Menswear Sandals: Do or Don’t?

Every year when the weather starts to heat up, dapperQ gets bombarded with questions about menswear sandals. For example, Claire writes:

“Can you do a segment on sandals? Summer is coming around again, and like every year I resign myself to wearing lightweight sneakers all summer with the occasional flip flop. I just haven’t been able to find a nice stylish men’s sandal in my size (men’s 5-6). Is there such a thing? Any advice would be appreciated.”

Here at dapperQ we pride ourselves on not being the fashion police, which is why I’ve been dodging this question like Clinton dodging questions about his relations with Lewinsky. You see, I’m not a huge fan of menswear sandals. However, I thought I’d put my own personal biases aside and research what was out there so I could provide solid recommendations for our readers.

Enter Google. When I started my Google search on articles about menswear sandals published by popular on-line menswear magazines, one of the first results produced was an article titled “Blogger Showdown: Should You Ever Wear Sandals?” from Esquire Magazine, wherein two leading menswear bloggers, sandal-hating Atif Kazmi and pro-sandal Dan Trepanier, battled over whether menswear sandals are a fashion do or fashion don’t.

While Trepanier’s arguments were solid, I found myself returning to my own sandalphobe reasoning, which was not addressed by either blogger who both focused mainly on durability, comfort, and style.

Enter my bias. Take it from femme who wears lots of open-toed shoes – sandals are tricky to pull off. One false move and game over. Not only is it hard to find quality sandals that fit, are good for walking, and stylish enough to match the rest of your dapper outfit, it takes a great deal of time to make sure your feet are appropriately groomed. Hang nails, calluses, and cracked heals can be perceived as a sign of poor hygiene. But as my mother would say, “If you like it, I LOVE it.” However, I’m going to use this platform to advocate for some alternatives to menswear sandals that come in dapperQ sizes.

Sneaks made from recycled Fed Ex envelopes by environmentally friendly Civic Duty

Esquire Magazine recommends these Espadrilles by Soludos.

You can never go wrong with a pair of Toms

Boat shoes are trending right now. Try Sebago’s Docksides

Lightweight fabric Oxford from Aldo

If going sockless makes your stomach turn, try Falke’s invisible socks

Think my stance on menswear sandals is rubbish and insist on wearing Birkenstocks? At least try an updated version of the unisex Birkenstock or …

My gal who is more andro would rock something like these custom made unisex Etsy sandals

If you wear larger sized shoes and want more coverage, these GBX OB T-Strap sandals start in a men’s size 6.5 (about a women’s size 8.5)

In closing, the showdown over menswear sandals doesn’t end at Esquire. Menswear blog The Urban Gentleman visits this issue and states, “All the gentlemen wardrobe/styling books tend to avoid the topic of men in sandals. And when a book does mention it, it’s either sternly against it or indirectly snubs it.” They go on to offer visual examples of menswear sandals worn fashionably. However, they caution, “If you are choosing to wear sandals, then please get a pedicure. There’s nothing worse than a man wearing sandals with unkempt feet. Make sure your toenails are cut and feet are moisturized.”

Update 5.11.12

This post received quite a few reader comments on Facebook and Twitter. Here’s what people had to say:

“GOD SAYS NO TO SANDALS. except cute strappy girl ones. And, even those are on the line.”

“I made my own sandals.”

“Do! for healthy feet!”

“DO! this convo somehow made its way to the office the other week. I think we all just need a trip to Italy to see how fine men werk the sandal proper. never flip flops. or birkenstocks. there are so many beautiful men’s sandals out there. “

“I think it can be incredibly sexy. It’s all about the execution. And pedicure of course.”

“Menswear sandals? Do you mean mandals?? From a pure vanity standpoint I’m a no, but then – why shouldn’t [we] be able to air [our] tootsies in the warm months. If the Digable Planets weighed in they’d say ‘do what you feel.'”

“Not usually. I mean, in hot weather, we all do it; just don’t be fooled that it’s suitable for any kind of event requiring any real style. Being fab requires sacrifice sometimes, sadly.”

“No one in their right mind should wear that hippy shite.”

“DO IT! Mass amounts of comfort in the long summer days… a chance for your feet to breathe.”

“A foot thong… Those are hideous…. Birks! Really…..”

“I wear sandals all Summer, don’t like those pictured though.”

“Not under any circumstances.”


“No way!”

“Bleh. You either need to be a hippy or an unabashed fop to pull off bare toes.”

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1 Comment

  • As the original sandal query-er, I’m pleased to see this issue get so much attention–and so divisive! I disagree with those of you who categorically oppose the sandal–just because it’s gotten a bad rap for being ungainly and suitable only for granola-types doesn’t mean it can’t be repurposed–such is fashion innovation, after all. Yet the perfect sandal still eludes me, two years later. I’m afraid I don’t like any of the open toed ones in this post, though I’m planning on investing in an espadrille sometime soon. I’m still wearing sneakers since I haven’t found the perfect sandal. But I’m Italian American and I like to think that elegant Italian sandal style will make it to men’s small sizes someday.

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