How to Wear Men’s Sandals

Sandals have long been the forbidden fruit of men’s footwear. They’ve spent a lot of time in fashion’s doghouse, but over the past few years, they’ve been making a comeback. Men’s sandals or ‘mandals’ as they are affectionately known, are back with a vengeance and quite frankly, are looking great.

Having spent so much time in the wilderness, many people have forgotten what to wear with men’s sandals. So, we’ve put together a little men’s sandals style guide. We’re going to be looking at how to wear men’s sandals, how to style them and will be answering some questions, such as can I wear flip flops and jeans? And is it okay to wear sandals in the office?

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Men’s Sandals Style Tips

Before we dip our toes into those topics, here are some of our basic tips on men’s sandals. First things first, it’s time to scrub up. The biggest mandals faux pas, and perhaps the main reason for people’s resistance to them, is not looking after your feet. If your feet are in a less-than-lovely state, then it’s easy enough to fix. Give them a bit of soak, then clean your nails using a nail brush and cut them straight across (not rounded – you don’t want to risk ingrown toenails!). Slather a bit of moisturiser on, leave overnight and you should be good to go.

Second, you’re not as limited in dress options as you may think. The default option when you’re wearing sandals is to wear shorts. And it’s the default option for a reason. Shorts and sandals are the perfect match, but sandals go perfectly well with trousers, they look bold with a suit and there are so many different types and designs now that can complete your look. Escape from the one-dimensional ‘sandals and shorts’ school of thought and open yourself up to a world of mandal possibilities.

Having said this, you should exercise a basic level of common sense and logic. Be aware of how your sandals match your clothes. For example, rubber flip flops belong only on the beach, by the pool and round the house. Sports sandals should be kept for walking (not for sports in general as the name suggests! Wear trainers for this) or more casual occasions. Don’t wear them to a garden party when there are myriad sophisticated sandal designs that could take your outfit to the next level.

If you do wear trousers with your sandals, roll them up. A simple pin roll will elevate your look drastically. Your trousers should not hang over your feet as it kind of defeats the purpose of wearing sandals in the first place. It’s also just not a good look.

And finally, the socks and sandals question. Socks and sandals were the ultimate fashion faux pas for a long time and may as well have been illegal. Well those times are over. We’re not encouraging you to wear socks and sandals but we’re not ruling it out either. Socks and sandals have been appearing on catwalks and when done right, can actually look good. Exercise caution and be prepared to feel the wrath of sandals purists. Try and be a bit savvy with pleasing colour combinations and make sure your socks are clean.

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Can Men Wear Sandals to Work?

That’s right people, mandals wearers have been empowered so much in recent years, we can now ask if it’s acceptable to wear them to work. It’s a totally valid question. Female co-workers can wear open-toed shoes in the summer and let their feet breathe. Why shouldn’t men?

The answer to this largely comes down to your work dress-code. There’s a fairly simple litmus test that will answer this question for you. Is it acceptable to wear shorts in your place of work? If the answer to this is yes, a pair of sandals shouldn’t rock the boat too much. Not that you must be wearing shorts in the office to wear sandals, but if that level of casual is allowed then your sandals should be fine.

If you’re confident that it’s okay, you need to know how to wear men’s sandals to work. Sliders, flip flops and sports sandals are all a no-go. If you’re going to wear sandals to work, wear a good-quality pair. A dark pair of Birkenstock-style sandals with some pin-rolled black jeans and a shirt is a very strong office look that will set your feet free. A pair of espadrilles would also be welcome in an office. Avoid garish prints and opt for neutral tones instead.

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Wearing Men’s Sandals with Jeans

This is also a touchy subject but the fact we’re talking about it is another indicator that mandals are well and truly on the rise again. Wearing men’s sandals with jeans is a tricky one, but it can be done. There are some important things to bear in mind if you’re going to pull it off.

Dark jeans tend to be much more versatile in what shoes they can be paired with. Blue jeans lend themselves to trainers mostly and even dark shoes are a bit of a stretch. For that reason, your best bet is to go for a dark pair of jeans. Failing that, a pair of chinos would be better suited to sandals than blue jeans.

To pull off the sandals with jeans look, make sure the jeans are a good fit, that they’re quite snug, they’re rolled up or that the hem is above the ankle at least. Again, try to avoid flip flops and sliders with jeans, you need a dressier pair of sturdy sandals to make this one work.

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How to Wear Flip Flops for Men

We’ve mostly mentioned where not to wear flip flops, which might leave you concerned that you can never wear your flip flops anywhere. This is not the case. The thing is, there’s a lot of misconceptions about flip flops and they’re more abused than used. So how are guys supposed to wear flip flops?

The first thing to understand about flip flops is that they’re not designed to be worn like shoes. By that we mean that shoes were made for walking, but flip flops weren’t. Flip flops are a really handy piece of footwear. They slip on, they slip off, they’re light, they separate your feet from the floor. All the good stuff that we look for in a shoe. But they don’t do a good job of protecting your feet.

Your flip flops should be worn for light activity. Nipping to the corner shop, going to the beach, walking down to the hotel pool, that kind of thing. If you’re going to be walking extensively, leave the flip flops at home and get some sturdy sandals with arch support. You’ll be doing yourself many favours. Flip flops are for ultimate casual looks. The kind of looks that only just about qualify to be seen in public.

So how about flip flops and jeans. Yes or no? Unless you need a pair of shoes to put on to take the bins out, the answer is pretty much always going to be no. If the occasion is worthy of jeans, then it’s worthy of a good pair of proper sandals. It’d almost be like wearing a blazer with tracksuit bottoms.

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Conclusion

Men’s sandals are back in a big way and looking great. They’re getting co-signed by style icons and when worn correctly, can be a seriously killer look. There are some pitfalls that need to be avoided however. If you want to rock some mandals this summer, don’t be afraid to splash a little bit extra cash on a solid pair. You may be used to spending a fiver on the first pair of flip flops you see and wearing those all summer, but it’s behaviour like that that put men’s sandals in exile in the first place. Tons of great, stylish designs are flooding in so don’t be afraid to be bold.

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