As soon as the summer warms up and I get my first pedicure of the season, I start to be click-happy with shopping for sandals online. It often backfires on me, and I have to carry five boxes to the post office because my wide feet often don’t fit in the shoes I buy. But I’ve had successes, and now I know I need four things from a sandal: all-day comfort, a wedge to give my five-foot-one frame a little height, straps adjustable and traction. Finding them year after year takes a concentrated effort of trial and error.
For my research this year, I got samples from a few trusted brands and wore them each for 10-12 hours. The following pairs have been catered for: walking up and down subway stairs for commutes, after-work drinks, shopping at Target for a few hours, birthday parties, and lots of standing and walking . It’s rare that a wide-toed sandal really covers the entire bottom of my foot, but these 10 sandals made me feel fully supported and comfortable all day long, with minimal blisters even after the first use. Now you can also enjoy late night clicks safely.
I’ve never owned anything in nubuck, but it’s fun to say and soft to wear. I pair it with my dad’s work boots, but these asymmetrical strappy sandals are the opposite of the fashion spectrum. They have a nice rubber outsole and what Clarks calls an “OrthoLite” footbed, which provides good traction and comfort for climbing three flights of stairs to a rooftop bar or using a standing desk. (It worked for both.)
I have plantar fasciitis and cannot wear insoles in sandals so arch support is an absolute must. This sandal looked like a memory foam mattress for my foot, especially my arch. They’re so light and fluffy I could run a short distance, and like many Easy Spirit sandals, they have a Velcro ankle strap – not that you can tell. But that means they are adjustable for different ankle sizes. The crisscross front also maintains the toe neckline, which was a clutch.
I took them for a ride on a 97 degree day and my feet weren’t all sweaty and slippery, due to the breathable lining of the sandal. Naturalizer calls them a “sports wedge,” and while I wouldn’t play basketball with them, I’ve walked a few avenues in Times Square wearing them. They feel stable and absorb shock, and the fabric on the toe makes it more stretchy for wider feet. Again, there is some hidden velcro. I asked my friend if she could tell, and she had no idea and pulled them off the Velcro in the middle of a Broadway theater. I’m preaching the Velcro gospel to everyone now. I tried and loved the leather models, which differ a bit from the ones pictured here, which have a sportier white background.
I’ve envied this geometric-cut leather peep-toe style on friends for years, but these LifeStride sandals are the first time I’ve seen them for wide feet. My entire foot was covered in leather with no feeling of constriction, and while these have a three inch cork heel and are perfect for a night out, they are worn with the comforts of an apartment. My favorite feature was the sneaky elastic straps on the back of the shoe to both help them pull them up and give wide feet a bit more flexibility as I walked. The sole is also super soft, almost like walking on a carpet. It was my favorite find of the group.
These three inch tall wedges are straight orthotics with hard soles that take a little getting used to, but once you get them squeezed in the arch support is great for all round use. daytime. The straps are partially elastic and easily adjustable on the classic silhouette of espadrilles. I like them best with a long flowing dress.
LifeStride calls the soft, supportive sole of this two-inch wedge sandal the “Soft System,” and that’s a perfect description. It’s super plush, but tough enough to support your foot and keep it in place. I particularly liked the navy blue chambray but it is also available in black or nude.
This sandal felt oddly light, as if the cork base was empty inside, but it was still very supportive. At first glance it might seem dressy, but I think the little ‘e’ logo makes it a bit more casual. The rubberized grooved bottom of the shoe was awesome as I scrambled over freshly washed linoleum floors in my office with a full cup of iced coffee. Phew!
These are the lowest heeled wedge shoes I have tried and used as a good compromise between flats and heels. The elastic bands are so stretchy that someone with a double width foot (EE) could wear them too. The only caveat here is that when you break them you will have to wear a bandage or rub a little blister prevention on your ankle as they cut a bit high in the back. I fell in love with purple, but they also come in black, navy and taupe.
I’ve never owned a Birkenstock, but these are a bit more pleasing to the eye and look just as favorable. There is an adjustable ankle strap with a metal buckle, but there is enough elastic inside that you can put them on and take them off without unbuckling them every time. Ideal for lazy people who are always in a hurry like me. I opted for metallic lilac to wear with more casual outfits that need a pop of color, but they are also available in black and brown leather and a print called “papaya” which I wish was fruit and not a mixture of yellow, red, and white.
Okay, these are platforms and not a wedge, but I liked the chunky caramel suede heels so much that I had to throw them in here. I’m already planning to wear them to a summer wedding as the leather lining wicks away moisture and they’re not stuffy like suede sometimes can. The heel strap is adjustable to give you a little more room with, you guessed it, velcro. The cross straps are comfortable, but the material took a day to adjust to the shape of my foot – so please be patient.
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