Summer is the official start of barbecues, beaches and breathing time for your feet. However, when it comes to men’s shoes, no other type of can present as many potential pitfalls as the sandal:Men's sandals can be too feminine, too chunky, too hippie, or just downright ugly. Sandals walk a fine line when it comes to fashion dos and don’ts. Fortunately, following these rules will have you striding to the shore, or even a summer Friday at the office, in style.
Men's Sandals Don'ts
Don’t Take A Hike
When it comes to the worst offenders in the world of men’s sandals, ones designed for serious outdoor activity top the list. This variety looks more like a full-on shoe with oddball cutouts than a sleek summer sandal. No one would doubt its comfort or utility with a lug sole and all those synthetic water-absorbent materials. After all, something so hideous must have been created to serve a purpose. However, function should never completely trump style. If you’re going to take a hike, do it with a pair of real boots, not a stout sandal.
Don’t Go Granola
Birkenstocks and Tevas are better suited for a sit-in than a night out. You probably owned at least one pair of these granola-crunching shoes at summer camp and wore them with a not-so-subtly witty frat boy style T-shirt, cargo shorts and a hemp necklace. It’s time to grow up. A real man’s sandal should channel casual sophistication, not a bonfire. The ironic thing about these men's sandals is that they are supposed to somehow be practical. The relatively hefty price tag and inability to withstand moisture say otherwise. One stroll on the lakeshore with these, and you’ll be waiting days for them to dry out. In the meantime, you’re left smelling like a dirty locker room.
Don’t Cover Up
It’s difficult to say how exactly the sock and sandal combination came into existence. By contrast, it’s astoundingly easy to spot the offenders every summer. Just go to your local amusement park, museum or outlet shopping center -- basically any place where there are tourists en masse. You’ll be bound to find argyle sock-covered feet strangled in a sandal gasping for air. Some even wear it unabashedly as though an open-toed shoe were designed to be corrupted in the most heinous of ways.
Don’t Buy In Bulk
Some people might be surprised to find out that Dr. Martens still exist. The iconic, chunky black shoe/boot with yellow stitching certainly had its moment with mall-rat teens in the '90s. What isn’t surprising is that if Dr. Martens were to make a men's sandal, it would be equally cumbersome.Summer fashion is supposed to be light and carefree, but wearing a shoe that looks like a block of wood on your foot doesn’t exactly radiate airiness. Thick foam and rubber-sole sandals with equally bulky uppers are just as offensive as the hiking type without any of the functionality.
Don’t Slide Around
Unless you’re a sideline soccer player, leave the athletic slip-ons at home. It may be easy and comfortable to slip your foot into a lightweight foam and rubber sandal, but it’s not a statement you ever want to make outside of your home or maybe the showers at the gym. This is one sandal that, despite sturdiness, has a limited ability to survive outside of its normal habitat. No matter how your wear the slide, it will always make you look like you just came from soccer practice. Even a benched Beckham wouldn’t be able to pull this one off.
Do Make An X To Mark The Spot
It can be downright difficult to find a men’s sandal that is both simple and stylish if you want something other than flip-flops. The solution: a cross-strap sandal. There are no bells and whistles here; just two uncomplicated straps to hold your foot in place. It’s also the perfect sandal if you find a traditional flip-flop that slips on between your toes to be uncomfortable. Just be careful not to go with certain faux-leather types or you could risk looking like grandpa at the retirement home.
Do Wear A Brazilian Thong
A thong as a swimsuit is a definite no-no, but on your feet it's a different story. Havaiana flip-flops drifted ashore in the U.S. from the beaches of Brazil a few years ago. It’s hard to imagine summer fashion without the ease of this soft rubber sandal that doesn’t look like a cheap mess. The best thing about Havaianas is that they are inexpensive and come in over a dozen colors. Warning: Though flip-flops do serve their purpose at the beach or poolside, we'll come after you if we see wearing them in the office.
Do Splurge On Quality
Fortunately, splurging on quality in this department doesn’t have to break the bank. A pair in slightly antiqued, worn leather will mold to your foot after just a few weeks and easily become your go-to shoe for the summer. They hold up just as well at the beach as they do on the streets, so you can wear them with shorts or jeans and a polo shirt. Either way, the scorching heat of summer will be no match for your comfortably cool feet.
Step Out In Style
As soon as that first heat wave hits, it’s time to show a little skin. There is no better way to do that than with the right pair of men's sandals. Just make sure to treat yourself to a little foot-freshening session -- clipping, scrubbing or for those completely secure with their masculinity, a professional pedicure.