I'm Freaking Out—These 6 Summer Shoes Are Anti-Trend, Old Money, and So Luxe

For those dialed in, the emergence of quiet luxury isn't just a trend—it's a sartorial pathos that's been around long before it went viral. Embracing this concept has never been about splurging on designer things. It's deeper than that. If the philosophy were to be boiled down, it would be best summarized by the late Vivienne Westwood: "Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity." Essentially, you don't have to be rolling in dough to look good. You just have to be more intentional with your purchasing power. 

You can be more thoughtful with how you shop in numerous ways, from building a capsule wardrobe to shopping from sustainably-minded fashion brands. But the easiest way is to start from the ground up (quite literally) with your footwear choices. Deciding to opt for more timeless silhouettes will keep you from continuing to run through the endless trend cycle and help you save money in the long run. 

Curious about which footwear options live up to the bill? I've scoured 2023 runway collections and Instagram to identify six elegant summer shoe styles that minimalists rely on to add a touch of luxury to their ensembles. Whether you've got an off-shore trust fund or are on a strict budget, these shoes will ensure you look chic all summer (and then some). 

1. Barely-There Sandals

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What's one elegant summer footwear option you can rely on to make you look like you have an off-shore trust fund? Strappy sandals. More specifically, you want to shop for silhouettes that feel and look barely there. The sandal style is characterized by its skinny straps, thin footbeds, and architectural heels—all in neutral hues. A visual reference is the buzzy Bare Sandals from The Row. These sandals don't scream for attention—they whisper. 

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Just imagine all the ways you can style these! 

One of the benefits of buying white sandals is they go with everything you already own. 

The Row ushered the barely-there sandal silhouette into relevance, so of course, it's worth investing in one of their strappy numbers. 

Light gray sandals? I'm here for it. 

It's the little buckles that did it for me. 

These tie-up sandals are ideal for every wedding you have to attend this summer. 

2. Ballet Flats

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Searching for summer shoes that strike the perfect balance between trend-forward and timeless? Look no further than ballet flats. While the style has undoubtedly risen in popularity, thanks to S/S 23 and F/W 23 runway collections from Miu Miu, they're still a very functional and fashionable footwear option because of how versatile they are. You can style them with just about anything and shop them in every type of fabrication (e.g., satin, leather, mesh, crochet). Ballet flats dance the line between trendy and timeless en pointe.

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Simple black ballet flats are never a bad buy. 

Tamara Mellon's recently launched ballet flat collection is too cute not to shop. 

On a tight budget? These ballet flats are super cute (and cheap). Plus, they come in pink, black, and nude.

You'll wear these Miu Miu ballet flats for years to come. 

The woven vegan leather on these flats make them look more expensive than they actually are. 

With Mary Janes trending this summer, these flats are the perfect hybrid of two trends. 

3. Elevated Thongs

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I know what you're thinking. "Flip-flops, really? How are those the embodiment of luxury?" But hear me out: Thongs are where it's at right now. While this sandal style may conjure visions of a pair of gauche plastic versions worn by tourists on vacation, that's not what I'm talking about. Over the past few seasons, I've seen designers elevate thongs by centering minimal silhouettes (e.g., platforms were made sleeker, and thongs were given thin kitten heels). Plus, these versions of flip-flops are made from more luxurious materials, thoughtful hardware, and classic colorways. Making them one of the most stylish sandals you can invest in for summer. 

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The Row aesthetics on a budget. 

I love this olive green, but if you're not a fan of it, you can shop these in black and white. 

Consider your search for the perfect everyday flip-flops finally over. 

The slingback strap and padded footbed on these sandals ensure maximum comfort. 

Everything about these Tory Burch sandals is perfection, from the elegant silhouette to the subtle logo hardware. The four colorways include this vibrant saffron hue. 

Chocolate brown sandals will always feel rich to me. 

4. Retro Sneakers

best summer shoes,  elegant sneakers, woman wearing retro sneakers



What's another type of footwear that hasn't always had an elegant reputation but has become a beloved staple among minimalists? Sneakers. Don't be fooled. These aren't your basic pair of kicks or the overly hyped capsule collections. For luxury enthusiasts, it's all about making a run for those highly coveted retro-sneaker silhouettes that sell out overnight—think New Balance's 574 or Addidas's Sambas. Because it doesn't get more anti-trend or timeless than a pair of sneakers pulled out of the archives. 

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Almost all sneakerheads have spent their hard-earned cash on these. 

These sneakers run around rent-free in my mind. 

Nike's retro-inspired DBreak sneakers continue to be one of the most popular shoes among our readers. 


The distressing on these sneakers gives new meaning to the term "dirty rich." 

Your search for the perfect pair of white sneakers is over. 

Pair these with a pinstripe suit, and you'll look like a walking checking account. 

5. Slingback Heels

Just because it's summertime doesn't mean you have ample time off. We all have to work (unless you're already a billionaire), which makes the requirement for office-apropos footwear all the more imperative. You need a pair of shoes that will be the workhorse of your office wardrobe, and none are more suited to the job than slingback heels. Want to pair them with a suit? They work. A high-neck midi dress? Also works. They put in the work of making any item feel more formal in the summer so that you can spend less time sweating about what to wear. 

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Every work wardrobe needs a good pair of black slingback heels. 

The woven detail on these slingbacks is so chic. 

I'm not normally a fan of white heels, but these pumps converted me. 

Three words: Prada slingback pumps. Enough said. 

6. Minimal Slides

If you can't picture yourself wearing closed-toe shoes in the summer, you're not alone. It can become too debilitating to even think about what you're going to wear when it's sweltering hot outside. You want effortless pieces you can throw on and know that you look chic—enter minimal slides into the chat. Unlike other slides that are often chunkier in form and spotted poolside, these sandals are far more minimal in nature. The style often features a flat footbed with no platform, an arch strap that's typically made from woven leather of some form, and comes in neutral colorways. Sure, it can feel like a basic sandal, yet its simplicity is what made it a beloved stylish staple among the fashion set every season. 

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Pair these with a dress, and you've got the perfect summer outfit. 

I'll be dreaming about wearing these sandals to a house in the Hamptons for the unforeseeable future.

The geometric silhouette of these slides makes them feel so elevated. 

Consider these sandals a visual embodiment of the less-is-more ethos.

6. Contemporary Wedges

Lastly, we'd be remiss if we didn't include one final style that embodies quiet luxury: contemporary wedges. When most think of this signature summer footwear, they might think of those dated linen espadrilles or raffa-adorned wedges, but that image is far-off from what we're talking about. In recent S/S 23 collections (see: Khaite or Tamara Mellon), we've seen brands give wedges a timeless feel by creating heel shapes that feel almost architectural or geometric. And unlike the past versions, which relied on more "cliché" summer materials, these are often made from glossy patent leathers or crisp neutral linens only to be adorned with slinky straps and minimal hardware. But what makes them genuinely worth buying (just like the other styles in this story) isn't that they have more bougie details but that they can transition from summer to fall and still look elegant as ever.

Just when you thought these wedges couldn't get any better, these come in white and pink too! 

Don't lie. You know these white wedges make you want to bust out singing, "so fresh, and so clean, clean."

The subtle contrast stitching on these wedges is so luxurious. 

Strappy sandals have never been more comfortable. 

These wedges will transition from summer to fall seamlessly.