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It may be snowing outside, but my head is already in summer mode. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about my summer wardrobe and all the cute sandals I can’t wait to wear. Maybe it’s because I sat in my apartment in fuzzy socks for the entirety of last year, but a girl could seriously use a vacation—and a reason to show off my pedicure. Luckily, these 2021 sandal trends will help me do just that—even if I can’t do it on a beach.
I’m usually more of a sneaker person in the summer, but I feel like 2021 is going to be the year that I dive into sandals head (Feet?) first. Plus, all the trends this season are too fun to ignore, from puffy padding to maximalist feathers. I’m especially excited about that last one—who would have thought that the feathered heels that I used to play dress-up in as a kid would be back in style?? Certainly not me.
Don’t worry—there are more minimalist sandal trends to obsess over, too. Flatforms are back in full force this summer, proving just how big a difference tacking on a few extra inches can make. At 5’2, It’s safe to say I’m personally quite stoked about it. Another big look is heeled flip flops, spotted on celebs like Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski and Rihanna (!!).
See what I mean? These trends are certainly worth investing in! Keep reading to see and shop a few of my favorite styles for 2021. Just don’t be mad at me when you end up buying a few pairs in the process.
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It’s all about the puff this year. While puffy bags had their moment in 2020, the trend has taken over footwear in 2021. Think cushioned little pillows your feet that feel as good as they look. I personally can’t think of a better sandal substitute for my well-worn 2020 slippers.
These Mango sandals are at the top of my To-Buy list. They’re a bit out of my comfort zone, but I might splurge on them (Read: They may or may not already be in my cart). If you’re bored of your usual summer shoe selection, why not give a padded look and a neon hue a try?
Fairy Slide Sandal
I lived slides last year, so it’s not shocking that I would want an updated pair in 2021. I’m picturing this baby blue cushioned pair with a white sundress. The vibes are immaculate!
Wide Fit Nadalie Padded Heeled Mules
The modern slanted heel on this pair of mules may look expensive, but they actually retail for just $40. You’ll wear these everywhere: They instantly make a pair of denim cutoffs look a little more elevated and are great to have in your bag if you’re running from errands to a date night.
The classic Birkenstock sandal is back in a big way right now. Sure, they’re kind of chunky, but that look is proving to be all the rage in 2021. From shearling-lined pairs that bring all the coziness to your WFH wardrobe to neon and patterned alternatives that stand out in a crowd (Remember crowds?), it looks like you can justify buying multiple pairs.
Arizona Slide Shearling Sandal
I’m convinced that everyone should have a pair of Birkenstocks in their closet. This pick in particular is lined with shearling, so they’ll effortlessly transition you from wearing slippers to real shoes once the weather warms up.
Moses Two Band Slides
Looking for something a little more bold? These aren’t *technically* Birkenstocks, but the fun pattern—and cheap price tag—makes them worth it. For under $30, they’re too cute to refuse.
Arizona Essentials Slide Sandals
These belong in a beach bag on a tropical island, don’tcha think? The neon yellow hue will make you appear more tan, so I recommend wearing them with other light colors to really lean into the vacay energy—even if it’s just a fantasy.
As Ciara once said, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Let’s Go!” I don’t actually know if she was talking about platform shoes specifically in her chart-topping banger, but she should have been, considering how popular they’ve become. Short girls looking for some added height, rejoice! (And say goodbye to your painful heels).
Misia Platform Wedge Sandal
The early 2000’s called, they want their shoes back! Just when you thought the early aughts-inspired trends were done, flatforms are having a resurgence this year. If TikTok has shown me anything, it’s that I can make my old clothes look modern. Case in point: I really want these cute wedge sandals.
Vina Platform Slide Sandal
These contrasting sandals from Sarto By Franco Sarto are giving me major floatation device vibes, but in a groovy, outer-space way. They may be a little out of your comfort zone, but I think you’ll find they low-key go with everything.
Rubber Logo Platform Slide Sandal
Adding these slides to the growing list of pieces I need from Gucci in 2021. The fact that they’re made almost entirely of rubber really reminds me of the jelly sandals I used to love as a kid. Can I justify $350 in the name of nostalgia?
Go big or go home—and after a whole year at home, there’s a good chance you don’t want to keep doing the latter. Think fluff, feathers, rhinestones and embellishments giving classic sandal silhouettes a little extra je ne sais qois. If you think they’re maybe too much, buy ’em. They’re likely juuust enough.
Lover Embellished Faux Fur Sandal
Fashion is about having fun, and it doesn’t get more fun than these lavender heeled sandals from Jeffrey Campbell. The rhinestone accents and retro silhouette are giving me ’90s prom energy in the best possible way.
Crush On U 2 Feather Slide Sandal
The bigger the feathers…the comfier the slides? I’m not sure if that’s how it works, but I support it when it comes to these amazing sandals, also by Jeffrey Campbell. While they won’t be my go-to pool shoes, I can’t think of a more fun way to upgrade the basic slides that I already have in my collection.
Facile Faux Fur Slide Sandal
These cloud-like slippers make me wish I was sitting in a luxurious spa right about now. Until that’s my reality, I’ll be dreaming about this oversized pearl and rhinestone detailing. Plus, I’m all about sea foam green making a well-deserved comeback.
So, you went hiking one time and now you think you’re the star of Free Solo? Got it. Meet the 2021 version of atheleisure footwear: Hiking sandals. From Rainbow Brite colorways to more neutral alternatives this year is all about shoes that allow you to get out into nature—or at least look like you want to.
Universal Original Sandal
I never thought I’d be a Teva fan, but 2021 has changed me for the better. I can’t wait to style these bright, retro sandals all summer long! If you’re not into rainbow, scroll Teva’s other offerings for an abundance of fun colors and patterns.
Remember when everyone was wearing those chunky white sneakers a few years ago? This is them now. These sandals from Villa Rouge are about to by my wear-everywhere shoe. Thanks to all the colors in the straps, I’ll be able to pair them with anything.
Cedar Sport Sandals
Everyone needs a pair of red shoes in their collection, so why not give these chunky, sporty sandals a spin? If color isn’t really your thing, they also come in black and white. The thick velcro straps are both supportive and cute, so your feet won’t be hurting after a long day.
Go with The Toe
Flip-flops, but make it 2021. Add a heel for a little lift and boom, your favorite summer shoe is transformed. You may not want to wear these to the beach, but they’re perfect for a date night ‘fit and some sweet summer love.
Brown is truly the color of 2021. Yes, it’s a neutral, but I didn’t expect to be wearing it this much. These heeled flip flops from Steve Madden make the case to never wear black sandals again.
Heeled Thong Sandals
These tan sandals have a cushioned feel reminiscent of the padded trend I mentioned earlier. They retail for under $30, so they’re ideal if you’re unsure about splurging on such trendy looks.
You have snakeskin boots, so why not try snakeskin sandals? These chic heels from Villa Rouge prove just how versatile the print can be. Treat these as a neutral in your closet and every outfit will look instantly elevated.