8 Ways to Wear Sandals this Summer

mens street style sandals

So the time has come to consider a pair of summer sandals. Although the warmer weather has (yet again) let us down this year, there’s still no reason why you can’t add a little season-appropriate footwear into your life.

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Whether you’re jetting off to a tropical paradise, perusing the cobbled streets of some ancient European town or simply walking around the British countryside, sandals are the perfect solution to summer dressing. Our guide will not only showcase what’s on offer in the sandal world, from dress to casual sandals, leather to flip flops and all that’s in between, but we’ll also advise you on how to style them regardless of your age, height or body type. Understood? Read on to learn the ins and outs on how to wear sandals for men.

How to Wear Sandals for Men

That tricky dilemma of understanding how to style a pair of sandals has haunted British men for years. That’s largely down to the fact that we rarely, if ever, get a decent summer, so our legs are never on show. But fear not, the modern way to wear sandals isn’t just confined to pairing them with shorts. There’s a whole new approach to dressing up or dressing down a pair of men’s sandals this season.

Sandals With Shorts

Let’s start with the basics. Shorts and sandals are your wardrobe’s best friends, and when paired together during the summer months they make for a match made in heaven. Short lengths vary depending on the style you want to go for – be it a smarter chino that hits just below the knee, a pair of denim cut-offs frayed at the hem, or even swim shorts that are bright enough to catch the attention of anyone sunbathing on the beach.

mens street style sandals shorts

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With that in mind the type of sandal you choose should preferably coordinate with the style of short you’re wearing. For example, a smarter chino style would work best with a slightly elevated pair of leather sandals rather than a more casual pair of mens leather flip-flops. Speaking of, flip-flops work best with a more casual pair of shorts made from denim or lightweight cotton. They’re best confined to summer holidays as a ‘thrown on’ option, especially if you’re visiting a beach resort, because they provide less arch support for your feet. Avoid walking long distances in these!

Sandals With Trousers

For smarter occasions, or when the weather isn’t looking quite as sunny but you still want to vibe a casual summer style, wearing sandals with trousers is an ideal alternative to the shorts-sandals combination. Thanks to menswear designers pushing the resort lines over the past few years wearing sandals on a day-to-day basis has become common practice in society. No longer should sandals be confined to the beach, instead men can decide to wear them out and about during the day, from the city to the beach and the countryside.

birkenstocks and trousers mens street style
Birkenstocks and trousers mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: I Am Galla

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Pair mens leather sandals with jeans in a faded wash or coordinate them with lightweight chinos and a basic t-shirt to achieve the ultimate dressed down outfit. Cropped trousers work well too if you’re willing to show off a little more ankle than you’re used to.

Men in Sandals

It’s all well and good explaining the benefits of wearing sandals with shorts or trousers, but how about putting that advise into practice. Take inspiration from some of the slickest street inspired outfits that combine men’s sandals with outfits suited to any occasion, and get the look online at The Idle Man.

Summer Tailoring and Sandals

Switch out the stuffy three-piece suit you wear everyday to the boardroom and opt for a stylish, yet ultimately casual, summer tailoring look. Learn to experiment with colour with a statement blazer in a summer appropriate hue, and consider cotton chinos over suit trousers to pair with a smarter pair of two-strap leather sandals in a neutral shade.

mens suit sandals summer style-min
A man wearing a suit with sandals
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Keep it Monochromatic

Dressing failsafe in an all-over monochromatic colour is a surefire way of maintaining a casual sense of style this summer. If you’re afraid of louder summer colours, or are just more partial to a moodier wardrobe, then always opt for flattering black as it can be interchanged back into your wardrobe throughout the year. Pair a basic crewneck t-shirt with black jeans and similarly black sandals for an on-the-go city dweller look.

Gladiator Sandals

If you’re a style-conscious guy that wants to be on trend this summer then opt for a gladiator boot sandal. The style has been big news on the menswear runways of Givenchy, Rick Owens and Versace, and is an ideal way to stand out from the flip-flop crowd. Because they’re such a statement piece keep the rest of your outfit simple by pairing a longline vest with summer shorts.

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Most Comfortable Sandals

If you prefer comfort but you don’t want to compromise on style then a simple pair of flip-flops should be an instant addition to your summer wardrobe. Flip-flops are fairly affordable, but can range higher in price if the material used is luxurious, like leather for example. But most of the time flip-flops are the go-to summer holiday essential, and are the footwear of choice when visiting the beach or the pool, as they’re hardwearing and more often than not waterproof.

Men’s Flip-Flops

Whether you’re considering a cheaper foam or rubber upper, or want to splash out on a pair of supple leather flip-flops, the key is all about the comfort. All variations are superb for holiday getaways, however it’s worth considering what you want to do in your flip-flops. For beach days it’s best to opt for a pair of lightweight, durable rubber flip-flops that can be taken on and off at a moments notice, and that can transport from water to sand without getting ruined.

