The resurgence of barely there, spindly sandals this summer looks, to me, like several months in a plaster cast waiting to happen. As an advocate of sensible shoes, I will be firmly sticking to flat run-around styles with sturdy soles and the strong scent of nostalgia – the kind of closed-toe summer shoes not dissimilar to the leather sandals I wilfully scuffed in the school playground. But it’s not all jam sandwiches and Enid Blyton – a very grown-up version of the sturdy summer sandal appeared on the spring/summer 2019 catwalk at Preen. The label’s leather Indria sandals (£740) prove how versatile practical warm-weather footwear can be, working with everything from the brand’s trademark romantic dresses to sporty nylon shorts and loose-fitting trouser suits.
A Margaret Howell collection is never without a sensible shoe, and this summer’s leather, crepe-soled Basket slingback (£425) is selling fast. Howell’s best-of-British approach favours cropped front-pleat trousers and a short-sleeved linen voile shirt. Alternatively, try a striped poplin shirtdress and saddle leather cross-body bag. Similarly old school in style, Joseph Cheaney & Sons’ calfskin Belle T-Bar sandal (£250) has a Goodyear welted sole, is handcrafted in Northamptonshire and comes in mahogany and black, among other colourways.
Owned by Prada and prone to endorsing the block heel is Church’s, whose collection continues to feature sturdy sandals from one summer to the next. The Kelsey (£430) comes in black, white, navy and high-shine silver and is described as “the kind of sandal that doesn’t mind a structured look”, making it the perfect accompaniment to a pinstriped linen trouser suit. For a more elegant take on the closed-toe style, Church’s vintage-inspired Rainbow (£370) would look wonderful with a floral tea dress at a special summer occasion. A T-bar sandal, it is available in glorious shades of suede, including blush pink, walnut and deep red, in addition to high-shine calf in white, blush pink or black, with options in metallic gold or silver leather.
Those who prefer a little elevation might enjoy Grenson’s Ethel sandal (£235), featuring a lightweight, low-wedge sole and a fringed, apron front. The brand’s summer exclusive for women is the Willa sandal (£150) in dark brown or black. A handpainted, open-toed leather sandal with interlocking straps, a buckled slingback and a leather-covered, moulded footbed, it looks like it could create a serious stomp – not that there’ll be any of that kind of behaviour from this quarter…