I'm a Stylist—These Are the 9 Classic Sandal Brands I Always Recommend


(Image credit: @_marisamartins_)

A classic pair of leather sandals goes a long way. 

Having worked in the fashion industry for almost a decade as both a fashion editor and a stylist, I’ve seen many trends, cult items and, sadly, many brands come and go. The upside is that by now I’ve started to build up a roster of capsule wardrobe items and hero brands that I can confidently get behind knowing they’ll stand the test of time. I am, after all, a big fan of the classics. Personally, when I hit my 30s and became a lot more educated about sustainability, I started wanting to buy fewer, better pieces to try to break that outdated (and straight-up wasteful) cycle of buying replacement items every year. And I’m sure most of you reading this, whatever age you are, are feeling the same thing. 

One of the key items I was finding myself looking for at the start of every summer was a new pair of sandals. Of course, sometimes that was because I loved my last pair so much that I’d completely worn them down. Sandals are, after all, not the sturdiest of footwear. But more often than not, I was just a bit over the trends of the year before, usually bought on the high street, and wanted a fresh pair to feel current and exciting.


(Image credit: @alexisforeman)

Alexis Foreman wore these A.Emery sandals last summer, and I still love them so much I bought them myself this year. 

Tired of this approach, in recent years, I’ve really tried to turn instead towards sandal brands and styles that have much more timeless qualities. Think pared-back, practical leather sandals that look good with dresses, shorts, jeans, linen trousers, swimwear—you name it. As well as this being a more responsible approach, I also think these classic sandals actually look much more elevated and cooler than a particularly "trendy” style would. So when I’m styling celebrities or models now or suggesting pieces for personal-styling clients, it’s these kinds of sandals that I’m using and recommending, and there’s a small number of brands I always turn to for the best ones. 


(Image credit: @emmarosestyle)

Emma Thatcher is a big fan of anti-trend sandals. Here, she wears Tkees leather flip-flops. 

Below, I’ve let you in on all these insider secrets, sharing my list of the nine sandal brands I truly think are the best in the business for their quality, their comfort, their lack of a sell-by date and their stylish design. Some are investment labels, like The Row, where longevity is especially important. But not all of them—I’ve also included my favourite reliable high-street brands, from M&S to Arket, which I stand behind from tried-and-tested experience. So if you’re looking for a last-minute pair that will see you through this summer’s heatwaves as well as many after that, scroll down to shop.

Shop the nine best sandal brands, according to a stylist:










Up Next, 7 Shoes That Will Go With Every Single Dress You Own

Emily Dawes
Affiliate Editor

Emily Dawes is the very definition of a fashion multi hyphenate. An editor, stylist and writer with over eleven years’ worth of experience in the industry, Emily is known for her impeccable taste, elegant outfit choices and being able to spot the next big thing in fashion from a mile off. Our readers loyally trust her advice and shopping suggestions; so much so she began her own column documenting the most expensive-looking pieces on the high street, which has become a top-performing piece of content for the Who What Wear brand.

Emily has worked for Who What Wear UK since 2020 in a myriad as roles, spanning from contributing editor and branded content editor. Now, she holds the position of affiliate editor and is responsible for the brand’s overall affiliate strategy, ideation and content execution. Working closely with Who What Wear UK’s affiliate manager, Emily has been instrumental in securing and nourishing brand partnerships, surpassing her goals as standard. Leading the team in tentpole shopping moments including Black Friday and Peak Trading, with Emily’s guidance and leadership, team Who What Wear is in a stronger affiliate position than ever before.

Prior to joining the Who What Wear team, Emily served as YOU Magazine’s acting fashion editor where she managed the fashion team and oversaw all fashion content output for the fast-paced weekly title. Emily is a stylist in her own right, having worked with a slew of VIP clients including writer and television personality, Elizabeth Day, as well as styling and art directing several celebrity cover shoots for glossy print publication, Grazia. Her adept fashion knowledge means brands regularly sought out to work with her as a consultant: previously she has developed marketing and content plans for brands for Cocoon and Edge of Ember. Before entering the industry, Emily obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Studies with International Study from Nottingham University. Fun fact: Emily spent a year studying in America which saw her join a sorority during her time there.

When she’s not working or tracking down the chicest, new-in items to share with our audience, you’ll find Emily bestowing her East London home with her stylish flair, reading everything from the classics to cowboy romance novels and escaping to the country with husband, baby boy and dog, Roo, whenever she can.

Emily is currently on maternity leave.