Mens leather flip-flops are decidedly more sturdy, but less suitable for poolside lounging. Wear these out to early evening dinners or tourist excursions as they’ll provide a little more support than your basic flip-flop normally would.

mens flip flops street style-min
A man wearing shorts and flip flops
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Best Walking Sandals

Sometimes you just want a pair of sandals that will withstand all the tricky terrain you intend to conquer. If you’re an avid rambler then mens sport sandals are the perfect shoe of choice that can provide comfort and style with much needed durability. Walking sandals are designed with arch support in mind and are consciously made from sportier materials like breathable mesh and scratch resistant rubber.

Men’s Birkenstocks

While Birkenstocks may have become wildly popular with the fashion world over the past few years, their original design was actually intended to provide comfort for those struggling with foot pain. The Birkenstock is a men’s sandal with arch support, purposely designed with an ingenious foot mold base that fits to its wearer’s feet.

birkenstocks mens street style black trousers white shirt mens street style
Birkenstocks mens street style
PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Forsgren

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Bear in mind that Birkenstocks retail slightly more expensively than regular sandals, but what you’re investing in is a shoe that combines comfort and style crafted into a shape engineered to maintain balance and to improve posture. Birkenstocks also arrive in a variety of styles, from the popular two-strap Arizona to the ankle-strap Milano.

Men’s Sports Sandals

Sportswear specific brands like The North Face and Jack Wolfskin are masters in designing the ultimate all-terrain sports sandal. What differentiates a sports sandal from a regular sandal is its material – usually made from hardwearing leather, mesh, waterproof rubber and a non-slip sole, rather than a ‘fashion’ sandal that favour design embellishment over performance.

Most, if not all, sports sandals are built with a closed shoe shape in mind, combining an ankle strap with a closed toe upper. Some feature Velcro straps for ease of use, whilst others incorporate toggle or zip enclosures. The sole is usually arched for comfort and comes with inbuilt treads when crossing between different terrains.

Best Sandals for Men

Wearing a pair of leather sandals takes a little more upkeep than regular rubber sole flip-flops. There’s the leather conditioning to take into account, so learn to polish and treat the leather to ensure a sleek finish. Once you break in a pair of leather sandals then they’ll be the most comfortable shoe you’ll own in your summer wardrobe.

<b> Brad Pitts loves his white shirts <br> PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest <b>
A man wearing sandals with black trousers and a white T-shirt
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

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Best Gladiator Sandals

Perhaps one of the trickiest sandal styles to pull off on this list is the stylish, and currently on trend, gladiator sandal for men. Inspired by mens roman sandals, the gladiator shape features an unusual amount of ankle straps that span all the way down the foot. This style has been picked up on by street style guys around the world who combine the leather gladiator sandal with oversized shorts, classic chinos turned up at the cuff or simple summer shorts.

The gladiator sandal is ideal for dressing up a casual outfit because of its statement qualities. Be sure to avoid this style if you’re conscious about your legs as all eyes will be on them when you sport these beauties. If you are inclined to rock a stylish pair of gladiator sandals then why not experiment with volume courtesy of a wide-leg trouser, or a longline vest and shorts?

Men’s Dress Sandals

Considering swapping the brogues for Birkenstocks? Dress sandals have become common territory with stylish gentleman as of late. For those of you who are brave enough to rock a pair of sandals with a suit then more power to you. Keep this eccentric style to the summer months however. You don’t want to endure the wet and windy weather of winter in a pair of flip-flops now do you?

Men’s Closed Toe Sandals

One way designers have elevated the regular flip-flop sandal design is to incorporate a closed toe upper that can be worn on pretty much any terrain. A closed toe sandal is sturdy and durable, yet unlike a sports sandal, it is more stylish and easier to combine with everyday items from your wardrobe.

Pair closed toe sandals with a summer blazer and light wash pair of chinos rolled at the cuff, or instead opt for a tailored pair of suit trousers and shirt tucked into the waist to offset a funky, casual office appropriate outfit.

mens birkenstock summer sandal
A man wearing birkenstock sandals
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest

How to Wear Sandals for Men

  • Consider the type of sandal with the length of short you’ll be wearing. Anything tailored should be styled with leather sandals.
  • Sandals can be paired with trousers, but make sure they’re lightweight in denim or cotton chino fabric.
  • Change up your office attire with a bright summer suit and pair with sandals during the warmer months
  • Birkenstocks are the shoe of choice for style combined with comfort.
  • Leather sandals should be conditioned every few months with polish and oil treatments to keep the material supple all year round.

On That Note

What have you taken away from out guide on how to wear sandals for men? Remember it’s all about combining comfort with style, but ultimately it’s about what occasion you’ll be wearing sandals for. If it’s for a beach getaway then it’s not worth investing in an expensive pair of leather sandals, save those for the office. And if you’re looking to pursue sporting activities then look for a design that combines durable materials with arch support. Style sandals with shorts, chinos, denim or tailored trousers, they’re the ideal summer shoe of choice.

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