The biggest (and so far, only) fashion trend of 2020 is about shoes. After a year of sneakers-with-everything and months at home in socks and slippers we’ve finally realized once and for all that comfort rules. The uptick in seasonal sandals, flats, mules and slides with cushy padded insoles and contoured footbeds just proves we’re all on the same page. So, wave buh-bye to high heels, flimsy flip-flops and skinny straps that make bunions, blisters and hammertoes say “ouch!”

These 10 stylish choices are a shoo-in.

  • item 1 of Gallery image Sonoma Goods for Life Artwork Womens Sandals in Taupe Betula Licensed by Birkenstock Leo Womens Footbed Sandals in Gold Aerosoles Hamden in Silver MetallicPHOTO BY: KOHL’S (2); AEROSOLES(Clockwise from top left) Sonoma Goods for Life Artwork Women’s Sandals in Taupe; Betula Licensed by Birkenstock Leo Women’s Footbed Sandals in Gold; Aerosoles Hamden in Silver Metallic1. Chunky contoured sandalsWe’re living proof some things get better with age. Fifty years after their birth, “fab-ugly” Birkenstocks and a slew of ergonomically designed look-alikes are the hottest shoes to own. Styles with molded footbeds (shaped just like your feet), broad adjustable straps and a slightly raised, wide toe section, like the Sonoma Goods for Life Artwork Women’s Sandals ($30, kohls.com), Aerosoles Hamden in Silver Metallic ($75, zappos.com) and Betula Licensed by Birkenstock Leo Women’s Footbed Sandals ($70, kohls.com) give arches, heels and toes plenty of support and encourage good spine alignment every time you get up to take a walk.
  • item 2 of Gallery image A New Day Womens Rianne Espadrille Ankle Strap Sandals Universal Thread Womens Clara Espadrille Mules Born San Isabel Michael Kors Prue Espadrille Old Navy Faux Leather Espadrille Flats for WomenPHOTO BY: OLD NAVY; TARGET (2); ZAPPOS (2)(Clockwise from center) A New Day Women’s Rianne Espadrille Ankle Strap Sandals; Universal Thread Women’s Clara Espadrille Mules in Rose Gold; Børn San Isabel in Yellow Full Grain; Michael Kors Prue Espadrille in Hemp; Old Navy Faux-Leather Espadrille Flats for Women in Cognac Brown2. Updated espadrillesWe’ve always loved the classic canvas and jute ankle-tied wedge with a South of France attitude. Unfortunately, any shoe that constricts our ankles does tend to encourage swelling, puffiness and circulation issues. Who needs that? This spring look for alternatives like the sling-back versions with a stretchy heel strap, like the Børn San Isabel in Yellow Full Grain ($80, zappos.com), Michael Kors Prue Espadrille ($89, zappos.com) or A New Day Women’s Rianne Espadrille Ankle Strap Sandals ($24, target.com). You can also try a mule like the Universal Thread Women’s Clara Espadrille Mules in Rose Gold ($28, target.com) or a slipper-style shoe with cushioned footbed like the Old Navy Faux-Leather Espadrille Flats for Women ($20, oldnavy.com).
  • item 3 of Gallery image Easy Street Brooklyn Womens Ballerina Flats in Luggage Fit flop Allegro in Hazelnut Hush Puppies Kendal Ballet Flat in Golden Rod Simply Vera Vera Wang Berner Womens Flex Round Toe Ballet Flats in YellowPHOTO BY: KOHL’S (2); ZAPPOS (2)(Clockwise from top left) Easy Street Brooklyn Women’s Ballerina Flats in Luggage; FitFlop Allegro in Hazelnut; Hush Puppies Kendal Ballet Flat in Golden Rod; Simply Vera Vera Wang Berner Women’s Flex Round Toe Ballet Flats in Yellow3. Tough ballet flatsBallet flats make every woman of every shape feel graceful and elegant, even in a size 10 shoe. However, flats with thin bendy soles and an elasticized band often provide no support despite a snug fit. Enhanced styles with a little more structure, footbed padding and a sturdy rubberized sole, like the Hush Puppies Kendal Ballet Flat in Golden Rod ($70, zappos.com), Simply Vera Vera Wang Berner Women’s Flex Round Toe Ballet Flats ($45, kohl.com) and FitFlop Allegro in Hazelnut ($100, zappos.com), are every bit as stylish but less likely to aggravate plantar fasciitis. Look for an almond — not pointy — shape, like the Easy Street Brooklyn Women’s Ballerina Flats in Luggage ($44, kohl.com), to avoid pinching and cramming at the toe box.
