Summer means grilling, the beach, and sandals. And although it’s always fun to kick your heavy winter boots aside, sandals are not the most foot-friendly shoes to be wearing. Besides the lack of support and blister-causing straps, sandals can also be easier to trip in, leading to bumps, bruises, or something worse, like rolled ankles and broken toes.
Luckily, there are supportive and stylish sandals out there. We reached out to top podiatrists across the country to get the scoop on what they personally wear and recommend to their patients.
Toesox Serena Five Toe Sandals
“Toesox sandals are great, as they have the slips between the digits which allow for better grip to the sandal and also support the individual digits during walking. I often recommend these sandals to my patients who have hammertoes as they help to support the smaller muscles of the foot.” —Emily Spichal, a podiatrist and fitness trainer based in New York City
To buy: $45; amazon.com
2 Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal
“There are many companies that have started making much better sandals. People have gotten much less formal and perform increased activities with less supportive shoes. The companies have caught on to this and have started designing better sandals. Companies like Birkenstock have been around for a long time and have made good sandals with good foot beds at a reasonable price.” —Howard Osterman, a Washington, D.C.-based podiatrist
To buy: $135; zappos.com
3 Vionic Paden Sandal
“I like Vionic sandals because a podiatrist created the company. No one knows the foot’s biomechanics better than a podiatrist. When the Vionic shoes where constructed, shock absorption and arch support where highly taken into consideration.” —Hilary Brenner, New York City-based podiatrist
To buy: $80; zappos.com
4 NAOT Footwear Kayla
“I tell my patients to think about walking on the beach and having the foot form a pattern in the sand—that is what most of the sandals that I recommend do. The second reason for the recommendation, particularly for women, is basically looks!” —Grace Hodges, a podiatrist in Pensacola, Fla.
To buy: $135; zappos.com
5 Therafit Grace Sandal
“This brand has patented technology with adjustable cushion and shock-absorbing midsoles, contoured foot bed, superior arch support, and deep heel cups that stabilize and support feet. The sandals offer relief from arch pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and pronation. The company is endorsed by the National Posture Institute and has a seal of approval by the National Podatric Medical Association. Plus they also look great!” —Dr. Spichal
To buy: $109; zappos.com
6 OluKai U’I Sandal
“I live in Florida, so patients always ask me about flip-flops. Flip-flops were never designed for all-day wear. They were mainly for shower and for pool use. However, that doesn’t stop people from wearing them outside of those realms…A few flip-flop brands that I’ve recommended include OluKai, Vionic, and Fit Flops. These brands have created designs which have contoured foot beds in which the heel sits and there is support in the arch.” —Dr. Hodges
To buy: $90; zappos.com
7 Aertex Natasha Sandal
“I especially like the Aetrex sandals that are strapped around the ankle. Not only does this provide more stability, but it allows for a more natural gait pattern. In addition, all Aetrex sandals contain their orthotics built into the sandals and are fully adjustable for a variety of foot shapes.” —Dr. Spichal
To buy: $110; zappos.com