers. So if you’re heading to a wedding in June, July, August, or the fair-weathered month of September, you’ve got to be ready to rumble with uneven ground — and we mean this literally, no ambiguity to the couple getting married. Comfortable wedding guest shoes are always a nice-to-have but become a strategic part of your overall look if you anticipate walking, standing, or dancing on gravel, grass, or sand. 
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Comfortable heels may not even be part of the ensemble equation if your invitation promises a picnic in the park or a bonfire by the sea because kitten heels or other styles of slim, low-heeled dress shoes could render a walk to your seat as arduous as a Tough Mudder obstacle course. So, this list of chunky summer platforms, lug soles, flats, and other comfort shoe brand options sticks to suggestions that give you the best chance of pleasantly partying outside. You can always go barefoot if you can withstand some sole scalding or dirt between your toes but if you want a functional sandal to complete your wedding guest look, one of the 17 pairs ahead — in order from least to most gravel-grinding — could be your ticket to summer wedding outfit bliss. 
There's not too much to say about these sparkly slides in the way of gravel-grinding potential. But they are flat, have a bit of a rubber sole, and you certainly won't be teetering around in them. Style-wise they've got a sort of wrong-but-right Y2K flash that would look equally good with a dress at a wedding as with a pair of blue jeans and tee at another time. Score them now while they're on sale for 50% off.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
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This pair of eye-catching flat slides from the luxury slow fashion brand Brother Vellies, helmed by CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award winner Aurora James, features a trendy puffy knotted design and rubber soles for traction. The batik-dyed cotton canvas comes in three color options and is a dreamy, airy option for a casual outdoor affair.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
Leveling up — not in height, but in stay-on power — is a pair of high-shine strappy flats with extra sparkle that can match a more formal dress code or snazz up a more casual look. The addition of an ankle strap brings with it the promise of high-flying dance moves without the worry of losing a shoe mid-air.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
If you've recently purchased shoes for your own wedding, you may be familiar with the women-owned small business Kailee P. Run by longtime friends and fashion footwear biz vets Airin and Tammy, this shoe company is known for its comfortable white, "something blue," and pale pink dressy flats and low-heeled bridal shoes. The brand is not to be overlooked by wedding guests who want to jump into the conga line of happy customers. There are dozens of styles and convertible options available in its Etsy shop, and each item ships free to US customers.
Available Sizes: 5.5 - 11
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Rothy's newest shoe features a breathable knit upper made partially from plastic bottles. The brand beloved by comfort-forward people promises "no break-in period, ever" and for anyone doubting the look for a wedding, there's plenty of dressy outfit inspo featuring The Square Wrap on its Instagram page.
Available Sizes: 5 - 13
This pair of sweet scalloped metallic wedges had a heel height of two inches and a cushy contoured footbed to keep feet feeling fresh all night long. It's one of the daintier shoe styles on this list and comes closest to a slimmer heel for those looking for a bit of height and an elegant look.
Available Sizes: 4 - 12
These espadrilles might not be the cheapest of Amazon hidden gems, but they're certainly high on the list for artisan quality. Viscata Barcelona, a made-in-Spain premium shoe company, uses all-natural textiles and hand wraps each jute rope soul like they always have. Amazon is the chosen US distributor, so a pair of traditional, comfortable espadrilles are just a Prime click away. There are dozens of colors, styles, and heel heights to choose from on Viscata's Amazon storefront.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
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While handmade-in-Spain espadrilles are the dream, there's always something more fiscally attainable around the corner within the maze of Amazon. Qonetic (don't mind the omitted "u" in the brand name) ankle strap espadrilles tout a high-quality thermoplastic rubber outsole and "comfort latex mattress insole" for what we'd imagine might be the best night's sleep your feet ever had — or at the very least some extra padded softness in your step.