  • item 4 of Gallery image Walking Cradles Lynn in Fuchsia Moroccan Lucky Brand Lutena in Moonlight Spring Step Womens Slide Sandals Ishtar in Camel Croft and Barrow Instrument Womens Slide Sandals in BlackPHOTO BY: ZAPPOS (2); KOHL’S (2)(Clockwise from top left) Walking Cradles Lynn in Fuchsia Moroccan; Lucky Brand Lutena in Moonlight; Spring Step Women’s Slide Sandals Ishtar in Camel; Croft & Barrow Instrument Women’s Slide Sandals in Black4. Broad band block slidesTrendy skinny strap sandals may be everywhere but just say no if you have foot issues (or don’t want any). Instead, opt for minimalist mules and wedges with a single wide peep-toe “sleeve” in supple suede, buttery leather or soft microfiber fabric, like the Croft & Barrow Instrument Women’s Slide Sandals in Black ($60, kohl.com), Spring Step Women’s Slide Sandals Ishtar in Camel ($90, kohl.com), Lucky Brand Lutena in Moonlight ($60, zappos.com) and Walking Cradles Lynn in Fuchsia Moroccan ($63, zappos.com). You’ll get no pressure on bunions, corns or hammertoes but plenty of “hold.”
  • item 5 of Gallery image A New Day Womens Blair Faux Leather Woven Mules in Cognac Universal Thread Womens Whisper Mules in Cognac Steve Madden Kori Leather Mule in Black Leather Time and Tru Horsebit Loafer Mule in Black Old Navy Faux Leather Braided Mule Flats for Women in WhisPHOTO BY: TARGET (2); WALMART (2); OLD NAVY(Clockwise from center) A New Day Women’s Blair Faux Leather Woven Mules in Cognac; Universal Thread Women’s Whisper Mules in Cognac; Steve Madden Kori Leather Mule in Black Leather; Time and Tru Horsebit Loafer Mule in Black; Old Navy Faux Leather Braided Mule Flats for Women in Whiskey5. Urban mulesCalling all bony feet and pump bumps: Backless mules have now gained more traction and support thanks to rubberized soles and lightly cushioned footbeds. Sophisticated tailored styles with horse-bit detailing, like the Steve Madden Kori Leather Mule ($41, walmart.com) and Time and Tru Horsebit Loafer Mule in Black ($23, walmart.com) and woven leather styles like A New Day Women’s Blair Faux Leather Woven Mules ($25, target.com), Universal Thread Women’s Whisper Mules ($25, target.com) and Old Navy Faux Leather Braided Mule Flats for Women ($18, oldnavy.com), are comfy stand-ins for closed-toe shoes any time you want a dress-casual look with a posh finish.
  • item 6 of Gallery image Bandolino Novena 2 in New Chili Sole Society Kimlee in Black Tan Universal Thread Womens Brita Elastic Microsuede Cork Bottom Wedges in TaupePHOTO BY: ZAPPOS (2); TARGET(Clockwise from top left) Bandolino Novena 2 in New Chili; Sole Society Kimlee in Black/Tan; Universal Thread Women’s Brita Elastic Microsuede Cork Bottom Wedges in Taupe6. Modern wedgesThe upside to wedges is they provide the height of heels and distribute body weight more evenly so you’re not balancing on the balls of your feet. New wedges like the Universal Thread Women’s Brita Elastic Microsuede Cork Bottom Wedge Pumps ($28, target.com), Bandolino Novena 2 ($69, zappos.com) and Sole Society Kimlee in Black/Tan ($90, zappos.com) take that excellent design strategy further with wide elasticized straps at the instep to increase stability when you walk. And they make walking on grass, pebbly walkways or cobblestones a snap.
