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Have you ever gone to buy sandals only to realize you don’t recognize any of the brands? The best sandal brands often fly under the radar because demand is so seasonal. In many cases, one gets stuck with whatever options popular shoe brands force upon retail shelves. That’s not what this guide is about.
The first time one slips their foot into a cushioned, self-gripping, Norweigen leather sandal is often the point of no return. This guide is for those seeking that caliber of sandal brand and for those that don’t like settling for second best. In this guide, we’ve rounded up a collection of the most stylish, most comfortable sandal brands on the market.
Before you order your next pair of sandals, there are a few key considerations to make. Each plays a pivotal role in the overall experience, design, and feel of sandals. Keep in mind each is influenced by the others:
Style: Timeless, formal, casual, dress, etc.
Price: Bargain, luxury, etc.
Fit: Casual, performance, poor, etc.
In some cases, these considerations overlap—luxury sandals are often casual and stylish. However, better styles, better fits, and better designs generally mean higher prices. Lower prices equate to just the opposite—lower quality, less style, and less comfort. If you find a low price keep in mind it’s likely because either style or fit has been sacrificed.
OluKai is one of the most popular sandal brands on the market and features a uniquely Hawaiian style to all its designs. They have hand-crafted leather footwear, often with ornate and complex stitching, that embody the spirit of the island lifestyle. Their sandals come with slip-resistant outsoles, comfortable footbeds, and durable strap connections to last. This sandal brand excels not only in comfort but also in creating truly original style.
Reef is a brand that needs little introduction. They’re rockstars in the beachwear industry and have had their name tagged on professional surfers, bikini models, and surf-shops around the globe for decades. Reef sandals come in a range of styles and have some best-hits like the bottle-opener-sandals that have kept them ahead of the competition throughout the years.
OoFos is a sandal brand specializing in high performance and recovery. Their patented OoFoam technology is designed to absorb almost 40% more impact than comparable designs. They offer sandals, shoes, and boots and 2% of all proceeds go to help support cancer research. OoFos makes some of the most stylish sandals for those suffering from medical conditions like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and also for athletes looking to keep their edge razor sharp.
Vionic is a remarkable footwear company for its pioneering supportive technologies. Their products feature APMA-approved designs of multi-zoned orthotic support designed for conditions like plantar fasciitis. Their slip-on sandals are that of legend; having incredible comfort without falling into the category of grandma’s slippers. Vionic should be on your shortlist if you’re looking for unmatched comfort without sacrificing style
Mephisto Shoe Company is more than 50 years old, has seen more than 600 styles grace the pages of their catalogs, and has operated over 350 retail locations. To say they’re a popular sandal brand would be an understatement. Mephisto offers some of the most comfortable luxury sandals on the market today. Their shoes have soft natural leathers, hand-stitched craftsmanship, and are trailblazers in terms of style.
Grenson is one of the oldest, most-revered shoe manufacturers in the world. Today, their catalog is filled with hand-crafted artisanal shoe designs including some of the best men’s and women’s sandals available. These sandals aren’t for the budget shopper but if you’re looking for the best look no farther. Grenson is, hand’s down, deserving of the top pick on any roundup of sandal brands.
Birkenstock is one of the oldest shoe manufacturers in the world. Their pioneering styles are the source of inspiration for designers around the world, and for good reason. Birkenstock sandals use eco-friendly materials (water-based adhesives among other things), are designed for comfort, and look downright incredible. We don’t consider anyone a serious sandal enthusiast unless their shoe collection has at least one pair of Birks.
Sandals come in many styles, materials, and designs. Whether you’re looking for something minimalistic to wear in the sand, something artisanal to strike up a conversation, or just something comfortable in the middle—these brands have you covered. Don’t let yourself be fooled either: these brands don’t limit themselves to super expensive sandals. You’ll find reasonably-priced designs from most of these sandal brands—don’t be afraid to dig into their catalogs!