The best summer sandals for men to pack on your next vacation

At the beginning of summer, I failed in my search for the perfect men’s sandal. Some nice Dries Van Noten numbers on deep discount in an SSense sale (one very large pair still available, at the time of writing) didn’t fit and had to go home to Canada. A pair of leather platforms, from a brand that shall not be named, appeared less appealing to the eye than they appeared online. Instead of sending them back, I disappeared into my failed one until the return window’s latch closed tightly. I have yet to use them outside my apartment. But you don’t have to suffer defeat like I did – from my mistakes I’ve learned what to look for in a sandal.

The shoe is, after all, a tricky one: more than any other, it reveals the foot. It shows its toes and introduces them to the world. Socks are not recommended, but optional. Despite being often lumped into a disorganized category on shopping sites, the sandal spans a large population of styles; some are multi-purpose, while others are best suited for a specific type of travel. When shopping, consider its use: Will it stay on the beach, or follow you into the water? Are you going for an easy stroll or a mile-long hike? Is dinner a quick pick-up from the deli down the block or a lush brew party on a breezy evening in late August? Do you even leave the house? For all these occasions, plenty of options await.

Below, you’ll find some of the best summer sandals for men, from slides to dresses, Birkenstocks to Dior, most with open toes and all with plenty of comfort.

Casual sandals

Fisherman sandals rule in both this category and the one that follows, a testament to the twins behind The Row and their taste for refined utility. If the Olsens and their wares are out of your price point, however, there are plenty of options from Mephisto and Kurt Geiger. These sturdy shoes protect your feet while allowing them to breathe, and are just as suitable for summer days at the office as for walks on the pavement and casual dinners. Should you find the style too inappropriate, Birkenstocks continue their reign as the most casual sandal of all time. Dress up the classic in black suede, or go all out with the brand’s Dior collaboration – gray felted wool and calfskin galore.

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The Row brown fisherman sandals

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Mephisto Sam leather sandals

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Kurt Geiger London Oliver fisherman sandals

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Birkenstock sandals from Arizona in black suede

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Dior by Birkenstock Milano sandal

Dress sandals

For life’s more formal occasions, some may recommend that you put your feet away entirely. This doesn’t have to be. While flip flops and the like certainly have no place at a fancy dinner or beach wedding, the shiny leather pieces put out by brands at all price points bring luxury to the table without closing the toe. The aforementioned fisherman sandal can step up to the plate here paired with Mezlan’s very elegant polished shoes. Dressed-up slides also fit – Bloomingdale’s chooses a Bruno Magnoli pair in a rich chocolate brown, while Vince Camuto’s offerings at DSW are the most low-key. For the most daring: vegetable-tanned leather, hand-cut and hand-woven in Mexico into an anything but closed real huarache, composes Yuketen’s Cruz sandal.

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Bruno Magli Emperor leather sandals in leather

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Vince Camuto Wylder sandal

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Hiking and sports sandals

I crossed Crete in the hurricane Verge Tevas last summer. I hiked in them and swam in them and climbed all over the place and not once did my ankles roll – they’re light and waterproof, easy to travel with and slim enough to wear around town in a pinch. If you want even more safety and support in your next pair of summer sandals for men, take a look at the Universal Leather Sandals.

Just as I am loyal to Teva, many pledge allegiance to Chaco. Huckberry’s latest foray into the brand, the Tarpon, embraces a scaly pattern on the crisscrossing straps. Nike’s low-top sandals are lightweight, while giving a chunkier look.

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Teva Black Hurricane Verge sandal

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Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal leather sandal

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Huckberry x Chaco Z/1 Tarpon

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Nike Canyon Low Top Sandals

Beach sandals

While straps in a waterproof shoe are really ideal for hiking, Velcro and sand may mix a little too easily. The beach sandal is best taken off and on. If you must wear a flip flop, choose the clean neutral leather of the classic Rainbow. They only get better with age, darkening beautifully with texture and wear caused by the elements. However, thongs are not for everyone, and those who want to move more discreetly along the coast can always snap up Crocs. As popular as ever, the iconic clog features an off-road model for ultimate traction. Crafted from rubber with fake buckle straps adorning the two straps and the brand’s signature milk and honey scent faintly present, the Freedom Moses slides are the most elegant and simple option of all.

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Rainbow Sandals two-layer premium flip-flops

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Freedom Moses two band slides

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Slide sandals

After using my roommate’s house slippers, the Cushionaire Feather slides, to do laundry while my own slippers sat out of sight under my bed, they come with this writer’s unequivocal recommendation. They are clouds on your feet, so light and porous that you sink a little into them. For something firmer, Hoka Ora Recovery slides come in a dazzling rainbow of colors.

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Cushionaire Feather pool slide

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