Summer sandal trends 2021: classic Birkenstocks, single-strap sandals, colorful slides, and platforms.
It’s safe to say that in the past year, fashion trends have been centered around comfort and practicality. With in-person social events and work obligations sharply reduced, it makes total sense that the vast majority of us are swapping our restrictive clothing for cozier alternatives. The trend doesn’t stop at sweatsuits, either—comfortable footwear continues to surge in popularity, especially when it comes to spring and summer sandal trends.
Surely you’ve not only heard of Birkenstocks by now, but you’ve also noticed that they seem to be popping up everywhere, from the runways to your Instagram feed and even on the streets of your hometown. That’s because the once polarizing sandal known for its buckled straps and flat cork footbed has slowly made its way back into the fashion cycle, and it now stand as one of the top summer sandal trends for 2021.
Thanks to the emerging “ugly shoe trend,” Birkenstocks (and styles inspired by the iconic shoe) are coming back in a big way—and it’s not exactly surprising. As we head back out into the world, can you blame people for wanting to prioritize comfort? That’s what Birkenstocks are all about: Dating all the way back to the 18th century, the sandal was made to mold to the foot to provide maximum support. Hell, people are even wearing them socks these days for added coziness. No shame.
“They came back around the same time as the normcore trend,” fashion and consumer culture scholar Laura Portwood-Stacer told Vox. “It was the idea it’s so ugly, it’s hip.” But Birkenstocks have grounded more than just the hipster crowd—they are now leading the trend of comfy slides for summer. “It’s not just an ‘ugly’ shoe anymore,” Portwood-Stacer continued. “For people who want to look baseline fashionable, if not necessarily hip, there’s a Birkenstock for them, too.”
Portwood-Stacer points to the fact that the Birkenstock craze has spanned far beyond the original style. Retailers are coming out with their own Birk-inspired sandals in troves and taking lots of creative liberties while they’re at it. With more and more brands coming out with their own take on the sandal, there’s basically something out there for everyone—whether you’re an avid fan of the OG Birkenstock or just want to dip your toe into the trend (pun intended) with something more stylish.
Scroll on for some of our favorite sandals for summer, from classic Birkenstock styles to neon pool slides. Get ready to step into summer in style.
Summer Sandal Trends 2021: Classic Birkenstock Styles
Summer Sandal Trends 2021: Single-Strap Sandals
Summer Sandal Trends 2021: Colorful Rubber Slides
Summer Sandal Trends 2021: Platform Sandals
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