14 Different Types of Sandals for Men

A model in linen trousers sitting on a chair and putting on sandals.

Sandals are a staple for men’s summer wardrobes as they provide both comfort and style in the scorching summer heat. It is common to have sweaty feet in summers, especially if you wear close-toed shoes. But with sandals, your feet get the chance to breathe and feel the fresh air as you move around. Your feet may feel cramped up in stuffy boots or shoes, but that’s not the issue if you opt for a good pair of sandals.

The truth of the matter is that putting on and taking off shoes can be time-consuming, and more so if you are in a hurry. In this case, a better alternative is to wear sandals. All you have to do is step right in them and head out the door right away. When you come back home, you will simply have to slip the sandals off, which will hardly take seconds.

This functional footwear is the simplest and oldest form of foot covering. Archeologists claim that the first form of footwear dates back almost 8000 years. The earliest evidence of sandals has been traced to a frieze in the Cairo Museum. The notable Egyptian frieze portrays a sandal-bearer following Pharaoh Narmer, carrying his sandals with him. This goes to show that in ancient times, sandals were a symbol of status and wealth. However, today, sandals are primarily used for outdoor purposes. In contrast, the Egyptians never used to wear sandals inside their houses.

Today, high-fashion sandals have taken over the world, with a wide range of options available to all men around the world. This article covers the most popular men’s sandals that you should know about.

Flip Flops

A man sporting beach attire and flip flops.

Summers are an ideal time to say goodbye (temporarily) to socks and shoes. The reliance is more on lightweight footwear, and easy-to-wear sandals and flip flops fit the bill perfectly. Also known as thong sandals, these sandals are usually worn to casual outings such as to the beach, or for running quick errands. Since they come without any laces or zippers, it is easy to slip them on.

As far as the design is concerned, they are simple footwear that allows the wearer to relax and enjoy at the same time. Your feet have more freedom to breathe than regular shoes. Popularly known as quick-drying water sandals, flip-flops take minutes to dry up; which is unlike the case with heavy shoes or boots.

But do you know what the best thing is about these light-as-air sandals? They are super affordable! You can find them in a large variety and colors at a cheap price at any shoe store.

For high-quality flip flops, consider getting them from the ever-so-popular Chacos.

Slide Sandals

A pair of black slide sandals for men.

Commonly known as sliders, slides are open-toed and backless footwear. They are essentially an open-toed mule, boasting a wide frontal strap or a sequence of straps across the toe. If you wonder why this type of footwear was named “sliders” or “slide sandals”, it is because it’s easy to slide on and off.

Considering its comfortable and lightweight style, it won’t be wrong to say that this easy-to-wear sandal is a great alternative to flip flops. Slide sandals are sturdier and more durable, as their footbed is designed from leather or a harder form of plastic.

The first form of sliders can be traced back to ancient Rome or as far as ancient Greece or ancient Egypt. But more research needs to be done to prove that. In the late 1960s, floral-based sliders came into the U.S markets, making this type of footwear instantly popular. The vibrant and colorful sliders were a visual treat and loved by the majority of customers, leading to the production of different kinds of sliders. German brands like Birkenstock and Adidas are well-prized for inventing fitness sliders and pool sliders respectively.

Slide sandals boast a sporty look – all thanks to Adidas for being the creative powerhouse it is. Combined with their casual appearance, this form of casualwear makes for the best sandal choice when going out to a summer barbecue, the beach, or a park. For such outdoor activities, make sure to go for leather sliders.

Some of the latest and most fashionable sliders feature feathers, faux fur, and pearls.


A man wearing red crocs and black denim jeans.

Soft, pliable, and supremely comfortable are some of the words that perfectly describe crocs. Ever wondered what makes crocs so comfy? It is because crocs are made from durable rubber – EVA. Ethylene-vinyl acetate boasts softness and flexibility, which adds to the comfort level of crocs. But that’s not all. The polymer is shiny, possesses a good stress-crack resistance, is UV ray resistant, and the best of all – odorless.

The standard design of crocs includes a heel strap that provides support to the foot. This strap can be rolled forward to turn the sandals into a slip-on form. The most outstanding feature of crocs is the air toe box. Situated on the front of the footwear, the toe box has small holes that allow the feet to breathe and stay cool.

Mostly produced in China, crocs are also popularly made in Arizona, Florida, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Romania. Available in a wide array of colors, crocs can easily serve as a bold and vibrant or a simple and classic piece of footwear.


A pair of black leather loafers on a bright surface.

