It goes without saying that choosing the right outfit for any occasion is only half the battle when it comes to being properly dressed. You also need the right pair of shoes to complete the ensemble. This is definitely the case throughout the warmer summer months when your yen for adventure might take you on an adventure to a new, fabulous place.
Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know when it comes to picking the ideal shoe for every occasion on your summer itinerary. We’ll highlight a few of this year’s best, most stylish offerings as well. Whether it’s the beach, the mountains or the city, you’ll be ready for that next summer vacation before you know it!
FOR CONQUERING YOUR FAVORITE HIKING TRAILS
Some people love spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors, no matter what time of year it is. Others wait for the beautiful, balmy weather that comes with the warmer months. Any hiker, no matter how occasional, can tell you that your choice in shoes can totally make or break your experience on the trail. Make sure your attention stays on the beautiful vistas by choosing one of the following trust-worthy options.
There’s a reason Timberland boots like the iconic Endurance Steel Toe immediately come to mind when you think of proper hiking footwear. Timberlands don’t just give your feet the support they need to make it through even a lengthy, grueling hike in one piece. Additional features like anti-microbial linings, built-in anti-fatigue technology and soles that are virtually indestructible keep you exceptionally comfortable from the first step to the last. Timberlands are perfect option for:
- People with extra-challenging hikes on their summer itinerary
- Folks embarking on extended hikes or backpacking trips
- Anyone planning on hiking under unpredictable weather circumstances
Carefree Hiking Sandals
Of course, not everyone is planning to hike the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer. Some of us just want to spend a little time exploring and snagging excellent Instagram shots in the company of good friends, right? If that sounds like you, consider investing in a good pair of hiking sandals from a brand like Chaco or Birkenstock this summer. They’re every bit as supportive as a hiking boot or shoe, but they let you enjoy that one-of-a-kind summer feeling that only a pair of sandals can bring to the table. Consider hiking sandals if you:
- Can’t bear to bundle your feet up in traditional boots and socks
- Will be spending time hiking through or near rivers, lakes or other bodies of water
- Need sandals that are more supportive and medically sound than the average fare
Practical Cross Trainers
Are you less of a casual hiker and more of a fitness enthusiast? Is enjoying your summer vacation to the fullest all about taking your usual workout out of the gym and onto your favorite hiking, jogging or cycling trail instead? If so, it’s definitely time to treat yourself to a new pair of athletic shoes — and cross trainers are the perfect option. Not only will you be able to keep up with your most important fitness goals no matter where your summer travels will take you, but you’ll be able to do it in style. Go for cross trainers if:
- You want a comfortable pair of shoes that’s as appropriate for jogging, running or working out
- You want to get maximum mileage out of the shoes you pick for outdoor excursions
- You love colorful options that add flare and style to the athleisure looks that are all the rage right now
FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR BEACH VACATION
If there’s anything more relaxing than a summer vacation spent by the seashore, we don’t know what it is. Beautiful coastlines, picture-perfect vistas and abundant sunshine are the order of the day when you’re spending time at the beach. Going barefoot when you can is fantastic, of course, but even the most carefree beach vacation will require you to put shoes on at some point. Make one of the following options your shoe of choice, and we promise you won’t mind nearly so much!
If you’re like many people, you instantly think flip-flops when you think of shoes you’d wear to the beach — and that’s totally okay with us. Flip-flops are comfortable and open, not to mention waterproof, so they’re a perfect fit. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking those cheap dollar store offerings you grew up with are your only option. Try a premium pair of waterproof flip-flops from a top brand like OluKai instead and you may never go back. OluKai produces gorgeous flip-flops that are not only comfortable but durable and good for your feet as well. Choose premium flip-flops if:
- You’re tired of having to replace your cheaper flip-flops every single year
- You want great looking casual shoe that are actually fashionable and stylish
- You suffer from foot problems or chronic discomfort and need superior support
Stylish Boat Shoes
Of course, not every beach vacation is all about building sandcastles and spending endless hours at the beach. Some are more about soaking up the sun from the deck of a boat or while wandering up and down the boardwalk with the family in tow. If that’s how you plan to spend your summer, you won’t want to be without a solid pair of boat shoes like the Sperry Gamefish. Boat shoes don’t just help you keep your footing when the conditions get damp. You’d be hard-pressed to find any shoe that completes a fashionable seaside look with so much style. Choose boat shoes if:
- You want versatile footwear that can easily go from the deck of your favorite sailboat or fishing boat to a swanky dinner at your favorite seafood restaurant
- You enjoy engaging in a variety of activities when visiting the seashore
- You plan on spending time on the boat and need shoes you can count on
FOR STAYING COMFORTABLE ON THE GO
Deciding what you’ll put on your feet while you’re exploring your ultimate destination is one thing. Choosing the right back-up footwear to slip into in a pinch or while you’re in transit is another — as sometimes you just really need a reliable change of shoes. Don’t resign yourself to wearing your most casual option through the airport or in the train station just yet, though. We’ve got some smart ideas for smart, comfortable and stylish stowaway shoes that you can be proud to slip into when you’re on an adventure.
