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When one conjures up imagery of summer heels, those visions are typically full of vibrant colors, bold prints and other maximalist fantasies. But the truth of summer heels is far more diverse—minimalist necessities are as abundant as these statement-making show-stoppers. And when you give it a moment of thought, this makes immense sense: How many of us wear head-turning stilettos on the daily, and how many of us opt for tried-and-true black block heels, instead?
Minimalists may feel excluded from this summer’s sartorial selections; now that camp is the new black, kitschy-cute options are on offer en masse, overwhelming some of the evergreen investment pieces that have also found themselves on summer shelves. Why buy classic silver hoops when you could stock up on shell-adorned drop earrings, or colorful friendship bracelets, or necklaces rendered in patterned resins? The same rings true for footwear; why expand your minimalist summer heels collection when you could, instead, play dress-up with all the colors, textures and structures on offer?
The answer, of course, lies in one timeless industry adage: “Fashions fade—style is eternal.” Buy as many pairs of maximalist summer heels as you like; you’ll still find yourself whipping out your go-to minimalist shoes with far more regularity. Because they’re versatile, they’re comfortable, they go with everything—and you’ll still be wearing them years from now, when all of us have forgotten about Vogue‘s flamingo-adorned Met Gala and our collective obsession with ironic aughts clothing. Minimalist summer heels are a no-fail purchase no matter who you are, what year it is and which trends are looming large; they’ll carry you anywhere you want to go this summer, and they’ll do so in style.
1. Amanda Mule Sandal, $39 at Urban Outfitters
For the shopper who loves summer slides so much she wants a pair for every occasion.
2. Schutz Honey Beige Heels, $127 at Farfetch
Kitten heels hit the zeitgeist hard last year, and they’re still going strong this summer.
3. Jackson Mid Mule, $120 at Topshop
Sure to play as well with your favorite office look as they will with your go-to tee-and-jeans combo.
4. Heeled Woven Sandals, $89.90 at Zara
Because your resort wardrobe deserves its own pair of minimalist summer heels—don’t you think?
5. Nettle Strap Slingback, $100 at Topshop
Fit for the maximalist doing minimalism. (Or the minimalist doing maximalism.)
6. Wide-Heeled Woven Sandals, $59.90 at Zara
A classic, rendered in a very summer-friendly textile.
7. Swedish Has-Beens Slip-In Classic Clog, $239 at Urban Outfitters
Chunkier than your average minimalist shoe, but still neutral enough to go with anything.
8. Bellevue Mule, $128 at Free People
For the person who loves tortoiseshell so much they prayed it would extend into footwear. (It has.)
9. June Slingback Heels, $120 at Topshop
Minimalist slingbacks with just enough detail to keep things interesting.
10. Vegan Around Town Block Heel, $138 at Free People
A go-to going-out shoe for the fan of all-black-everything.
11. A Low It Flare Block Heel Sandals, $30 at Nasty Gal
Fit for wedding season and day-to-day wear, alike.
12. Jezebel V-Cut Mules, $115 at Topshop
As fit for your 9-to-5 as they are for the weekend.
13. Frayed Knotted Heeled Mules, $59.90 at Zara
Wear them to the beach, the office, the backyard barbecue—and more.
14. Downtown Crocodile Effect Two-Part Mules, $48 at Topshop
Because “minimalist” and “textured” don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
15. Egrey Lace-Up Detail Linen Pumps, $254 at Farfetch
Dynamic while remaining understated—the minimalist shopper’s sweet spot.
16. Howdie Western Boots, $170 at Topshop
Summer booties are very much a thing, and this neutral pair offers an accessible way in.
17. High Heeled Vinyl Sandals, $69.90 at Zara
I mean, what’s more minimal than near-invisible footwear?
18. Sofia Knotted Kitten Heel, $49 at Urban Outfitters
Semiformal (and comfy!) enough to get you through any event on your calendar.
19. Montauk Heel, $90 at Free People
Because minimalism doesn’t preclude edginess.
20. Babe Boots, $65 at Topshop
Mod and minimalist.
21. Alexa Strappy Sandal, $49 at Urban Outfitters
Delicate—and sure to play well with anything in your closet.
22. Dolly Tan Buckle Sandals, $52 at Topshop
Because brown block heels are chronically underrated.
23. Slingback Kitten Heel Shoes, $39.90 at Zara
The classic office-appropriate (but veritably comfy) slingback.
