Shopping·12 min read

Our Guide to Comfy Summer Shoes Your Feet Will Thank You For

the comfiest shoes to wear during the summer
Design: theSkimm | Photos: New Balance, Free People
June 11, 2024

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As summer ramps up, the main thing we think about is how to stop sweating. From head to toe, we want our outfits light and breezy, and we need footwear that won't pinch, slip, sweat, and absolutely ruin our day. So we’ve found the most breathable sneakers, sandals you can wear all day, and even accessories to make your favorite pairs even better. These shoes will never slow you down.

Our go-to sneakers

New Balance

The first New Balance sneakers we fell in love with…

There’s just something about the 574s. They’re the ultimate dad shoe, from the cushy sole to the suede and mesh upper. We’ve been wearing the gray version as long as we can remember because they’re really that comfortable. Plus, they look cute with athleisure, your favorite pair of summer jeans, and more. ($89.99, New Balance)

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The platform sneaker we can’t get enough of…

Yes, these are from Dr. Scholl’s. Yes, they’re the shoes you should buy on this list if you only have the budget for one pair. They have a cloud-like bouncy insole, provide a just-right platform that isn’t too high, and don’t rub. These are the sneakers you can walk for miles in without an ounce of discomfort, while still looking cute. We can confirm their viral popularity is worth the hype. ($69.96, DSW)

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The original Converse low-top sneaker…

It’s not summer until you crack open a box of fresh white Converse. A classic for a reason, these are made out of breathable canvas, with the signature blue and red stripe. They look good with sundresses and denim shorts, and can even be worn when lifting weights at the gym. These will never not be cool. ($60, Nordstrom)

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A sneaker great for outdoor sports…

Whether you’re a tennis pro or first-time pickleball player, these Gel-Resolution 9 shoes from Asics will be super comfortable, thanks to their padded cushioning and added traction. Plus, the footbed is removable — perfect for any custom inserts. ($105.82+, Zappos)

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The Hokas we’ll never part with…

We even gave these an award for being the best running shoes. They’re soft, light, and have a breathable mesh upper perfect for even the hottest summer days. They come in 17 colors and two sizing options, including one for wide feet. Even if you’re not into running, they’re great for daily walks. ($145, Nordstrom)

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allbirds sneakers

A pair from Allbirds that’s made from renewable materials…

They also happen to be machine washable and ultra lightweight. The knit is breathable, so heat and humidity won’t be a problem. Did we mention the midsole is made from Brazilian sugarcane? It’s bouncy, contoured, and yet another feature that makes this sneaker carbon-neutral. ($84+, Allbirds)

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atoms gray sneakers

Flexible sneakers that come in quarter sizes…

All you have to do is go through a quick quiz with the virtual size assistant to ensure the perfect fit. These have antimicrobial copper insoles, so your feet stay odor- and germ-free. They’ve also got one-of-a-kind elastic laces that won’t come undone over and over again. From there, they’ll slip on and off smoothly. With cloud-like cushioning, you can stand, walk, and run for hours. Plus, the monochromatic look adds a stylish touch to any outfit. ($145, Atoms)

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Sandals, slides, and clogs

Free People

Lug-sole sandals we wore all around Europe…

We got these before a big trip where we knew we’d be walking a lot, and they really passed the test. The chunky silhouette is a bit trendier than the usual style, and they look equally cool with dresses and jeans. Though the price tag is a bit steeper than your traditional Birkenstock, trust us, they’ll last for years. ($220, Free People)

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A sandal you can wear all day long…

You’d be surprised to know that Toms not only makes their signature slip-on, but also some of the most comfortable sandals and heels around. These strappy sandals have an orthopedic footbed, making them perfect for bopping around all day. The straps never dig in, no matter how swollen your feet are from the heat. ($69.95, Nordstrom)

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A cushioned slide for pool days…

