It's Okay To Wear Sandals

Considering you’ve read the title and you’re still here, I imagine that you are open to change in terms of style. That’s good because the first thing I’m going to do is ask you to, for a moment, suspend your skepticism of sandals.

For some time now, sandals have been really frowned upon in men’s fashion circles, and not without good reason: a lot of us have bad memories (or pictures) of white socks with black nylon sandals and jeans. Mistakes were made. We know this, and we can move on.

Sandals have made something of a comeback in some circles. For example, folks into rap and streetwear have been wearing slides for years, with the likes of Gucci getting in on the new trend. With a tracksuit or shorts, this is a standard look of contemporary streetwear.
Image Credit: Daniel Fries

For those not in the streetwear scene, we can start to incorporate sandals back into more normal wardrobes as well. To be clear, I’m still recommending that we keep the flip flops to public showers and pools: for most other places we have better options.

One general rule is that whatever footwear you’re wearing has to make sense in the totality of the outfit. Would you wear your best dress shoes to the beach? No, of course not. It would look weird and be deeply uncomfortable. The same applies to sandals: these are causal shoes and should be treated as such.

Another rule of thumb is that sandals look miles better with shorts than they do with pants. Again, it’s about context. Unless you’re wearing something super casual, like the aforementioned tracksuit, shorts should be your go-to if you want to rock sandals. Of course in your own home, if you want to wear your sandals with jeans, you can go right ahead.

Keeping relative formality is key to getting sandals right. The beach is a clear context where sandals are king. Nowadays, most brands, such as Birkenstock, make ther sandals in materials that are light, water resistant, and long-lasting. That makes them the king of beach shoes since you can hose them off and not get sand in the car. We’d even be okay with wearing sandals to a cafe on a summer Sunday, or out to pick up one thing you forgot at the grocery store.
Image Credit: Sincerely Media

If, on the other hand, you’re going to a restaurant where you get seated by a host/ess, then you might want something where we cannot see your toes.

Aside from context, a key to doing sandals right is in the details. Some silhouettes, like the aforementioned slides and Birkenstocks, tell those in the know that you’re doing this on purpose and like how you look. Flip flops or nylon hiking sandals, on the other hand, might tip folks off that you forgot or ruined your better shoes.

So, with all of that said, we think that sandals are making a comeback, for good. With the last year of work-from-home relaxing the formality of fashion rules, these casual footwear options are just waiting for an opportunity to hit the road.
About author
Garrett is a writer and commentator based in the South. His areas of expertise lie in cooking, fashion, and the outdoors among others. He has been writing and educating professionally for years, and enjoys creating online discourses around positively masculine spaces.


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