Loafers are a versatile form of men’s sandals that can be worn to both casual as well as formal events. They are comfortable, convenient, and stylish, which is why they have exploded in popularity all around the world. They are the best option for men who want to appear taller as the low-rise profile of this footwear helps elongate the wearer’s legs.

Luckily, loafers come in five popular styles, each of them with a unique appearance and defining features. Have a look at them, one by one.

Tassel Loafers

A man wearing black tassel loafers on gray stairs.

As the name implies, tassel loafers are decorated with tassels on top. Commonly made of cordovan leather, these loafers were initially designed as whole-cut shoes in the 1950s by Alden shoe Co.

Tassel loafers can be worn in a formal or casual setting. You can team them up with chinos, khakis, corduroy, and a blazer. For a more casual look, you can pair tassel loafers with a smart tee and casual jeans.

Penny Loafers

A pair of tan leather penny loafers.

Leaning toward a more formal style, penny loafers are more closely linked to moccasins than to slippers. They come with a stripe of leather across the saddle with a diamond cut-out. Originally, penny loafer-style shoes were worn by Norwegian fishermen. Inspired by them, in 1936, G.H. Bass & Co. created a fusion of these same styled shoes with the moccasin-type shoes, which they named penny loafers.

The reason these trendy shoes are called penny loafers is that young men during that time used to keep a penny inside of the footwear in case of an emergency.

Gucci Loafers

A handsome pair of Black Gucci Loafers.

What makes a loafer a Gucci loafer? If a shoe boasts a metal bar perched in the center of the vamp, then it is none other than the Gucci loafer. The celebrated Italian designer Aldo Gucci designed this footwear in 1963. The aim was to have a shoe design similar to a horse bit. Today, many brands have produced horse bit shoes, but they are all known as “Gucci Loafers”.

These loafers go best with business suits and semi-formal attire.

Slipper Loafers

A pair of black leather loafers on a wooden surface.

There was a time when men used to think twice before going out in slippers. But with a slip-on designed slipper loafer, stepping out in slippers never feels odd. The slipper is made from a strong and sturdy leather insole, slight heel, luxe velvet or suede upper. In addition to being sleek and modern, slipper loafers serve as the best shoe option for both casual and formal occasions.

To nail the casual look in slipper loafers, pick slipper loafers in contemporary leather material and a more neutral color.

Espadrille Loafers

A man wearing a pair of Black Espadrille Loafers with a tiger-face design.

Also called espardenyes, espadrilles are casual flats that boast cotton or canvas fabric. Owing to their soft and lightweight fabric, the sandals provide the utmost comfort to the wearer. Another defining feature of this type of footwear is the soles of the shoes, which are made of the unique esparto rope.

This type of sandal can be traced back to 1322 in Europe where it was once peasant footwear. It rose to popularity when the sandals became the footwear of urban workers. While typically the soles of espadrille loafers are flat, at times, they come with wedges or chunky heels as well – but this kind of design can only be seen in women’s shoes.

Gladiator Sandals

A pair of gladiator sandals with red straps.

Strap-based sandals started to come about at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the full gladiator-style didn’t crop up until the late 1960s. The unique strappy look was considered bold at that time as the straps snaked up to knees as well. On runways, male models flaunted gladiator sandals in shorts which made the look hip and fashionable. These distinguishable sandals remained popular in the ’70s, but their popularity soon waned out.

It wasn’t until the spring/summer 2002 collection of Calvin Klein that gladiators made a full resurgence in the fashion scene. The collection brought these stylish sandals into a different light, made from contemporary materials – linen, leather, or satin – making them appear soft and elegant. Other designers followed suit by adding unique features – zippers, laces, or heels – to the sandals.

Today, gladiator sandals continue to change in styles and designs, and they don’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon.

When dressing up gladiators, go with denim cut-offs or swim trunks. In addition to sandals, they can also be paired with casual trousers. If you are all about going extra, gladiator boot sandals are a fun and bold choice which can complement your outfit. Gladiator sandals on summer shorts paired with a cool vest will make you look beach-ready.

Sports Sandals

A pair of gray-and-black sports sandal shoe.

Sometimes known as sporty tourist sandals or hiking sandals, sports sandals have made athleisure breezier and trendier than ever. Initially designed for hiking and outdoor adventures, fashion influencers, and street stylists have played a huge role in bringing these sport-specific shoes into the mainstream world.

