Seattle used to have gorgeous warm Summers. No rain, low humidity, sunny blue skies, breezy by the water, and between 23C and 29C (75F and 85F). But with climate change, temperatures are rising and our Summers are hotter. Days of 30C (86F) and hotter are no longer uncommon, and very few homes here are built to withstand the heat. As a result, it’s a style goal to embellish my high Summer capsule, aka my Seattle heatwave capsule. I’ve added fab breezy dresses, some ventilating tops and, to my surprise, two pairs of strappy sandals.
Generally I’m not a sandal wearer because I prefer the comfort and coverage of closed shoes like loafers, ankle strap ballet flats, and fashion sneakers, even in Summer. My feet feel cold fast, and since I live in the city and do a lot of walking, protection from all sorts of nasty stuff on the street is reassuring. That said, Seattle Summers are feeling like the hot Italian Amalfi coast, so breezy sandals that go the distance were on my shopping list.
I find it challenging to find well-fitting sandals. I need them in an N or NN size to fit my low-volume feet, and these sizes are in very short supply. Any other size is a guaranteed disaster because my feet fall right through the front. Sartorially, I like white modern classic, dainty, refined, polished, flat or low-heeled sandals with light-coloured soles. And they have to be VERY comfortable so that I can walk fast with doggies in tow. These requirements further narrow my choices. So I got to work early in the year while stocks were high.
After a lot of online shopping and returning — the only way I can find a narrow sandal size — I found two candidates. A pair of casual gladiators made in Italy, and a pair of dressier caged sandals made in China. Their strappiness worried me despite their enormous comfort as I tried them at home. Strappy sandals I’ve had in the past killed my feet because the straps dig into my skin. The real test would be putting them through their paces on the street in the Seattle heat. I’m pleased to report both pairs passed this test with flying colours. The gladiators are particularly soft and comfortable, and I can painlessly walk for hours in them. Comfy strappy sandals do exist when you’re lucky to land the right pairs. I was lucky this year. I’m wearing the gladiators here, and the caged heels here.
One of the reasons I shop very early in the new season, or off season, is so that I can plan ahead, relax into it, and find exactly what I want. Then I have the items ready in the wings of my wardrobe when I need them. I do not like feeling rushed or pressured to shop, because it’s stressful. Fashion and style have to remain the fun part of my life so I try to avoid anxiety-provoking situations. Unfortunately, both pairs of sandals went unworn for many months before I could road-test them properly. Fortunately they worked out, and now I’m not scrambling to find pretty white sandals that fit and go the distance in the heat, or making compromises because I’m desperate.