We’ve reached peak summer swelter, the time of year when it’s so hot and so humid that most apparel options simply go out the window. Add to this a desire to keep activities outside—where the open-air ventilation lowers coronavirus risks but the lack of AC is punishing—and the motivation for heat-proof style is that much higher. Now is the time for the lightest weight cotton and linen, all types of shorts and, perhaps most significantly, a pair or two of well-chosen sandals.
What makes an ideal summer sandal? That depends on personal style, but the key is to center the utilitarian without sacrificing aesthetics (also key: a pedicure). We’ve combed through the current offerings to find the best selections—ones that are a far cry from beach-only sandals of years past—to find a plein air shoe for every occasion, whether you’re feeling a Teva-derived, outdoor-ready pair, or an elegant leather slide that can easily be worn with tailoring. Here are our ten essential sandals below.