Men’s Sandals: Dos and Don’ts

There can be few shoes as controversial as the men’s sandal (or “mandal”, if you will). Banished to the style wilderness for many years, they’ve seen something of a renaissance of late, with styles being spotted both on the catwalks and on the streets.

After all, why should ladies have all the fun and get to wear shoes that actually keep their feet cool when it’s baking hot outside? Men’s sandals no longer have to be confined to the beach

But it can be tricky to pitch men’s sandals correctly. They do run the risk of being too casual, or just plain inappropriate. And not everyone wants to get their feet out on show (sometimes for good reason!).

But fear not, men of the world! There are plenty of ways to wear men’s sandals (and not just with shorts!). Here we look at some common men’s sandal style mistakes, and what you should do to rectify them…

Not Taking Care of Your Feet

OK, we can’t state this enough. If you’re daring to bare on the foot front, then those toes need to be in tip-top shape. That means keeping toenails nice and short, and feet well-moisturised and fragrant. We’re not talking super-manicured here, just neat and presentable.

DO…

Use a foot scrub or pumice stone to remove any dead and dry skin (if you do this in the shower it’s easier as the heat and moisture helps soften your skin – just don’t rub too hard!). If your heels are very dry and cracked, consider using a heel balm at night to help add some much-needed moisture and heal your skin.

Trim toenails frequently, but don’t go overboard as you’ll risk ingrown toenails or infection. Once every week or two should be fine. Use proper nail scissors or clippers and cut straight across, leaving just a small amount of white at the top. Use a nail file if needed to remove any jagged edges.

Smelly Feet

Related to the above, smelly feet can be a big problem in summer, especially when you’re going barefoot in your shoes, as you’ve not got socks to wick away any moisture. Which makes mandals a bit of a problem for those whose feet tend to be less than fragrant.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not the sweat that smells. What creates the smell is bacteria.

DO…

Avoid sandals made from rubber or plastic, as these cause feet to sweat more. Look for natural materials such as leather or cotton.

Give your feet a break and don’t wear the same pair of sandals two days in a row. This will give them time to dry out properly between outings. Try sprinkling them with baking soda and leaving overnight.

Wash your feet every morning using antibacterial soap, and make sure they are properly dry before putting on your sandals. Spray your feet with an antiperspirant (you can buy ones especially designed for feet), or sprinkle talcum powder in your shoes before putting them on. This will help reduce sweat.

At the end of the day, clean and dry your feet and apply a cooling foot spray (keep this in the fridge for extra coolness).

Playing it Safe

With so many men’s sandals on the market at the moment, there’s no excuse for opting for a boring style. Neutral and boring are very different things. However, don’t go too overboard with straps and embellishment!

The exception to the above is pool sliders. As these are inherently more casual, you can get away with brighter colours, although probably not for the office (unless you’ve got a very relaxed dress code).

DO…

Look for unusual colours (although avoid anything too bright), or interesting details such as leatherwork or buckles.

Look at shoe-sandals. These are shoes that are somewhere between a shoe and a sandal, and can therefore be more versatile than your general sandals. These can look just as good with suits as they do with shorts.

Socks and Sandals

Bit of a controversial one this. On the one hand, wearing socks with them defeats the purpose of wearing sandals. On the other hand, over recent months, we’ve seen socks being sported with men’s sandals on everyone from models to bloggers.

So, maybe it’s not the style disaster it once was. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good go-to look. You still run the risk of looking like every clichéd dad-on-holiday (however, if that’s the look you’re going for, who are we to judge?), but on the other hand, rules are made to be broken. Particularly style rules. Particularly men’s style rules.

DO…

Tread carefully. Balance out the summery vibe of your sandals with thick, textured socks, and make sure sandals are sporty (think pool sliders). This isn’t one for the office, either, so keep this look just for the weekend. And be prepared to attract some curious glances.

Not Wearing the Right Size

Where sandals are concerned, it’s quite common for men (and women) to want to wear a size up as they’re more comfortable. However, if that’s the case, you should go for a different style of sandal instead as you can always get a good, snug fit without it being uncomfortable and rubbing your feet.

DO…

Try shoes on at the end of the day when your feet are slightly larger. And avoid shoes that are too loose (they won’t support your feet properly and can cause you to alter your gait, causing your ankles to rotate and putting pressure on your joints).

Insufficient Support

We’ve said it before, and we’ll no doubt say it again, but when it comes to looking after your feet long term, you need to be wearing shoes with the right amount of support. Sandals can be tough on your feet as the more lightweight structure does not always allow for support to be built in. Wearing shoes that don’t support your feet can lead to all sorts of problems in future from back pain to hammer toes.

DO…

Avoid flip flops if you’re going to be on your feet for long periods of time. Flip flops are the worst offenders in regard to foot support, which is why these should be saved for the beach or lounging round at home.

Stick to straps that fasten over the bridge of the foot and round the back of the heel. Ideally you need to have to unfasten the sandal to take it off. Anything that slips on or off easily is not going to provide optimum support and so should not be worn for extended periods. In addition, wearing sandals with fastenings allows them to be adjusted where needed.

Not Thinking about the Bigger Picture

When you’re thinking about donning your mandals, it’s important to think about what you’re going to be wearing them with. Men’s sandals are a style statement, so it’s no good just throwing on the first outfit that comes to hand (unless you’re just lounging round the house). And you don’t just have to stick to shorts either (although these do look very good with sandals).

DO…

Think about your whole outfit, what materials it’s made from and where you’re planning on wearing it. If you’re going to be wearing trousers, they should be lightweight and ideally denim or cotton. Anything too heavy is going to look odd when paired with a light, casual shoe.

Also, think about colours. While lighter, brighter colours are generally more acceptable in the summer, for a really stylish men’s sandals look, you really need to keep it fairly monochrome (this doesn’t necessarily mean just black, white and grey though – more that you should pick a colour scheme and stick to it).

Finally, if you’re wearing your sandals with trousers, turn up the hems or opt for ankle-grazing trousers. It looks far more stylish and adds to the effortless, summery look you want to aim for when wearing sandals. After all, catching your trousers under your heel is not a good look!

Get Your Sandals On!Shop Now

thumbs up icon

Conclusion

While it’s certainly possible to get men’s sandals very, very wrong, it’s also possible to get them very, very right. By keeping your feet in order, taking care of your sandals and choosing your style carefully, you’ll be able to rock the mandal with the best of them this summer and bare those toes with pride!

Dare to Bare! Find Your Perfect Sandal…

We’ve given you all the tips, now it’s time to choose your men’s sandals

Shop Now