  • item 7 of Gallery image St. Johns Bay Womens Zuma Adjustable Strap Flat Sandals in Yellow Everlane The Day Crossover Sandal in Caramel Clarks Step June Shell in Dusty OlivePHOTO BY: JCPENNEY; EVERLANE; ZAPPOS(Clockwise from left) St. John’s Bay Women’s Zuma Adjustable Strap Flat Sandals in Yellow; Everlane The Day Crossover Sandal in Caramel; Clarks Step June Shell in Dusty Olive7. Cross-strap flat sandalsMore than a style detail, soft X straps are a case of fashion meets function. Whether you choose a sling-back/espadrille hybrid like the St. John’s Bay Women’s Zuma Adjustable Strap Flat Sandals ($19, jcpenney.com), a sporty contoured slide like the Clarks Step June Shell ($75, zappos.com) or an uptown leather flat like Everlane’s the Day Crossover Sandal in Caramel ($88, everlane.com), the solution is the same: ease at the toes and forefoot with no squeeze.
  • item 8 of Gallery image Hush Puppies Willa Knit Rafter in Black Knit David Tate Clear in Red Naturalizer Lily in Black Leather Ryka Isora Womens Sandals in BlackPHOTO BY: ZAPPOS (3); KOHL’S(Clockwise from top left) Hush Puppies Willa Knit Rafter in Black Knit; David Tate Clear in Red; Naturalizer Lily in Black Leather; Ryka Isora Women’s Sandals in Black8. Sports sandalsThe new summer sneaker alternative is, of course, another sandal hybrid. Lighter, more flexible and airier than sneakers, they show off our summer pedicures off while maintaining safety and minimizing the possibility of shin splints, Achilles tendinitis and blisters. Sandals like Hush Puppies Willa Knit Rafter in Black Knit ($80, zappos.com), Ryka Isora Women’s Sandals ($70, kohls.com), David Tate Clear ($80, zappos.com) and the Naturalizer Lily ($89, zappos.com) have padded and contoured footbeds, adjustable nylon straps for personalized fit and comfort, and ridged rubber soles for long walks, hikes, boating and camping.
  • item 9 of Gallery image Crocs Classic II Adult Slide Sandals in Cantaloupe Birkenstock Barbados Essentials in Beetroot Purple H and M Slides in Mint GreenPHOTO BY: KOHL’S; ZAPPOS; H&M(Left to right) Crocs Classic II Adult Slide Sandals in Cantaloupe; Birkenstock Barbados Essentials in Beetroot Purple; H&M Slides in Mint Green9. Beach-proof slidesFlip-flops do nothing for grown-up feet except cause irritation at the thong part between your toes. Do yourself a favor and invest in water-friendly slides with contoured soles, like H&M Slides ($10, hm.com/us), Crocs Classic II Adult Slide Sandals ($30, kohls.com) and Birkenstock Barbados Essentials ($40, zappos.com). Your feet, knees, hips and back will be happier and you’ll have less chance of developing or exacerbating plantar fasciitis, thanks to preshaped sturdy soles. Added bonus: You can leave the Band-Aids at home.
  • item 10 of Gallery image Liz Claiborne Womens Lovey Heeled Sandals in Green Sonoma Goods for Life Malinois Womens Wedge Sandals in Cognac Easy Spirit Evolve Mona in Natural Spring Step Chains in YellowPHOTO BY: JCPENNEY; KOHL’S; ZAPPOS (2)(Clockwise from top left) Liz Claiborne Women’s Lovey Heeled Sandals in Green; Sonoma Goods for Life Malinois Women’s Wedge Sandals in Cognac; Easy Spirit Evolve Mona in Natural; Spring Step Chains in Yellow10. Dress sandalsSummer weddings and outdoor parties may be on hold for now, but you may need “real shoes” someday. Sandals like Spring Step Chains ($90, zappos.com), Liz Claiborne Women’s Lovey Heeled Sandals in Green ($37, jcpenney.com), Sonoma Goods for Life Malinois Women’s Wedge Sandals ($50, kohl.com) and Easy Spirit Evolve Mona ($99, zappos.com) are a timeless buy. They provide the “dressed” feeling of pumps without the formality or pain. Look for sturdy square heels no more than 1½ inches max, paired with a rubber sole for traction and a cushy footbed for stand-all-day or -night comfort.

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