Ask dapperQ: Menswear Sandals Revisted

A few years ago, a reader (Claire) wrote to us asking:

“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.”

Sandals Feature via GQVia GQ

Sandals 8Via GQ

I addressed the question here best I could. If you read the post, you will note that I mostly focused on sandal alternatives, as I am not a fan of menswear sandals. Since we published that post, the menswear sandal debate has raged on, ranging from some readers arguing that sandals are a “don’t” regardless of gender presentation to other readers arguing that sandals are a must for a stylish footwear collection.

I preface this post by saying that my personal dislike of menswear sandals is not rooted in any gender-normative footwear biases. I am not trying to “gender police” or categorically rule out a fashion choice because it might be feminizing. (Quite the contrary – I love that “menswear” is adopting more traditionally feminine styles, like florals, bright colors, and sequins.) My dislike is rooted in the following:

    1. Sandals require excellent foot hygiene, and I don’t see enough of it walking around the streets of NYC.
    2. American menswear sandals tend to be very chunky. I don’t need enough tread on a sandal to go hiking because I personally wouldn’t wear sandals to go hiking. And yet, when I recommend strappy sandals, even if they are a “menswear” brand, our readers tend to say they are too feminine.
    3. I’m not too keen on how menswear sandals look with traditional boxy American menswear apparel. They often look better, in my opinion, with more breezy/slouchy or slim-cut European styles.

SandalsI had recommended Etsy unisex sandals similar to these and was told they were too feminine.

But, that’s just my two cents. And, like a food critic, I’m entitled to my opinion.

However, there are some readers out there, including the original query-er, who actually agree with me re the Euro approach to wearing sandals. In that case, I am happy to recommend some examples of how to pull them off stylishly (Again, in my opinion. These may be “too feminine” for you. But, keep in mind that dapperQ represents a wide range of tastes and presentations with respect to masculinity.)

How To…

Menswear sandals 2Slim-cut, tailored, and clean via Men’s Fashion & Style

Sandals 5Slouchy swag via

Sandals 6Birkenstock style sandals don’t have to be stereotypical. Instead of pairing them with cargos, try a European cut pant. Via Tumblr.

Sandals 7No mountain climbing tread here. Beat the heat in something simple from head-to-toe. Via

Mens sandals 8If you’re more of a high-fashion risk taker, try embellishments, like fringe sandals. Via

Menswear Sandals 3Thongs can be dapper too. All in the styling. Via

Similar Styles…

Menswear Inspired Sandals 2Strappy, simple Volcom New School Black Creedler run in sizes women’s 5-10 and are a steal at $25.00. Available at Zumies.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 4Here’s the thing about recommending specific items: By the time this post was published, these were already sold out. BUT, this “menswear” inspired women’s sandal is also by Volcom, so keep an eye out for the Volcom brand.

menswear inspired sandals 7Buckle Leather Unisex sandals from Etsy.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 8Rainbow Inspired Leather Unisex sandals from Etsy.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 9Simple T Bar Leather Unisex sandals from Etsy.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 6For the fashion-forward risk-taker: Perfect with slouchy pants. Bed Stu Claire Sandal from American Eagle. Available in women’s sizes.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 1River Island Pappy sandal wears like a breathable menswear boot. Goes great with a pair of dressier pants (even some nice linen ones for your summer vacation). Available from ASOS in women’s sizes.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 10H by Hudson sandals available in women’s sizes from ASOS.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 11Criss-Cross Sandal from American Eagle comes in women’s sizes.

Menswear Inspired 12Men’s GBX Helio sandals start in size 6.

Menswear Inspired Sandals 13Crown Vintage Dido sandals are available at DSW in women’s sizes 5.5-11.

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  • Great sleuthing–there are some winners here, Anita! To the readers who complain that such and such is “too feminine,” I say, screw ’em. Well, let them comment, but don’t let that influence Dapper Q’s style recommendations. I think it’s important that you represent a wide range of stylish looks on the transmasculine spectrum and do so confidently, without being too concerned with those who might push your choices in one normative gender direction or another. Anyway, a couple of those Etsy choices are really nice…

  • I personally love my homemade Huarache sandals. Kits are available online, and you can tie them however you want, with whatever color rope you want, which gives a lot of versatility in look and comfort. I have the kit from xero shoes.

  • I’m so in love with the “slouchy swag” style. In fact, thank you for generally opening me up to the idea of slimmer, less “chunky” mens’ sandals. It’s quite stylish!

  • This “too feminine” arguement is well worn and past it’s sell by date! today, it’s all about, how you feel within yourself, and does it reflect that in what you wear! when your looking good in what your wearing, the last thing you want to do is, kill it with a pair of “rock climbing sandals” when you wear a suit, you compliment the look with a nice pair of shoe, and not a pair of “Timbos” boots, dont you! I love my shinny chinos and, the ideal sandal is gonna be a “slim soled, femine looking” sandal, that’s the only way the look is gonna be made complete.

  • Eh, I generally just go barefoot between March and November, but these are some awesome suggestions if I ever decide I need to own a pair of sandals. 😀 Thanks!

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