It may not feel like it just yet, but soon enough it’ll be time to ditch those stuffy winter boots and embrace the open-toed freedom of sandals. But don’t think for a moment that this means sacrificing style for comfort, or vice versa. For those dressier occasions on your summer calendar (or if you’re traveling to a tropical resort), leather sandals can be a perfect choice. With sleek designs and rich textures—and some, a millennia-spanning artisanal heritage—they easily add a touch of sophistication that a flip-flop could never do. Don’t mistake that as an encouragement to show your bare toes when the dress code is full-on formal, but there are certain pairs that can bestow a guy some well-deserved panache. Look for sandals with buckles or straps that add a little extra detail, or go for a minimalist design for a more streamlined look.
For every dressy sandal out there, there are infinite casual styles suited for everything from plodding through a beach parking lot to scaling the face of a cliff. Just close your eyes and take a moment to think of all the different open toe options out there: pool slides, jellies, huaraches, clogs,
Subscribe to Observer’s Lifestyle Newsletter
All products featured are independently selected by Observer editors. When you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission that supports our work.
The Best Men’s Sandals
Ancient Greek Sandals Filippos
Made by hand in Greece, Ancient Greek Sandals’ woven leather Filippos slip-on is inspired by the classical period and modernized with an anti-slip rubber sole. This style works seamlessly with chinos or dress pants for a polished summertime outfit; opt for shorts, jeans, or linen pants for a laid-back look.
The Cushion Tradewind is REEF’s most comfortable sandal yet, with two adjustable straps and a plush EVA outsole that lends cushioning, rebound and support. The slide sandals are available in an array of colors and are suitable for both on and off the beach (and at only $55, they’re frankly a steal).
Japanese label Suicoke is renowned for designing impeccable sports sandals like the Depa-V2. Black webbing straps and contoured antimicrobial footbed lining provide exceptional comfort and support, while the flexible Vibram outsole is slip-resistant on slick surfaces. Sure they’re trendy, but also rugged enough to function as a hiking sandal on uneven terrain.
Gucci Interlocking G Slides
Gucci’s slides are equipped to take you from running errands on the weekend to lounging poolside. Inspired by the Nineties, this pair is made in Italy from hefty rubber and embossed with a signature “GG” logo across the straps—the same emblem also adorns the durable tread on the soles.
Officine Creative Agora 002
The Agora sandals from Officine Creative have a streamlined silhouette with refreshingly few embellishments. The soft suede uppers—free from clunky buckles commonly found in similar clog styles—sit on grippy serrated rubber soles.
Tod’s T Timeless Suede Mules
Made in Italy, these mules showcase the brand’s signature “T Timeless” buckles along the straps for a subtle touch of sophistication to the design. The leather footbeds are contoured for optimal comfort and support, while the rubber soles are adorned with the iconic pebbles that the label is known for.
Manolo Blahnik Otawi Sandals
Manolo Blahnik is renowned for his devotion to his craft, sketching the design for each shoe first with his own hand. Blahnik’s Otawi sandals are no exception. With crisscross straps made of premium suede and footbeds crafted from supple leather, this is a stellar pick for the man about town.
Fear Of God + Birkenstock Edition Los Feliz Sandals
The Los Feliz sandals embody the minimalist-cool aesthetic of the LA-based label Fear of God (we love the velcro toe strap) alongside Birkenstock’s oh-so-comfy molded footbeds. Though they’re casual at heart, don’t hesitate to throw them on with relaxed tailoring for a fashionable ensemble.
Tom Ford Suede Wicklow Slider Sandal
Tom Ford’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in every piece dreamed up in the brand’s Italian atelier—even the more relaxed designs. Set on molded rubber soles, these slides feature butter-soft suede uppers carefully perforated with the Tom Ford logo.
Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Suede Leather
Birkenstock’s sandals offer unparalleled support and stability thanks to their contoured footbeds that follow the natural curves of the wearer’s feet. The ‘Arizona’ pair, first introduced in 1973, is crafted from suede and features flexible, durable EVA soles.
Brunello Cucinelli Suede Sandals
These classic Brunello Cucinelli sandals feature soft suede straps with adjustable buckles and molded footbeds for added comfort. Rubber soles provide excellent traction while the contrasting midsoles create a stacked effect for additional visual interest.
Bottega Veneta Cushion Mule
Bottega Veneta’s puffed patent lambskin leather slip-on boast an avant-garde look—and you’ll be able to sport them all day thanks to the padded insole. For the outsole, the Italian fashion house injects rubber nodes into biodegradable leather for optimized grip
Yukuten Sal-1 Leather Sandals
Hand-constructed with vegetable-tanned leather, Yuketen’s Bostonian sandal features two layers of braided jute and a shock-absorbing rubber crepe sole with an anti-slip tread. USA-made solid brass buckles on the straps are included for an industrial-inspired finish.
Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandal
Outdoor enthusiasts have considered Chaco’s Z/1 a staple in their gear since its inception in 1989. The adjustable straps can be customized to fit any foot size and shape that slides onto the podiatrist-certified footbed. The Classic outsole has been upgraded to ChacoGrip rubber for even better performance. Chaco’s Z-branded footwear consists of only eight eco-minded component parts, which can be swapped through the brand’s ReChaco repair program.