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Real talk: I don’t love to spend a lot of money on summer shoes. Not only do they get beat up from days at the beach, but they’re also more susceptible to the trend cycle than winter boots or sneakers — which means paying $300-plus for a pair of sandals feels, well, wrong. Instead, I rely on a rotation of affordable summer shoes to get me through the season. I typically gravitate toward a handful of styles that feel on-trend, but not so much that I’ll have to retire them come 2022.
Right now, my shoe closet features a mix of comfortable, chic and sometimes even sexy styles. When I’m dressing up, that means I pair an open-toe mule or a heeled thong sandal with a midi skirt, oversized linen shorts or boyfriend jeans. For days when I know a lot of walking lies ahead, I turn to the same style of slides that I used to wear during my softball-playing days back in the early aughts. (Everything old is new again.)
Of course, I can never retire boots for a whole season, so I like to incorporate them into my summer shoe lineup when the weather feels milder. Ahead are five affordable shoe styles for summer that I wear over and over again.
I love a good flat sandal, but at first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the comeback of athletic slides. Now I’m a full-blown adopter: I love wearing mine with a pair of boyfriend jeans and a ribbed white tank for a casual look. (And yes, Crocs are as comfortable as they are ugly.)
Steve Madden Scuba Tan Slide, $39.95
Classic Crocs Slide, $29.99
An open-toe mule seems to be the summer sandal style that never goes out of fashion. I look for one that doesn’t have too high of a platform or heel to wear with anything from a midi skirt with a high slit to leather pants. I think of these as my “everyday” shoe.
Zara Geometric Heel, $59.90
Zara Leather Sandals, $49.90
Heeled Thong Sandals
If you had asked me a few years ago what my favorite summer shoe was, I’d have answered in earnest with the thong flip-flop — hands down. I used to wear my pair everywhere, from the beach to weekend dinners, and I’m almost a little embarrassed just thinking about it. That said, I may regret giving into this iteration of the trend, but I love the way a heeled thong sandal looks with a pair of jeans or long, flowy wide-leg pants.
Steve Madden Melrose Sandal, $82.95
Let’s be real: Strappy sandals never go out of style. This season, I prefer mine with a more square or squ-oval-shaped toe, and I specifically love one that ties up the leg for an added bit of femininity. Pair yours with a mini pleated skirt or shorts to get the full effect.
Mango Leather Straps Sandal, $79.90
Source Unknown Thin Strap Mules, $68
Sure, boots in the summer sound a little odd, but I love to pair an ankle-height style with anything from shorts or a skirt to long, flared pants. The only catch: because these aren’t technically “all-weather boots,” I can get away with buying a pair that doesn’t have a super practical lug sole or any other feature that’s specifically made to combat the elements.
Mango Track Outsole Boots, $99.99
River Island Boot, $33.90
Zara Leather Ankle Boots, $89.90
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