These rubber sandals have an ultra-thick sole (that’s almost 2 inches). Plus, they have a subtle texture for some grip. Pick between a neutral pair or a pop of color, or grab both. If you’re at the beach or lake, they also have drainage holes, so they won’t stay wet for long. ($20.98+, Amazon)

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birkenstock sandals

Birkenstock sandals with lots of toe room…

Birks have been around for 250 years for a reason. The contoured footbed helps distribute weight and promotes proper posture, while the deep heel cup acts as a cushion. Each shoe is expertly made and will mold to your feet. We find ourselves slipping into these daily for coffee runs and errands. ($110, Zappos)

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A sporty option you can walk in for miles…

These are the sandals and sneakers combo we didn’t know we needed. They have a simple hook-and-loop closure that’ll make slipping them on a breeze. They have a foam sole so you can wear them all day without any aches or discomfort. Not to mention the scalloped sole and colorblock design are super chic. Wear them with a dress to mix up your style. ($135, Sorel)

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rothy's camo loafers

A loafer-like flat that’ll come in handy for your morning commute…

Made from Rothy’s signature thread (crafted from plastic bottles), these loafers marry support with style. These don’t require breaking in, so you can throw them on right out of the box. A cushioned insole gives them more support than your usual cardboard-thin ballet flat. When they’re dirty, they can go straight into the washing machine. ($109+, Rothy’s)

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toms slip-on shoes

Toms that can easily be slipped on and off…

Toms are a summer classic. They’ve got a removable molded footbed and a durable rubber outsole that’ll grip the ground. They go with every outfit and come in a variety of colors. We’ve worn them for years and can confirm how comfy they are. ($49.95+, Nordstrom)

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fitflop colored sandals

A flip-flop with foam cushioning…

These are not your typical flip-flops. They’re cushioned, so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking on the ground, plus they have a slip-resistant sole for extra stability. We don’t hate the extra lift the mini platform gives us. ($38+, Nordstrom)

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teva sandals

Teva sandals you can wear literally everywhere...

On a hike, to the beach, or out for a day of running errands. They’re made from recycled plastic and feature quick-dry webbing, a rubber sole for traction, a treatment that’ll minimize odors, and a molded midsole that’ll provide arch support. The hook-and-loop closure makes them easy to take on and off (and means you can make them as tight or loose as you want). ($55, Nordstrom)

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light blue croc clogs

A classic pair of Crocs because they’re cool again…

Love them or hate them, Crocs are the ideal summer shoe. Those little holes provide ventilation (and drainage, if you’re wearing them around the pool), and they’re incredibly lightweight. The optional back strap is great for stability. ($49.97+, Amazon)

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Accessories for additional comfort

fulton shoe inserts

A cork insole to give you extra comfort…

If you feel like you need a bit more support in your shoes, turn to these. The insoles can help with hip and spinal alignment. Not to mention, better support may relieve back and neck pain. Instead of unsustainable gels, foams, and plastics, these use plant-based materials like cork and cactus leather. ($48, Fulton)

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gel toe separators

A gel toe separator that can prevent painful rubbing and relieve pressure…

If your toes tend to crowd together or overlap in shoes, this is for you. The gel support will keep them separated. You’ll get 12 in the pack, so you can place one on your pinky and one on your big toe when you need some relief. ($9.99/12 pack, Amazon)

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copper arch support bands

Arch bands to support flat feet…

If you have low arches or plantar fasciitis, these copper-infused bands allow for full range of motion while staying odor-free. They can be worn under socks and provide compression to reduce muscle strain and redistribute pressure. ($14.95/2-pack, Amazon)

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foot blister balm

An anti-blister balm that comes in handy…

Before you slip on new shoes, apply this balm to places that typically form a blister (like the back of your heel or along your pinky toe). It creates a frictionless barrier that prevents rubbing, and allantoin reduces redness and inflammation. It’s also made entirely of plant-based ingredients. ($8.99, Amazon)

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