I haven’t worn sandals for years, and that’s not because I want to hide my feet. I like my feet and have regular pedicures to keep them looking well groomed. I’m happy to bare my ankles, heels, arches and insteps, but drew a line at the toes. I simply prefer to wear closed toe footwear year round because it’s very comfortable, insulating in air-conditioning, and protective of my toes. Closed toe footwear is also a LOT easier to fit when you have boney, low volume feet. It’s hard to fill out a pair of sandals unless the styles run narrow, or you buy a narrow width size. All this to say that although sandals are a go-to footwear style for most in hot weather — they’re quite the wildcard for me. 

I’m not in the habit of wearing sandals, but I do like looking at them, trying them on, and admiring them on others. I am frequently helping clients find sandals during warm weather shopping season. So each year I think to myself: perhaps I’ll join the sandal party this season and get a fun pair. 

Gladiators are my favourite style of sandal, and since I adore white shoes I made a beeline for Shelly’s London Bea Buckle Sandal. Miraculously, it fit my low volume feet in a regular size, which never happens. I loved the way they looked and felt, and they followed me home. 

These gorgeous sandals sat in my closet for months, unworn despite Seattle’s record high temperatures for Spring. I’ve had ample opportunity to wear them, but haven’t. Every time I styled them into my outfit for the day — I took them off. The question was WHY? I loved the way they looked and felt on my feet. Trendy, stable, grounding and comfortable. They are great with my flared cropped jeans, of which I have several pairs in blue and white.

I was just completely out of my comfort zone wearing the Bea Buckle sandals. I can identify a few reasons for this. First, I’m not used to seeing my toes in outfits. Second, I tend to wear simple and streamlined shoes, and the sandal is chunkier and more ornate with its multiple straps and buckles. Third, I’m in the habit of wearing lightweight shoes, whereas these are quite heavy. 

Naturalizer Lanna
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For a split second I thought about returning them, but my stubborn nature and the challenge behind “figuring them out” made me keep them for a little while longer. I compared them to a pair of sandals that are closer to my comfort zone: the Naturalizer Lanna sandals, which I ordered in a narrow width. They fit perfectly, are blissfully comfortable, and I loved the way they looked on my feet. Neat, refined and pretty. Their broad straps and velcro fastening makes them look sufficiently modern, and they’re also very lightweight. Their daintier silhouette made me more accepting of baring my toes. I also loved them with my skirts, dresses and flared crops. 

Now I had a pair of sandals that were easier to wear, but I wasn’t yet ready to give up on the sandals that challenged me. And as the gal who doesn’t wear sandals, I was not going to keep TWO pairs. 

In the midst of all this decision making, J.Crew’s citron Teddie pants arrived on our doorstep. Their fit and fabric is amazing and the colour delicious. I was definitely keeping these fun and happy streamlined culottes. I tried them on with the Bea Buckle sandals, a white boho-lite shirt, and very faded blue denim jacket with white buttons. 

And there it was. The turning point for the Bea Buckle sandals. A magic wand had been waved, and suddenly things were as clear as day. 

The chunky gladiators were a match made in heaven with the new citron cropped pants, and I instantly felt comfortable wearing them. I was finally sure that I should keep the darlings that had challenged the voices in my head for a good couple of months. It took this outfit — the exact items are represented in the collection — to expand my comfort zone. 

Trying the Lannas in the interim was an important stepping stone. They helped me get used to seeing and liking my toes in outfits. I showed in-house stylist Greg the outfit, and he gave it a very reassuring thumbs up. Although Greg generally preferred the look of the Naturalizer Lannas on my feet, he did prefer the Bea Buckle gladiators with the new yellow pants. 

As it turns out, 2016 IS my year for sandals because I’m keeping both pairs. It’s taken years for me to find sandals that feel great, both on my feet and in my head. The chunky Beas are more fashion-y, dressy and dramatic, while the daintier Lannas are an easier “every day style”, that looks better with casual dresses. We’re having fabulous weather in Seattle, and I intend to make the most of it. I am now officially back on Team Sandal.