7 Sandal Styles We'll All Love At Least Once

by Katie Hoffman

The weather may not feel like it everywhere yet, but spring is here and summer is coming, which means it’s officially time to start stocking up on cute spring sandals before they’re all picked over. But before you whip out your credit card to add some new additions to your shoe collection, let’s take a second to reminisce on all our sandals of the past and present, many of which are probably still hiding under your bed. Whether it’s those black '90s sandals with the black stretchy strap or those pool slide sandals that were convenient if not always the cutest, stockpiling sandals is as essential to summer prep as selecting a swimsuit and stocking up on s’mores supplies.

Sandals are the most fickle of all the footwear types. What we love one summer we may regret next year, and five years from then, we may fall in love with it all over again. For too long, wearing socks with sandals resulted in a shunning worse than what you’d get if you wore white after Labor Day, but now it’s totally possible to look cute wearing socks with sandals. Maybe it’s because summer always flies by entirely too fast, but there are certain sandals styles we'll all love at some point in our lives, if we haven't already. At least one of these summer sandal styles below has been in your closet or in your online shopping cart.

1. Birkenstocks

Whether you had a pair of real Birkenstock sandals or found yourself a pair Birkenstock-inspired sandals, the double buckle Birkenstock sandals have been and will be a staple in every woman's summer shoe collection. They may be too normcore for some, but Birkenstocks are probably one of the most versatile styles of sandals out there. They're great for bike riding and walking on the beach, and they're a lot more comfortable and less blister-inducing than a lot of the other summer shoes we squeeze our feet into.

2. Rubber Flip Flops

Every woman out there has known the forgiving embrace of the rubber flip flop. They may not be number one on the list of appropriate sandals to wear to work, but they're perfect for the sand and will keep your big toe from getting immediately smudged after a pedicure. And okay, technically they aren't that durable, and chances are the thong part that keeps your flip flop on has broken at least once, but you'll keep coming back, because they're just so freaking comfortable — like the yoga pants of shoes.

3. Jelly Sandals

If you grew up in the '90s, jelly sandals were the summer equivalent of light-up sneakers, and thank goodness you can still incorporate jelly sandals into your wardrobe, because I couldn't imagine living in a world without them. Even as an adult, I'm in total agreement with my eight-year-old self that jelly sandals are the best shoes for spring. They definitely smell a little funky, and they may not hold up if you're walking through gravel or wood chips, but jelly sandals are probably more comfortable than any other "grown up" sandals out there.

4. Espadrilles

Does any shoe feel as quintessentially summery as a pair of espadrilles? They may get a mixed reaction, but espadrilles come in so many different styles from flats to wedges, and they look cute with a summer dress or a pair of shorts. Unlike some other sandals styles that may appear too casual to wear to a nice restaurant or to the office, espadrilles can easily take you through those hot summer days to a breezy summer night, and that's probably why most ladies have worn these as their summer staple shoe at least once.

5. Athletic Slide-Ons

If you're a weary college student trying to survive finals week, a good pair of athletic slide-on sandals — with or without socks — is a must for survival. Since we've officially proven that wearing socks with sandals is not a fashion faux pas, let us all proudly embrace the fact that we've worn or have been tempted to wear socks with sandals. Wearing a pair of athletic slide-on sandals with socks is the perfect balance of foot comfort and toenail mystery. Whether your athletic sandal phase has been over for years of if it's just beginning, I think we can all agree athletic sandals have a special place in our hearts.

6. Platforms

Whether they were flip flops or strappy sandals, we've all rocked a pair of ridiculously thick platform sandals before. Walking on a huge platform doesn't do much in the way of making your sandals hurt less, but it's impossible to describe that platform sandal feeling. You feel like you're on top of the world, and even though you might trip at any moment, you've got that platform glow. There's no shame in feeling more powerful in a pair of platform sandals.

7. Gladiators

Whether gladiator sandals are cute may be a hotly contested issue, but wearing gladiator sandals has this way making you feel strong in summer. With a pair of gladiators on, you can handle humidity hair, spilled coffee, and boob sweat. Whether you have thick straps reaching up to your knee or opt for the subtle gladiator look, every woman has had at least one perfect pair of gladiator sandals that has made running errands on those sunny summer days feel like a fashion show with each step.

Images: kaygamroth, Jessica Owens, Lina Shahhal, Charlie King, ashingly12, STRUT - Erica Jarman, Kat Simmons/Instagram