The best women’s sandals for summer 2023

27 Jul 2023|By Zoe Gunn

Ditch your sneakers and book a pedicure; sunshine is just around the corner

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The beginning of the summer holidays also heralds the start of sandal season which, for anyone rueing the restrictions of boots and loafers in the winter, will come as quite the relief. The other good news? With foreign breaks on the horizon and summer weddings and parties filling diaries, designers have stepped up to the plate and delivered a bumper crop of women’s sandals for all styles and occasions this season. From chic flats and beach-friendly wedges to sky-high heels, these are the best sandals to buy now.

The best flat sandals

A great pair of flat sandals are the bread and butter of any good spring or summer wardrobe so, accordingly, the choices are vast. For something versatile enough to pair with everything from dresses and skirts to cut-offs and jeans, you can never go wrong with Birkenstocks – although Arizona Love’s cult bandana hiking styles are quickly giving them a run for their money.

If you’re in need of something a little more formal, Chloe’s classic sandals with oversized buckles are a chic option to pair with summer dresses, while we can think of few designs better suited to dancing the night away than Christian Louboutin’s floral silk sandals.

Birkenstock Arizona Nubuck Sandals

£115
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Arizona Love Trekky bandana-print espadrille sandals

£160
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Chloe Rebecca leather sandals

£645
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Christian Louboutin Niloofar floral-print satin wraparound sandals

£525
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The best wedges

Banish all notions of the chunky, bottom-heavy wedges that were so popular in years past. For summer 2023 there’s a new breed of wedges in town and they are much, much chicer. Take, for example, Amina Muaddi’s mules, which tap into the Y2K revival trend with their sleek, minimalist lines. Alternatively, Valentino’s classic leather versions add height without the discomfort of an actual heel, making them an ideal option for summer in the city.

Of course, if it’s holiday sandals you’re looking for, you’ll want something a little lighter and more casual. Espadrilles are the obvious choice here and few do them better than Spanish brand Castañer, which created the world’s first wedged version in collaboration with Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s. Go for an updated version of the original with their crocheted version, or Gucci’s lace-up take on the style.

Amina Muaddi Lupita wedge sandals

£1,390
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Valentino Garavani leather espadrille wedge sandals

£690
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Castañer crochet wedge sandals

£103
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Gucci lace-up espadrille sandals

£545
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The best flip flops

While we would never recommend them for work, flip-flops can be a great choice for casual and even smart-casual events if you know where to look. Eschew more common rubber and foam designs in favour of luxe leathers with interesting detailing.

The Row and Chloé add a touch of whimsy to classic silhouettes with platformed flip flops and a bright yellow option detail with broderie anglaise flowers. For something a little more eye-catching, Gucci's version reworks the style with an elongated toe-post and its iconic GG logo while Alexandra Birman renders hers in a pretty pastel pink with soft bow detailing.

The Row leather platform flip flops

£940
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Chloé broderie anglaise leather flip flops

£550
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Gucci GG Marmont T-bar leather sandals

£475
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Alexandre Birman Clarita flat sandals

£481
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The best slides

Again, probably not a style for the boardroom but, as streetwear has become an increasingly important part of the modern fashion industry, so too has the humble pool slide been elevated to a summer must-have. If you’re going to an actual pool, rubber versions are perfectly practical, but for pretty much everything else you’re going to want something a little smarter.

JW Anderson’s wildly popular chain slides have been the must-have shoe of the summer for a few years now and show no signs of going out of fashion. In fact, count yourself lucky if you manage to get your hands on a pair (should you fail, Khaite’s oversized buckle designs are the next best thing). Marni, meanwhile, takes a more laidback approach in colourful raffia, while Anine Bing’s pillowy cross-strap slides are as comfortable as they come.

JW Anderson Chain Slides

£465
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Khaite Thompson buckled leather slides

£284
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Marni x No Vacancy Inn striped slides

£695
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Anine Bing Lizzie leather cross-strap slides

£360
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The best heeled sandals

Ascot, church weddings, Glyndebourne – there are some summer events for which heels just feel more appropriate. If you’re the type that jumps at the chance to don a little colour when the sun comes out then Bottega Veneta’s lemon-yellow mules are sure to be firm favourites. Malone Souliers, meanwhile, has taken its signature seasonal spin on the classic court and worked it in a hugely-versatile deep burgundy hue.

Elsewhere, Prada and Saint Laurent are each offering their take on the timeless high heel in embossed black and neutral woven leather, respectively. These are shoes that may quite possibly offer the best cost-per-wear in your wardrobe.

Bottega Veneta Padded Mules

£790
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Malone Souliers Burgundy Embossed Patent Mules

£595
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Prada Leather sandals

£720
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Saint Laurent Tribute leather mules

£710
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