24. Walk the Line Clog, $178 at Free People
For the versatility-craving minimalist who loves a chunky shoe.
25. Rosie Ruffle Heel, $128 at Free People
A way into 2019’s ruffle trend that feels far from over-the-top.
26. Snake Print Stiletto Heels, $28 at Nasty Gal
A pop of snake print is honestly more understated than a pop of vibrant, solid color.
27. Seychelles Calming Influence Platform Sandal, $119 at Urban Outfitters
Chunky, comfy and sure to go with everything you own.
28. Lisa Says Gah Lou Woven Mule, $260 at Urban Outfitters
Just enough of a heel to qualify as a pair of summer heels.
29. Living the Dream Heel, $128 at Free People
Dainty edginess is an absolute look.
30. Methacrylate Heel Mules, $29.99 at Zara
About as maximalist as minimalist summer heels get.
31. Game Pointed Court Shoes, $80 at Topshop
A pump you’ll still be wearing decades from now.
32. Dolly Buckle Sandals, $52 at Topshop
A no-fail addition to any summer wardrobe—even those absent any white.
33. Amanda Woven Mule Sandal, $49 at Urban Outfitters
Sure to elevate your look—in more ways than one.
34. Leather Strap Methacrylate Kitten Heels, $59.90 at Zara
Structural play, the minimalist way.
35. Animal Print Heeled Leather Ankle Boots, $89.99 at Zara
An ankle boot so minimalist it’s season-agnostic.
36. Jackie Cutout Sandal, $49 at Urban Outfitters
Slip-on heels are semiformal comfort, epitomized.
37. Babe Block Heel Boots, $24 at Topshop
Fit for summer and winter, alike.
38. Raid Katy Block Heel Shoes, $48 at ASOS
Perfect for wedding season, parties or days when you just want to feel a little fancy.
39. Schutz Spherical Mules, $175 at Anthropologie
A distinctly minimalist take on the structural heel.
40. Garden High Shoes, $80 at Topshop
The perfect pop of show-stopping style for the shopper who prefers a monochromatic palette.
41. Midnight Hour Heel, $115 at Free People
More invisible footwear, because the Cinderella shoe has been rendered contemporary many times over.
42. Rashida Heeled Sandals, $100 at Topshop
A cross between your average summer heel and your average summer ankle boot.
43. Raid Square-Toe Heel Sandal, $40 at ASOS
An evergreen necessity you’ll be glad to have on hand.
44. Huma Blanco Elaine Leather Mules, $310 at Anthropologie
A work shoe that feels on-trend without skewing too temporary.
45. Lilly Block Heel Sandal, $119 at Free People
The fact that we’ve labeled these “minimalist” should signal to you just how maximalist the maximalist summer heels are.
46. Ganni Black Sabine Suede Pumps, $219 at Farfetch
One little bow can go a long, long way.
47. Snake an Impression Faux Leather Sandals, $30 at Nasty Gal
The cherry on top of any summer ensemble you craft.
48. Jumbo Slingback Court Shoe, $115 at Topshop
Minimalist without sacrificing any chic, surprising edge.
49. Ribbon T-Bar Sandals, $80 at Topshop
Wedding season beckons.
50. Ava Platform, $128 at Free People
Add inches without sacrificing your neutral palette.
51. Emersyn Mule, $120 at Free People
More slippers, please.
52. Knotted Crochet Mule Sandal, $59 at Urban Outfitters
Aughts-inspired minimalism (because, surprisingly enough, this intersection does exist).
53. Darla Tortoiseshell Strap Mules, $48 at Topshop
A touch more interesting than your go-to strappy mule.
54. Southern Charm Clog, $128 at Free People
A maximalist silhouette, rendered in a minimalist palette.
55. Block Heel High Heels, $29.90 at Zara
Arguably more understated than your average snake print.
56. Danni Buckle Shoe Boots, $52 at Topshop
For the person who can’t stand to part with their black ankle boots just yet.
57. Tortoiseshell Wide-Heeled Sandals, $59.90 at Zara
The tortoiseshell shoe movement is real.
58. Unisa Teruel Pumps, $154 at Farfetch
A work heel you’ll be looking for excuses to wear outside the office.
59. Alana Wood and Leather Sandal, $69 at Urban Outfitters
A going-out heel fit for even the most minimalist of weekend wardrobes.
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