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I’m not much of a heels person, but there’s something about summer that makes me want to kick off my go-to sneaks and Chelseas and slip my feet into something brighter, something bolder, something more beautiful. Summer heels are the stuff sartorial dreams are made of—the kind of thing we wear in our wildest fashion fantasies (and our most idyllic Instagrams-to-be). What better way is there to dress up a low-key tee-and-jeans combo than to slide into a pair of animal print (heeled!) mules, or to don some vibrant snakeskin pumps, or to try out some strappy iridescent beauties?
Even I, a comfort-seeker who’s almost athletically practical about what I add to my wardrobe, can’t withstand the inherent appeal of summer heels. I may be ruthlessly thoughtful about how and where I can wear something before buying it, but I’m no match at all for the myriad fantasies summer heels embed in my imagination. Not to mention, since sensible shoes have made something of a comeback in recent years, the summer heels landscape is looking comfier and more reasonable than it has in a long, long time.
The summer heels landscape is our collective, proverbial oyster. All that’s left for us to do is shop it.
Sleek enough for the office. Edgy enough for your next night out.
The snake print trend continues to endure.
May the endlessly delightful cow spot trend continue forever.
Aughts-inspired, but totally tasteful.
An extra AF shoe for an extra AF shopper.
Make your middle school self proud—wear the vibrant snake print slip-ons.
Flip-flops, made cute.
Because nothing says 2019 like iridescent soles and clear straps.
Chunky heels are abundantly on offer, and I’m just delighted that sensible shoes have made a comeback.
For the shopper who wants to add serious height—without sacrificing much comfort.
More cow spots, please.
Pumps that allude to 2019’s snakeskin trend in texture, rather than print.
A classic black heel with just enough detail to feel fresh.
Perfect for work, parties and everything in between.
A classic sophisticated pump with one seriously statement-making strap.
Square toes may seem odd, but these heels prove they’re absolutely sensible.
A different approach to statement straps.
Business in the front, party in the back.
Pearls and snakeskin and leather? Oh. My.
Delightfully retro—and sure to play well with anything in your closet.
Two polka dot textiles are better than one.
Cinderella’s glass slipper, rendered for the modern age.
Because your work rotation could always use a little extra flair.
Dainty and delightful.
Hot pink is basically always a good idea.
BRB, shopping these heels in every available iteration.
2018’s Western motif trend continues to endure.
Heels that come with a built-in anklet.
Leave it to Zara to craft the perfect party-worthy shoe.
Slingbacks with just enough of a heel to qualify as, well, heels.
An animal print, done less literally.
Anything bedazzled gets an emphatic “yes” from me.
These iconic Moschino beauties are finally on sale.
These tangerine mules are worthy of elevating any ensemble you throw together this summer.
Zara has tons of strappy summer heels on offer, and I’m shopping all of them.
A bootie, crafted with summer in mind.
Simultaneously sleek and sporty (who new such an aesthetic existed??).
The cutest take on the cowboy boot I’ve seen yet.
OK, this one might be even more Cinderella-y than the other.
A no-fail addition to any shoe arsenal.
Just the pop of color your 9-to-5 rotation needs.
The footwear equivalent of the flamingo.
Aughts-inspired without feeling too on-the-nose.
Not your average white pumps.
A pump so cool you’ll want to put it on display when you’re not wearing it.
So aughtsy. So delightful.
Minimalist color meets a pretty maximalist silhouette.
Pops of color, done the neon way.
A statement shoe worth wearing to the office.
The literal embodiment of the phrase “statement heel.”
Your middle school go-tos are officially cool again.
More? Cute? Flip-flops?!
Heels you won’t regret wearing after four hours on the dance floor.
More metallic footwear, please.
A surprising color combo just waiting to meet the rest of your wardrobe.
Mules fit for any event on your summer calendar.
Introducing: your new favorite party shoe.
Triple the slingback. Triple the fun.
Lace-up shoes are having a moment, and my retro-loving heart definitely isn’t upset about it.
Also available in white, if you prefer a brighter iteration.
Sparkly and structurally fascinating—really, what more could you ask for?
Cute shoes, rendered in a seriously underrated shade.
An edgier approach to pinstripes.
A classic red block heel, rendered texturally on-trend.
Platforms are here to elevate your look—in more ways than one.
Not your average slingback—not your average slingback at all.
Three words: Sparkly. Animal. Print.
These slip-ons want to take you everywhere this summer. (And they’re so versatile they probably could.)
Because belts aren’t the only place for statement-making buckles.
I was a mule skeptic last summer, but now I’m a full-on mule convert.
Strappy iridescent heels are so early aughts—and so 2019, too.
Neon is summer’s favorite palette, and these shoes make the most of it.
I love jelly sandals, and I love these strappy jelly heels even more.
Couldn’t your office wardrobe use a little vibrant footwear?
A statement heel if I’ve ever seen one.
A more classic clog, for the person who’s fully on board with the heavy footwear movement.
A polka dot that acts like an animal print.
The perfect addition to your night-out wardrobe.
Who among us can resist iridescent snakeskin in 2019?
A clog fit for wedding season.
A going-out shoe that’s as comfy as it is cute.
Not your average statement shoe.
Slip-ons so strappy they’ll surely never slip off.
I don’t care who you are or where you’re going—hot pink rhinestones are always a good idea.
A neutral heel with just enough texture to stand out.
When in doubt, put a bandana on it.
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Originally published May 2019. Updated July 2019.