I commit to only one pair of sandals for the season because I prefer to wear closed-toe shoes in the Summer. I like the protection, and my feet get cold at the drop of a hat, especially in air conditioning. I wore my last pair of flat white Naturalizer sandals into the ground so they were on my list to replace this year. 

My feet are very hard to fit for sandals because they are extremely low volume. I need a US6.5 in a narrow width, and even then, they can be too wide. I started looking in February, and after lots of online ordering because they do not sell narrow widths in stores, I committed to Bella Vita’s Luc Sandal. They are what I call a no-nonsense Euro sandal with their simple broad straps, baby wedge, and statement hardware. The leather was quite soft and so was the footbed. They are made in Italy and fit fairly well in US6.5N. I tested them at home, and they were fine. I loved the way they looked. Modern, crisp and simple. I put them away until the weather warmed up.

I was set to take the Bella Vitas on their first outing a few weeks ago. When I put them on my feet started complaining immediately. Out of the blue, they seemed less comfortable than I remembered. Not as stable on the foot, not as soft, and a little wide. This concerned me because I often walk more than 18,000 steps a day in the city. So I went straight back to view Naturalizer sandals online because, bless them, they stock narrow widths.

The Naturalizer Wendy Sandal was one of the styles I ordered, and they fit like a glove. They fit better than the Bella Vitas and were more comfortable too. Softer leather, a more cushioning footbed, and a secure fit on the foot. My oh-so-fussy pinky toes felt good too. But I wasn’t in love with the way they looked. The huarache vibe is not one I am drawn to, and since aesthetics matter a great deal to me, I was torn.

Naturalizer Wendy
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I refit both the Bella Vitas and the Naturalizers over and over again at home with dresses, pants, skirts and jeans to compare aesthetics and comfort. The Bella Vitas won the style prize, but the Naturalizers won the fit and comfort prize. The huarache-esque detailing on the Naturalizers looks a little like lace, which I adore, so I made peace with the fact that they are just pretty enough. The Naturalizers earned a place in my wardrobe.

I don’t often choose comfort over aesthetics because I’m sufficiently patient to continue searching for the item that ticks off all the boxes. But since I find sandals extremely hard to fit, don’t want to change my walking lifestyle, need sandals for upcoming hot Summer trips, and will absolutely not compromise on foot comfort — I now bat for Team Huarache.

I put the huaraches through their paces last week walking the streets of Salt Lake City flat, and they are AMAZING. Extremely comfortable, lightweight and supportive, and not one blister in the blazing heat. My like for them grew into love, so much so that I’ve duplicated them for next year.

Over to you. How often do you choose comfort over aesthetics?