Portable Webbed Sandals
When unexpected travel snafus make you feel like you’ve been running from gate to gate all day long, it only stands to reason that you’d be tired of standing around in heels or boots. That’s exactly why you’ll want to keep a pair of supportive webbed sandals like the Voya Infinity from Teva close at hand.
They’re lightweight and easy to stash in a purse, a beach tote or the side pocket of your carry-on. However, they’re also stylish enough that no one would guess they weren’t the shoes you left the house in. And did we mention they’re super supportive as well? Choose webbed sandals for:
- Keeping in a purse or backpack just in case
- Potentially tiresome all-day commutes involving airports, train stations, long car rides and more
- Any getaway that requires you to pack super-light and make the most of limited suitcase space
Speaking of traveling light, what do you pack when you’re serious about making that next weekend excursion a true one-shoe getaway? An awesome pair of flats is never a bad idea for any number of reasons.
To begin with, flats are comfortable and easy to pack no matter how little luggage room you have in your bag. They’re also very much in style, not to mention appropriate for pretty much any occasion. You can wear them out to dinner or for a special occasion just as easily as you can on a casual walk on the pier or to the mall for some souvenir shopping. Make your shoe of choice flats if:
- You’re serious about taking just one pair of shoes on your vacation
- You need a back-up shoe that’s appropriate for literally anything
- You want to look stylish and put together, but you don’t want to suffer through any part of your vacation in heels
Comfy and Classic Sneakers
Of course, no definitive list of must-have summer shoes could possibly be considered complete without sneakers — right? Everyone loves slipping into a wonderfully lived-in pair of sneaks when the temperature rises for good reason.
Sneakers are supportive and reliable. They’re also incredibly versatile if you know how to wear them. Style them properly, and they’re just as clever a fit for a mini-skirt or a sundress as they are for cut-offs and shorts. Make sure your sneaker of choice hits all the right fashion notes this summer by reaching for something iconic that never goes out of style, like a colorful pair of Converse. Go for classic sneakers if:
- You love rocking a sporty, effortlessly cool look
- You want a summer shoe that’s as easy to take care of as it is easy to wear
- You know you want a casual, low-maintenance shoe look but aren’t sure which of your options would be the best fit
FOR ICONIC SUMMER FESTIVALS
Sunny summer vacations mean different things to different people. For some, it’s all about communing with Mother Nature and spending as much time under a big, blue sky as possible. For others, it’s about globetrotting and experiencing the best a vibrant city has to offer.
Then, there are the people who are really just big hippies at heart. These folks can’t call their summer complete until they’ve attended as many music festivals, art fairs and community cultural events as possible. Appropriate footwear for festivals needs to be practical, supportive and comfortable, but it has to be fashionable and trendy as well.
Beautifully Bohemian Booties
Haven’t you heard? Booties aren’t just a great winter alternative to more traditional tall boots. They’re solid and very versatile shoe options that remain in fashion all year round.
They’re also one of the most fashionable options to wear to summer music festivals and fairs. Cute and quirky options like the Rieker Fergie won’t just keep you comfortable and supported, no matter how many hours in a row you’ll be on your feet grooving to the music. They’re guaranteed to turn heads and look great in photos as well. Choose booties if:
- You want a summer-appropriate footwear option that will also keep your feet protected from dirt and dust
- You love unusual or bohemian fashion looks
- You want a shoe that you’ll get a versatile amount of use all year round
If there’s one shoe brand that is practically synonymous with fairs, festivals and other summer events, it’s Birkenstock — and with good reason. Birkenstocks are second to none when it comes to comfort, style and iconic good looks.
What’s more, Birks have literally been the “it” shoe to wear in the summer for decades, so they’re never a bad choice. Birkenstocks are perhaps one of the most versatile of all the summer shoes as well, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that they’ll go with anything you decide to wear from jeans to shorts to flowery sundresses. Reach for your Birks when:
- You want an airy, open sandal that’s also comfortable for standing or walking for long periods
- You’re going to a venue that might be dusty, damp or otherwise hard on more delicate shoes
- You want a look that’s perfectly on point
As you can see, summer footwear that’s perfectly in step with all your favorite activities offers lots of options. Today’s most innovative footwear labels are dedicated to making sure you’re always able to look picture perfect. Explore the possibilities today!