Summer, aka sandal weather, is in full swing. Unlike sturdy, cold-weather boots, sandals require a little extra forethought. And while some folks only have to worry about the shape of their recent pedicure, others aren’t as fortunate.
For those who suffer from plantar fasciitis, flat feet, and more, sandals can be unsupportive nightmares. More often than not, we end up sacrificing comfort for style—or vice versa.
Determined to find a solution to these sandal woes, we reached out to the experts. These sandals are chic, comfy, and most importantly, podiatrist-approved.
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What Should You Be Looking For?
This might seem like an obvious question, but it’s deceptively tricky to get right. Shoethority’s resident MD Dr. Karim Maghreby says there are several features to look for when sandal shopping.
First, you should look for “a quality sole with a deep heel cup.” Additionally, the shoes should have “an ergonomic shape that’s comfortable and supportive on the foot. Light cushioning. A quality strap system that keeps the foot comfortably on the sandal and not sliding off of it.”
“And durable, high-quality materials,” Maghreby continues. “A sandal is only as good as its durability; once it starts changing shape and feeling different, it’s time to let it go.”
Hint: Those flip-flops you bought for $5 aren’t going to cut it. Here’s what the foot docs recommend instead.
Both Maghreby and Shoethority’s resident DPT Holly Hanson recommend Vionic’s Karina Sandals. Despite their lightweight feel, these sandals have two layers that serve distinct, important functions.
The two layers include “a hard orthotic one and a soft top layer that softens impact as you walk,” Maghreby explains. “This makes it both comfortable and supportive.”
Further, “the ergonomics of the Vionic are excellent. The sandals improve foot posture and walking gait as you wear them. The deep heel cup, massage dots, and strap systems are small touches that make the shoe even better and more comfortable.”
These supportive sandals come in nine colors, each featuring the same versatile style. They’re casual enough to wear to the park but dressy enough to wear on date night, making these the ideal summer sandal.
Dr. Evan N. Simonson, DPM at Granite Orthopaedics, adds that “for women with high arches, I recommend sandals with good arch support and a deep heel cup.” One such sandal he suggests to clients is Birkenstock’s Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal.
“This sandal has a contoured footbed with excellent arch support and a deep heel cup,” Simonson explains. “It’s also super comfortable and comes in a wide range of sizes and widths.”
I can also personally attest to Birkenstock’s comfort and durability. Don’t get fooled by the price tag. These hard-wearing slip-ons will last for years, paying themselves back in virtually no time.
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Still, high arches aren’t the only downside to typical sandal styles. “If you have flat feet or pronate (roll your feet inward), look for a sandal with built-in pronation control or a medial post,” Simonson says.
He recommends Vionic’s Amy Wedge Espadrille Sandal for its “built-in cushioning, shock absorption, and arch support. That makes it ideal for women with flat feet or pronation issues.”
However, it appears that this style is only available in select sizes on Amazon.
Luckily, Vionic has a wide range of in-stock sandals in many styles and colors. All of its sandals feature a Vio-Motion supportive footbed. This clinical study-backed technology offers stability, arch support, and cushioning.
Don’t give in to yet another summer of blisters and sore arches. Similarly, you don’t have to suffer through unstylish shoes for the sake of all-day comfort.
Thanks to these podiatrist-approved picks, you can have the best of both worlds.