Available Sizes: 6 - 11
The Reformation shoes pictured in the opener image of this article are the Mia Platforms, and this equally chic pair that come in five lustrous evening-ready colors are called the Maize. The 15-millimeter platform and 75-millimeter heel ensure some nice lift without the painful arch, and its hunky, chunky silhouette will help you move across uneven patio pavers with some stomp and shimmer.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
One of the occupational hazards of working on the Refinery29 shopping team is shopping your own story. And this shoe is one that made this author break out her own wallet for an upcoming outdoor wedding weekend later this summer. Aerosoles, known for well, airy soles, applies its signature diamond flex sole — designed to disperse friction and provide better grip and comfort — to this crepe rubber-heeled platform mule with a soft leather metallic upper. So smooth, so squish, so simple — so in the checkout cart they go.
Available Sizes: 5 - 12
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Quite possibly the most practical shoes on this list, the best-selling, top-rated, comes-in-dozens-of-colors Sam Edelman Loraine loafer. With a little sleuthing, you can find these on sale in several corners of the internet but a classic black (rarely on sale, boo) are a choice pick to match with floaty, gauzy midi dresses, sleek pants, a matching shorts suit, fancy mini skirts, heck — anything. By choosing a classic loafer, you're gainfully forfeiting any hazards of heels, exposed toes, and digging straps. Plus, you've now got a classic pair of investment loafers to wear for years.
Available Sizes: 4 - 13
The difference between Sofft's core line of trendy but versatile shoes and its lower-priced Eurosoft by Sofft is that the latter uses synthetic upper materials rather than real leather. This cuts the cost down by nearly half on its top-selling signature mule. Here's the Sofft "Aneesa" mule on Nordstrom for $120 — not bad but its more affordable little sister, the "Caelyn" slide has a nearly 5-star rating with 127 happy customers and counting. This affordable, goes-with-everything slide has a brushed cotton lining to help avoid scratching from seams and a cushioned comfort footbed to make hours of standing a breeze.
Available Sizes: 6 - 11
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The reviews on this top-selling pair of Madewell sandals say it all. "Pedestrian-friendly," "super comfy and easy to wear," "strong straps to withstand an all-day walk," "shocked how comfortable they are," and the jewel of public and word-of-mouth reviews, "I’ve been telling my friends to buy it and I got another pair!" They feature a lug sole, responsibly-sourced leather, and Madewell's Cloudlift padding. They also come in a few half sizes for that just-right fit.
Available Sizes: 5 - 12
When the classic Dr. Martens Oxford is introduced, you know you've reached the real gravel-grinding portion of this comfortable wedding guest shoe list. The famously utilitarian shoe beloved by pogo-bopping crowds 'round the world is supported by Goodyear-welted soles. They take a while to break in, so don't go wearing these for the first time to your special event. While not designated as a formal shoe in the traditional sense, the Dr. Martens Oxford style makes for a mean pairing juxtaposed with feminine ruffles or completing a menswear look.
Available Sizes: 5 - 13
The snake-print design on these lug sole sandals brings interest to a simple outfit, but its neutral colorway will match nearly anything. These stompers have an adjustable strap and a flat, padded sole that feature a subtle contrast of dark green. It's a fun shoe that will obliterate any worry about grassy paths or keeping up dance stamina at the after after party.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
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Cole Haan's trademarked GRANDFØAM footbed sports superior comfort and flexibility for ultimate foot happiness. While it is a sportier look, the all-black-everything style is sleek enough to shimmy into a cocktail affair fairly incognito. And if not, who cares — we're talking comfort-first here. These best-selling sandals have over 460 reviews and counting and are on sale at Cole Haan, and Zappos for a limited time.
Available Sizes: 5 - 11
When they see you coming in these Sorel Kinetic sandals, they'll know you mean business. Once you're strapped into these gravel-grinding works of art, nothing is getting in your way. Who's helping to bring all the ceremony seating up the hill to the tented reception? You are. If cannonballing into a pool is on the docket, these shock-absorbing, velcro adjustable zig-zag wonders that mold to your feet don't even need to leave them. Outdoor wedding season turf has met its match.
Available Sizes: 6 - 12


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