Sandals can be best described as an open design of footwear that consists of a sole that is kept in place on the wearer’s foot by straps that go over the instep, and in some designs, around the ankle. Some types of sandals also feature a heel. It is often hard to tell apart sandals and other types of footwear, as in the case of dress sandals, with the main source of distinction being that sandals leave most or all of the foot exposed. Read on for a more detailed look at dress sandals and their various aspects.
What are dress sandals? A dress sandal is a type of heeled footwear that incorporates the shape of the classic high heel with the breathable, summery feel of open footwear. As the name suggests, they are typically paired worn to fancy occasions, and due to their open design, they are more commonplace in casual and business casual settings.
Dress sandals come in a variety of designs, with some of the most common being platform, stiletto, and kitten heel dress sandals. Stiletto heels offer a glamorous yet delicate look, but they can be harder to balance on. Platform heels offer more stability, while kitten heels are the shorter version of the stiletto. The design of the upper typically comprises of a varying number of straps that hold the sandal to the foot. The materials used to make dress sandals vary, with some of the most common being synthetic, leather, and suede.
Dress sandals are essential in any woman’s closet, especially if you plan on attending a fancy soiree during the summer. They make your legs appear longer than they are, and can be paired with a variety of outfits. Here is a look at the various aspects of this versatile footwear.
The different types of designs
1. Platform sandals
Platform dress sandals are one of the most stylish yet comfortable heel design. They typically have a platform incorporated under the front part of the shoe to make them more comfortable for the wearer. Contrary to popular belief, platforms don’t have anything to do with the length or thickness of the heel of the shoe, but rather the part of the sole that is under your toes. Platforms are very versatile, and can be paired with maxi dresses, cropped pants, ripped jeans, and skirts, to mention a few.
2. Stiletto sandals
The ultimate head-turner at parties, stilettos are one of the least comfortable types of dress sandals. However, they manage to almost make up for the discomfort that they cause with a striking, sexy design that goes well with a wide variety of dresses and pants. Stilettos give the impression that the wearer is thinner, and they also perfectly accentuate the legs (especially the calves) and generally enhance one’s confidence. Due to their show-stopping abilities, they go well with dresses, short skirts, and cropped pants.
3. Kitten heel sandals
Kitten heels are most commonly associated with Audrey Hepburn as she helped to popularize them in her heydays. Due to their low height, kitten heel dress sandals are more comfortable than stilettos, although most of them are just as thin. They are considered to be trainer heels as they are easier to walk in as compared to higher heels. However, this does mean that they can’t be worn to a fancy event – wear them all year round with any outfit from pencil skirts to cropped pants. With this type of dress sandal, you want to steer away from chunky heels, and opt to look for feminine shapes instead.
4. Slingback heels
Slingback dress sandals feature a strap that goes around the ankle or heel. The strap varies from elastic and adjustable bands to chunky buckles. They come in a wide range of designs and styles, from smart casual slingback sandals that you can pair with loose trousers to more formal designs that perfectly complement a pantsuit. Slingbacks can also be effortlessly integrated into evening wear, making them the ideal sandals to wear with your favorite little black dress. Avoid wearing slingback sandals with flared jeans as they will only hide the beauty of this footwear design.
5. Cone heels
As you might guess from their name, cone heels have a wide sole and a slim base. They come in varying heights, ranging anywhere from 1.5 inches to 6 inches. They may or may not feature a connected platform. With an ice corm or upside triangle form, these sandals vary in thickness ranging from thick round cones to thin stiletto-like heels. Sub-categories of cone heels include the claw heel, horn heel, and banana heel.
How to style dress sandals
There are so many designs of dress sandals on the market which makes it understandably hard to settle on just one pair. If you are attending a casual event, pair the sandals with cropped trousers worn with a flowy kaftan style top to achieve a bohemian vibe. You can also dress up the heels without much effort, mixing them with knee-length dresses and skirts to stand out from the crowd. They can also be worn with a pair of funky shorts that allow you to show off a bit of leg.
Considerations to keep in mind when buying dress sandals
Shopping for dress sandals can be a bit overwhelming especially since there are so many appealing designs to choose from. Here are some considerations to help you narrow down your choices:
1. The height of the heel
Regardless of the design of the dress sandal, one of the first things that you should always look at is the height of the heel. High heels are great at accentuating your legs, but they can also cause you to wobble as you walk, or worse, result in a trip and fall. To test how comfortable you are in your dress sandals, start by wearing them in the house for about a half an hour at a time to gauge the reaction of your feet. This will also allow your feet to adjust to the shape of the sole. If you are inexperienced with high heels in general or they are just uncomfortable, consider investing in a low heel such as a quality pair of kitten heels.
2. The fit of the sandal
As you might know, different brands have different sizes. As a result, you always want to try on a pair you intend to buy to determine if it is the right fit. If you are buying the heels online, ensure that you go through the size chart carefully before making a purchase. If there are reviews posted by other customers on the site, consider going through them as well as they will give you an idea of how the sandals from the brand tend to fit. Dress sandals should fit snugly and keep your foot in place as you walk. If they are too tight, they will increase your risk of developing corns, bunions, hammertoes, and even arthritis in some cases. If they are too loose, they will hinder your balance, which is very crucial especially if you are walking in heels.
3. The straps
The straps of your dress sandals should neither be too tight or too loose on your feet. Straps that are too tight tend to rub and irritate your skin, resulting in the development of sores and blisters on the upper part of your feet. On the other hand, if they are too loose, your feet will end up moving around in the sandals, which could result in you losing balance and falling. To ensure that the straps fit just right over your feet, ensure that the footbed of the dress sandal accommodates your foot and provides adequate support.
4. Heel placement and thickness
When choosing dress sandals, always go for designs that have heels that are placed directly under your heel. This will allow you to walk more naturally despite the elevation of your feet in heels. The thicker the heel of your dress sandal, the greater the support that it provides for your feet and your body as a whole. Platforms are ideal as their design allows them to distribute weight across the whole foot evenly rather than concentrate it at the heel or the ball of the foot. Therefore, consider going for wider, thicker heels to reduce the risk of spraining your ankles.
5. The material used in the construction of the heel
Synthetic materials are commonly used to make dress sandals, although you will also frequently find suede and leather varieties. High-quality synthetic dress sandals are water-resistant, and they are also quite breathable. Leather and suede dress sandals easily adjust to the shape of your feet, and they will also keep your feet from chafing. They are also very durable, allowing you to get the most out of them before having to buy a replacement.
Dress sandals are stylish and irrefutably sexy. They are also very versatile, allowing you to pair them with a variety of outfits and wear them to different events without seeming out of place. If you are buying dress sandals for a particular occasion, consider assembling the rest of what you plan to wear first so that you effortlessly coordinate them with your outfit. That being said, you can never go wrong with dress sandals during the summer.