Who says sandals should be worn only during the summer? As college students settle in on campus, classrooms become something of a study in personal style. And with that come sandals and their many iterations during fall.
“College students looking to stay stylish can opt for sandals with a slight heel or a bootie-like structure,” explains Angél Hakim, editor of fashion blog The It Girl. “These can be worn during the warmer fall months, and paired with tights when the weather gets cooler.”
Your sandals: Dressy or casual?
The fun part about sandals is that they can take many shapes, creating more or less coverage depending on the style you choose -- from barely there T-strap flats to peep-toe sandal boots, which are all the rage on the runway this season.
“The strappy sandal with a heel or the heeled sandal that has an ankle-cuff feature are both great for the college scene,” explains Los Angeles-based fashion expert Lauryn McCulloch. “The wedge sandal with the possible peep toe can be both casual and classy and be one of those pieces that you can dress down or dress up.”
But before you buy the first cute pair of sandals you see, take time to consider your needs. Most notably, your budget.
“These styles can be found in so many different colors and prints and prices, and there is something in style for every budget,” says McCulloch.
In addition, think about where you will be wearing the sandals. If they are for a specific event pay attention to how dressy -- or undressy -- they are.
Flats or heels?
Conversely, if you’re purchasing sandals for everyday wear, consider the amount of walking you do daily. Even if you live on a small campus, slightly uncomfortable shoes quickly can become downright unbearable.
“Style and comfort can be combined by making sure the shoe is in the right position (when trying it on) and the right size, and possibly adding gels or inserts to make the shoe more comfortable for her,” McCulloch explains.
How long you will keep the shoes is another important factor. The goal should be to marry quality, style and affordability to get the most bang for your buck.
“Flats are more of an everyday, walking around shoe and should be more durable and comfortable if they are going to be worn more often,” adds McCulloch. “As for style, consumers should go for something that is going to represent their personal style and statement of who they are.”
Sandals stay in style
If that last part has you asking, “What IS my style anyway?” you’re not alone. Personal style is something that changes from year to year, season to season. Your cues for a custom look may appear on the runway each season.
“While black and brown are practical, stay on-trend in sandals in emerald, oxblood and deep blue,” suggests Hakim. “Laser cut-outs are also a season-appropriate attribute, as textures are becoming more prominent on the runways.”
Hakim also recommends keeping in mind the seasonality of the shoe.
“Something with less fabric will not carry over as the temperatures drop, so it isn't wise to invest in a strappy sandal that you won't get much wear out of,” she says.
Size it up
If you’re going to go through the trouble of carefully choosing the perfect summer-to-fall sandal, for the love of Jimmy Choo, make sure they fit! There’s nothing worse than an otherwise stylish woman hobbling down the sidewalk like a hot, blistered mess.
“Both expensive and budget-friendly sandals can be painful, so it's less important to worry about the price tag and more important to focus on the needs of your feet,” Hakim says.
Flat sandals may seem like the most comfortable choice, but the lack of support can cause arch pain or shin splints. Hakim suggests using shoe inserts, which are now made for many shoe styles, including sandals. Additionally, moleskin, which is soft and padded on one side and sticky on the other, can provide relief for areas prone to blisters.
Online shoppers should pay attention to reviews for specific sandals for help in choosing the most comfortable and stylish option within your budget. After all, it’s better to know somebody else got blisters from those to-die-for sandals than to get them yourself.