I know everyone's been telling you it's sneaker season, but let's take a moment to shift to our favorite summer-style topic: sandals. The season hasn't even officially begun, yet we've already been engulfed in a flood of the chicest sandals around. Ever since the weather allowed us to expose our feet, we saw the reemergence of classic styles as well as a few ubiquitous footwear trends that took some warming up to (cue the parade of thong sandals). Overall, the most popular designer sandals right now are the ones that hit on all of today's major style elements—'90s-inspired minimal straps, ultra-saturated hues, and heeled mules—proving that nothing thrills the fashion crowd quite like a good shoe trend.
With a few more weeks to clear before days at the pool and scorching temperatures, we already have a pretty good idea as to which designer sandals will define 2021. Ahead, we're highlighting the specific styles that are, without a doubt, the most popular. From podiatrist-approved flats to gasp-inducing revenge heels, these are the coveted pairs the fashion crowd can't stop wearing.
The Row Ginza Flip-Flops
Did you know flip-flops could be so chic? Leave it to the Olsens to flip (quite literally) the concept on its head, transforming the humble sandal style into luxurious shoes tastemakers across the globe wear on repeat. These days, it's nearly impossible to open up Instagram without these shoes showing up somewhere. With the sudden shift to comfortable fashion during the pandemic, it makes sense that such an easy, low-key sandal would dominant the shoe game.
Emme Parsons Tobias Sandals
Should you need a sign that '90s-inspired fashion is here to stay—at least for now—look no further than minimal strappy sandals. Emme Parsons's Tobias sandals are an ode to the decade and feature thin, floss-like straps that create a flattering shape on the foot. These sandals have especially been a hit with French girls that favor minimalism.
Amina Muaddi Gilda Sandals
If you don't know by now, Amina Muaddi is the name to know for designer shoes. The young shoe designer's signature is exquisite, towering stilettos with a unique flared-out heel. They're the type of shoes that instantly make you stop in your tracks because they're so glamourous, and the Crystal-Embellished Gilda Sandals are no different. With everyone emerging from their pandemic hibernation, expect to see revenge sandals like these in increasing numbers.
The Row Constance Slingbacks
We're taking a detour from the world of elevated stilettos for another entry from The Row. As we touched on before, comfort has reigned king when it comes to fashion, so it shouldn't surprise you that the brand's simple flat sandals are another winner among the fashion set. Despite their hefty price tag, the minimal design means it's easy to get a lot of wear out of these.
Marni Crossover Slingback Sandals
A true fashion-girl brand, Marni is one of those underrated names that really bring it with the eccentric designs. These crossover sandals just might make you never want to walk barefoot again. Light as a cloud on the foot and super sophisticated, they're the elevated way to do "gorpy" sandals. Should black not thrill you, they're also available in a seemingly unlimited number of colorways.
BY FAR Bibi Leather Sandals
No wonder BY FAR's Bibi heels are in the mix here: The cute bow straps hits on the thong-sandal trend, the low heel makes them exceedingly comfortable (and walkable), and they're from everyone's favorite It brand.
Simon Miller Platform Flip-Flops
Only expert-level heel wearers should apply. These three-inch platforms are serious business, but they're definitely a glorious sight for the eyes. These citrine-colored wonders come from none other than fashion-girl favorite Simon Miller and hit that dialed-up California-girl aesthetic to a T. They're not sandals you can ever forget, which is probably why they have won the hearts of so many fashion people.
A.W.A.K.E. Mode Mary Mules
Technically, these are part sandal and part mule, but the London-based label's Mary heels are too popular to ignore. A.W.A.K.E. Mode has been killing it this season with its sandal selection, and this sleek '00s-inspired asymmetrical pair was a hit among trend-loving influencers.
Bottega Veneta Quilted Sandals
Did you really think you were going to get through a designer-shoe roundup without a Bottega Veneta mention? An update on last year's in-demand square-toe mules, these quilted slides were fully embraced by the fashion world with open arms as soon as they launched. This roundup may be focused on summer sandals, but we have a strong feeling these shoes will long outlive the season.
BY FAR Malene Sandals
Yes, it's another BY FAR inclusion, but hear us out! Other than Bottega Veneta, no other brand has been setting sandal trends quite like BY FAR, so we think a little more praise is in order. The company really outdid itself with its Malene mules, a pair of multi-buckle heels that come in a range of colors and have been flooding our Instagram feeds all season long.
Jacquemus Les Tatanes Lin Flip Flops
You may have noticed a disproportionate number of flip-flops on this list, and quite frankly, that's because they're the silhouette of the season. Although a bit controversial, we've seen so many designer iterations of the thong sandal, including Simon Jacquemus's linen platform version. The thick sole creates the perfect amount of elevation to showcase a pair of baggy jeans.
Kalda Simon Sandals
Here's an unexpected pick from an emerging label we've been keeping tabs on. These vibrant, minimal sandals from Kalda blend the best of both worlds: They're completely on-trend yet foot friendly. Bubblegum pink has also been a major hue this year, so consider us sold.
Elleme Cachecache Block Heel
Elleme is on the rise, but its collections of shoes and bags have already taken hold on my timeline. We have a soft spot for weird, quirky shoes like these, and it turns out fashion girls do, too. The toe cover puts an interesting spin on the naked sandals that feels unique and worth the splurge.
Chanel CC Strap Sandals
An oldie, but goodie, these Chanel quilted sandals are about as luxurious as one can get when it comes to comfort. It takes after a well-known silhouette, but the quilted leather and famous CC logo definitely set them apart from the pack. While every fashion girl seems to love these, they unsurprisingly get a lot of replay from Parisienne tastemakers in particular.
Tamara Mellon Intuition Sandals
Imagine the perfect neutral summer sandals and you'll get Tamara Mellon's Intuitions heels. The Jimmy Choo founder revamped her new designer collection of shoes and let's just say I can't not see them once I open my IG app. These have the added benefit of a cushioned sole so they won't stress your feet like a traditional heel.