Blisters, straps that tourniquet the ankle, the terror of the non-pedicured toe — the hazards of the summer shoe are many.
In an office, the dilemmas only multiply. Will the board appreciate your Roman gladiator sandals? Can you hobble through the day in a knife-toe slingback from Balenciaga (£605, matchesfashion.com)? Are your tootsies just too toasty?
Sneakers have become a go-to solution for many women hoping to navigate the summer heat and still retain a modicum of smart. But in recent years, the white tennis shoe has become so ubiquitous as to be a bit boring. And what about those days when a sneaker seems just a little too casual? Surely there should be something else that works.
“I am in a constant battle with shoes,” says style writer Lou Stoppard. “Summer is the worst. Everything looks too casual for work, but anything enclosed is painfully hot.” To combat this she recommends “the satin pool slide by Simone Rocha (£350, net-a-porter.com) which has a bow detail to stop it looking like you’ve just wandered off the beach into your meeting”. She also recommends suede leather slip-ons by Ports 1961 (£353, farfetch.com). “I can attest that they are very comfortable and also non-sweaty.”
As Stoppard points out, the erosion of the office dress code has led to some nasty habits. The rise of flip flops, pool slides and grubby canvas beach shoes have become an all-too-common sight in the staff canteen. On the flip side, few things are sadder than having a pair of spanky new summer shoes trashed by sudden-onset rain. Summer footwear (especially in the UK) must be heroically versatile — ready to brave four seasons in one day.
Those who anticipate inclement weather, or who don’t like showing their toes, should consider a white boot (Chloe’s strappy Rylee boot, £995, chloe.com, even has little cut-outs to encourage ventilation) or a summer mule — the Haya leather mules by The Row (£1,136, farfetch.com) come with a tastefully chic geometric heel.
Tassels are big news this summer as well. Choose between a block-heeled tassled version by Céline (£740, celine.com) or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try Carven’s tassled boat shoe slash moccasin (£395, carven.com), which tickle the right kind of quirky itch and are remarkably comfortable, too. At this point, everyone should own a backless loafer. Isabel Marant’s snakeskin style (£450, isabelmarant.com) have a masculine panache and don’t get too hot.
However, there will always be those for whom summer style is not summery unless they’re dressed in a strappy gold sandal from Gucci (£530, net-a-porter.com), or a 1970s-style sandal like Saint Laurent’s Lou Lou (£470, ysl.com).
“Summer shoes should always have a little element of celebration, be it with a pop of colour or delicate kitten heel,” says the FT’s Flora Macdonald Johnston.
It’s the kind of footwear that evokes long sunny evenings and shots of cold rosé, but isn’t so impractical that you can’t walk home. Assuming, of course, you want to . . .