The best sandals for women — whether you’re cruising around town or busting a move at your cousin’s wedding — don’t only look good and feel great but also provide the support your feet need. The key is to avoid traditional flip-flops and slides, which don’t offer any support or keep the back of your foot locked down and can cause painful blisters, says podiatrist Dr. Ravi Parthasarathy of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). Instead, opt for sandals that feature a cushioned, thick sole to promote arch support and ankle straps that help keep your shoes in place while walking.
In addition to a comfortable, thick sole, you want to make sure the sandals are lightweight and made from durable materials that won’t wear out over time. Look for leather and rubber, which are hard-wearing and flexible in warm or humid weather and can easily be wiped clean. Foam, on the other hand, doesn’t hold up as well over time, but can still be a good option because it provides soft, comfortable, molded support to your foot.
It’s also important to consider the height of the sandals and if they’re comfortable to walk in. Heel heights can increase your risk of injury and foot pain, so you’ll want to find a pair that have a moderate heel-to-toe drop or even better, a cuffed heel that will support your foot and shift weight away from tender areas like your heels.
According to Jacqueline Sutera, a podiatrist at City Podiatry in New York, the ideal sandals are ones that have a wide enough base to evenly distribute your weight over the entire sole. They should also have a supportive, cupped or cuffed heel that helps maintain your foot’s natural padding and cushioning, which can decline with age. You’ll also want to be sure to avoid sandals that are flat or thin, as these can harm your feet with repeated impact.
Aside from the features above, you’ll also want to be careful about how your sandals fit your foot and don’t rub against any bony prominences on your feet. The APMA recommends you try on shoes before buying them, and to be sure the sandals are long enough so that your toes can comfortably stretch out. Lastly, try wearing them throughout the day and at different times of the day to determine how they fit as your feet swell throughout the day.
The best sandals for women, according to experts, include those with adjustable straps to accommodate any feet, from those that are narrower to those with wider widths. They should also have soft, non-chafing straps and a footbed that hug your arches and absorb shock to prevent plantar fasciitis or other foot problems. The ECCO Flowt sandals above, for example, are designed to be true-to-size, with two velcro straps at the toe and heel as well as a stretchy, flexible ankle strap that allows you to adjust them for a custom fit. The sandals also have a soft, responsive foam that supports your feet as you move and is breathable in hot or humid weather. comfortable sandals for women