Today, the sandals have become a major part of high fashion footwear. From simple monochromatic styles to those with thick soles and dazzling straps, sports sandals can be seen in plenty of designs. If you prefer minimalism over bewildering styles, you don’t need to worry. The spring/summer 2019 collection by Teva has got you covered.

These unisex sandals offer arch support, which protects you against various foot problems. This also means that you can sport this footwear for a long period of time; for more cushioning, you can use inserts that will stick to the footbed and make long-term wear a possibility. In addition to the comfy insole, the sandals come with rubber outsoles which add to the overall comfort level.

While many sandals boast different colors and textures, sports sandals are one step ahead as they come in several different shapes, too.

Fisherman Sandals

Gray-and-Black Fisherman Sandal.

This is a form of casual footwear that is often worn by both men and women. These unisex sandals have been around since ancient times – in many writings and illustrations. They have been mentioned multiple times in these writings, suggesting that they were sported by ancient civilians.

Fisherman sandals come with back and center straps. The back strap runs across the ankle while the center strap is on the front side of the sandal. The straps are non-adjustable in design and serve a decorative purpose. That being said, sometimes, this type of sandal comes with a loop that can be adjusted with the help of Velcro or a buckle. The open design of the sandal keeps the foot cool and relaxed due to the well-placed straps.

Most of the fisherman sandals are designed using leather or any synthetic material. Hence, the common colors that these sandals come in are black and brown. That being said, some high-end brands market fisherman sandals in a variety of color combinations.

Fisherman sandals are best worn casually with shorts, skinny denim jeans, khakis, or trousers. Like sport sandals, these items of casual wear are comfortable to wear for extensive walking trips such as shopping in malls, hiking or trekking, or just taking a random stroll. Owing to their strong and sturdy soles and straps, it becomes easier to walk in these shoes.

Boat Shoes

A man wearing a pair of brown boat shoes.

Popularly known as deck shoes, boat shoes are made from leather with non-marking soles. Specifically designed to be used on a boat, deck shoes help provide solid grip and support on a wet ship, boat, or deck. This result is achieved through the masterful leather construction and powerful stitching -both of which help in repelling water successfully.

Traditionally worn without socks, boat shoes were invented in 1935 by Paul A. Sperry of New Haven, Connecticut. Waterproof and slip-resistance are the two main features of these shoes that have made them famous worldwide. Since the 1970s, boat shoes have been the first choice among professional sailors and boatmen. Although the initial purpose of these shoes was strictly functional, they eventually became a major fashion trend from the 1980s to the early 1990s. In the early 20th century, people started wearing these shoes with slouch socks. They would usually wear them with French rolled jeans to flaunt the trendy socks. Girls would also rock this trend by wearing them with a turtleneck or a crew neck and leggings.

At that time, the two most popular brands for this informal shoe wear were Sebago and Eastland. However, in contemporary times, the famous boat shoe brands include Sperry Top-Siders, Sebago, and Timberland.

Ballet Flats

A man dancing in ballet flats.

If you thought that ballet flats were only for women, think again. In today’s modern times, there is a broad range of flats that men can wear, too. Some of them are discussed in detail below:


Designed by Kfir Gavrieli, Tiek flats are rapidly gaining popularity, and for all the right reasons – they are comfortable, durable, and portable. Note that these flats are not your average ballet shoes. They are designed to provide 10 times more ease and comfort than everyday flats or ballet shoes.

They are easy to slip on and off; you won’t even have to bend down or use your hands to take the sandals off. The shoes are designed with soft leather, which ensures that the feet remain in the best possible condition for a long time. As compared to traditional ballet shoes, tieks come with extra cushioned rubber soles. The backs of the flats are also cushioned (rather than elasticized) and therefore, they don’t feel too tight at the heel.

Ballet Flats by Telfar

The all-time famous designer – Telfar – is well-prized for introducing unisex flats on his runway. The distinguishing quality of his flats is that they lie somewhere between traditional flats and the standard Vans-style sneakers. The flats come in standard colors – white, black, and the white-and-black combo.


These are the best men’s sandals that every man’s wardrobe must be filled with. It is also important that you get these men’s shoes from notable brands such as Nike, Bottega Veneta, OluKai, Birkenstock Arizona, Adidas, and Teva. For convenience, you can head over to their official websites and place your order for delivery or get them from the nearest branch!

Holt Renfrew Store in downtown Montreal

25 Things About Holt Renfrew Clothing Store You Didn’t Know

A woman wearing a pink patterned scarf over her shoulders.

15 Different Types of Scarves