5 Summer Shoes Every Woman Should Own

by Taylor Borde

5 Summer Shoes Every Woman Should Own

A morning at the farmers’ market or a night out with your girl gang—these five styles are the essential summer shoes that will help you fashionably face warm weather, whatever the day has in store.

We’ve talked about your fall wardrobe essentials and college closet must-haves, but what about summer? Summer fashion is always changing and really comes down to your personal style: boho, vintage, modern minimalist—whatever it may be. But shoes can make or break a good outfit and ruin a good time (hello, blisters). We’re breaking down the top five summer shoes you should have in your warm-weather wardrobe to fashionably outlast the dog days no matter your budget.

Summer Shoes #1: Mules

summer shoes mustard mules

Though mules have come and gone—one day a faux pas, the next a fashion statement— what’s not to love about this simple, backless design? Especially in summer, nothing’s easier than slipping on a pair of trendy mules and running out the door. No matter your preference for heel height or pattern, you’re sure to find a style that matches your lifestyle, whether bustling to work in the humid early morning or dining downtown at that adorable outdoor patio. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of white and yellow, gingham and floral, and tiny kitten heels and comfortable loafer mules. Before you splurge on a super trendy pattern, think about which mules will complement your entire summer wardrobe, or opt for buying an affordable dupe for your favorite designer pair (or two).


alexandre birman, chloe, and gucci mules

To buy (from left to right):
Alexandre Birman Amaliah Leather Mules, $595, Net-a-Porter
Chloé Qassie Leather Sandals, $581, Tessabit
Gucci Black Gingham Princetown Mules, $750, Browns Fashion


steve madden, dolce vita, and louise et cie mules

To buy (from left to right):
Steve Madden Kandi Mule, $40, Nordstrom Rack
Dolce Vita Kaira Suede Leather Mules, $120, Lulu’s
Louise et Cie Karas Pointy Toe Slide Pump, $119, Nordstrom

Summer Shoes #2: Slides

summer shoes white ruffled slides

The mule’s flat friend, the slide, is another summer essential. The debate between what makes a shoe a mule or slide is a long one, but we’ve decided to lay down the guidelines once and for all, for the purposes of this piece. Mules are generally close-toed and heeled, with the exception of a closed-toed flat shoe (a.k.a. a loafer), whereas slides are flat and open-toed. Think an upgraded pool slide with added embellishments and more sophisticated materials.

We love this style for summer because it’s comfortable, perfect for all-day outings, and can be worn with most everything. Not to mention the breezy fit means you won’t suffer from sweaty feet during that mid-summer heat wave. Looking for a new everyday shoe? Go with classic black slides in refined leather or suede (or faux), making them acceptable footwear for your nine-to-five. Up your slide game with crystal or pearl embellishments or denim details for a statement shoe that you’ll rock all summer.


acne, rober clergerie, and miu miu slides

To buy (from left to right):
Acne Studios Jilly Slides, $410, Shopbop
Robert Clergerie Wendyd Slide Sandal, $315, Nordstrom
Miu Miu Embellished Velvet Slides, $775, Matches Fashion


seychelles, people footwear, and forever 21 slides

To buy (from left to right):
Seychelles Coast II Slide, $80, Revolve
People Footwear Lennon Knit Slides, $45, Shopbop
Faux Leather Grommet Slides, $16, Forever 21

Summer Shoes #3: Casual Sneakers

Nike Air Force 1 casual sneaker

Casual sneakers are a year-round essential, let’s be real. But give these kicks a light update for the warmer months, and you’ve turned them into must-have summer shoes, too. When June rolls around, it’s time to put your trusty black Vans in storage, and turn your attention to bright white, embroidered, and suede fashion sneakers that are perfect for weekend errands, last-minute road trips, or even a casual lunch date. Dress these clean sneaks up or down with leggings and a cropped tee or a flirty floral wrap dress. The outfit options are endless when it comes to styling casual sneakers, whether you’re rocking the new Alexander McQueens, Reimagined Air Force 1s, or classic Stan Smiths.


alexander mcqueen, saint laurent, and frye casual sneakers

To buy (from left to right):
Alexander McQueen White Straps Oversized Sneakers, $465, SSENSE
Saint Laurent Leather Low-Top Sneakers, $495, Mytheresa
Frye Lena Zipper Sneakers, $228, Macy’s


forever 21, kate spade, and adidas originals casual sneakers

To buy (from left to right):
Faux Leather Lace-Up Sneakers, $25, Forever 21
Kate Spade Amber Floral Sneakers, $198, Shopbop
Adidas Originals Superstar Velvet-Trimmed Leather Sneakers, $80, Net-a-Porter

Summer Shoes #4: Espadrilles

see by chloe espadrilles

Is there any other shoe that screams summer more than the Mediterranean-inspired espadrille? If you ask us, the answer is most certainly “No.” We wait around impatiently all year until the temperature hits a comfortable 60 degrees when we can finally break out our fave summer shoes.

Characterized by their iconic rope sole, espadrilles have been a warm-weather staple dating back over 1,000 years in France and Spain. They’re traditionally crafted with a canvas upper and wrap-around laces, but modern espadrilles are fashioned from various fabrics, including suede, velvet, leather, and elastic and are seen in every style, from platform flats to dressed-up wedges. Unlike heels, these sandals give you extra height without worry of toppling over after one too many margs thanks to the sturdy bottoms.


rag & bone, aquazzura, and stella mccartney espadrilles

To buy (from left to right):
Rag & Bone Tara Suede Wedge Sandals, $450, Barney’s
Aquazzura Love Tassel Ankle-Tie Espadrilles, $550, Matches Fashion
Stella McCartney Espadrille Sandals, $495, Mytheresa


vince camuto, manebi, and steve madden espadrilles

To buy (from left to right):
Vince Camuto Katila Suede Espadrille Wedges, $65, Gilt
Manebi Leather Espadrille Sandal, $59, Gilt
Steve Madden Kimmie Flatform Espadrille Sandals, $69, Macy’s

Summer Shoes #5: Heeled Sandals

steve madden blush suede heeled sandal

The final member of the essential summer shoes: the heeled sandal. More specifically, an open-toe heeled sandal with a classy ankle strap. This style is flattering on every foot and makes sure your shoe won’t slip off in the summer heat. Obviously this heel isn’t practical for everyone’s day-to-day, but it is a must for your more fancy summer events. (Think weddings, graduations, and high-brow pool parties.) Slipping on a heeled sandal is an easy way to elevate a basic jeans and t-shirt outfit with little-to-no effort and maximum style reward. For summer 2018, we’re in love with whimsical comma heels, see-through accents, embellished heels, and all-over denim. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color or funky embellishments (that’s what summer is all about, right?), but don’t neglect the effect a classic black heeled sandal can have on an ordinary outfit.


valentino, gianvitto rossi, and sophia webster heeled sandals

To buy (from left to right):
Valentino Suede Twinkles Ankle Strap Sandals, $995, Forward
Gianvito Rossi Frayed Denim Kiki 105 Sandals, $636, Browns Fashion
Sophia Webster Rosalind Crystal Sandals, $606, Farfetch


helgah, kendall + kylie, and a new day heeled sandals

To buy (from left to right):
Helgah Fringe Sandal, $80, Sole Society
Kendall + Kylie Enya Heeled Sandals, $90, Lord & Taylor
A New Day Ema High Block Heel Pumps, $30, Target