I Know It Hurts, But These 6 Sandals Have Got to Go—6 I'm Investing in Instead


Even though the weather outside might not indicate the impending arrival of spring (at least not where I'm located in New York City), warmer temperatures are, indeed, on the horizon. This, to me, means one thing: It's time to start thinking about ways to transition my winter wardrobe into a spring one without my closet finally taking over the last few square feet left in my SoHo apartment. It's not an easy job, but it's one I look forward to every year. And the first sartorial genre on my agenda is sandals—also known as the footwear staple I'll wear most in the months ahead.

Last season, the sandal space was dominated by pillow-like thongs, pastel slides, and every fashion girl's favorite style, fisherman sandals. But like with most other trends of late, these are already starting to feel stale after seeing them on everyone everywhere—from Positano, Italy to my own backyard (aka the corner seat at Fanelli Cafe, where you can stylish people watch as shoppers exit Prada).

To replace them in my wardrobe, I've come up with a list of worthwhile replacements that are fresh for 2023. Scroll down to find out which sandal styles I'll prioritize and which I won't next season. 

Pass: Plastic Pool Slides

Prioritize: Understated Slip-Ons


(Image credit: @meccajw)

As practical as they are when you're actually poolside, plastic pool slides will never out style a timeless pair of leather slides ever. From designer options courtesy of Hermès and Gucci to mid-level takes by Tory Burch and Birkenstock, there's a versatile and polished slide sandal style just waiting to become a daily part of your spring and summer routine. 


Pass: T Straps

Prioritize: Toe Loops


(Image credit: @lefevrediary)

T-strap sandals will likely come back in a few seasons with a vengeance, but for now, I'm placing all my eggs in the toe-loop sandal basket. Not only do they keep your feet secured in place (something T-strap sandals certainly do not), but they also look classic and stylish no matter what you pair them with.


Pass: Padded Details

Prioritize: Fuzzy Fabrics


(Image credit: @monikh)

If you, like me, require shoes that keep your feet feeling toasty and comfortable no matter the season, you probably spent last spring and summer prioritizing the padded, pillow-like sandals that dominated thanks to Chanel and Bottega Veneta. For a 2023 update, I'm trading those in for equally hygge shearling and faux-fur sandals that will keep your toes warm and your Instagram followers supremely satisfied. 


Pass: Excessive Laces

Prioritize: Clean Lines


(Image credit: @kristenmarienichols)

Though a laced-up pair of sandals can pack a lot of punch visually, they tend to require more work than they're worth in my experience. That's why this season, I'm prioritizing low-key styles with clean, minimal lines so as to avoid any undue hardship when I go to put them on and at the end of the night, take them off. 


Pass: PVC Parts

Prioritize: Metallic Hardware


(Image credit: @annabelrosendahl)

The era of PVC shoes was fun and all, but this spring, I'm ready to level up my sandals collection by ditching almost anything made of plastic and opting instead for footwear embellished with pretty, metallic hardware akin to jewelry for your feet. 


Pass: Expected Thongs

Prioritize: Unexpected Embellishments


(Image credit: @slipintostyle)

Let's face it, as classic as they are, flip-flops and thong sandals are low-key boring. Sure, they're easy to slip on and go, but what's the fun in that if the aesthetic impact is so minimal? In 2023, I'm daring to splurge on sandal styles that are tenfold more exciting, specifically pairs with artistic touches and unexpected embellishments that feel worthy of a new purchase. 


Next: You're In, You're Out: 7 Dated Boot Trends That Didn't Make the Cut in 2023

Senior Fashion Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.