Sandals or “mandals” have begun winning men over, and who can blame you? This once extremely unfashionable dad-staple are your feet's sweet liberation. But, as with everything, there are many ways to fuck this up. Defend your right to wear mandals by following this guide that will help you avoid messing up this simple piece of footwear.
Common types of mandals
If you own rubber flip-flops, they should only be worn to the beach or while you’re showering at the gym. On the other hand, leather flip-flops are sturdier, thus making them more suitable for a casual evening dinner. Though most flip-flops are affordable, leather flip-flops can be pricey.
Walking sandals are all about arch support, and most are made with breathable materials. A really good pair should assist with maintaining balance and improving your posture. These are perfect for when you go on a chill hike or when you’re touring the city. Give the two-strap Arizona by Birkenstock a chance.
If you’re the active type, and you intend to wear sandals during rougher excursions, then invest in sports sandals. Unlike walking sandals, these mandals prioritize performance over appearance. They’re usually non-slip and are made of more durable materials like waterproof rubber.
We’re not going to lie: it takes a while to get used to leather sandals. One of the trickiest mandals to pull off are gladiator sandals. For men who lean toward understated footwear, gladiators can look intimidating; most men are overwhelmed by the number of straps. It’s definitely a statement piece.
One word: Birkenstock. It’s what most guys go for when they bravely leave closed-toe shoes behind to explore the world of mandals. While the classic Birkenstock has no sling, this updated look is quite popular right now. An added bonus is that it keeps your sandals from flopping off your feet. Are you convinced? We recommend the Milano slingback.
We see a lot of guys wearing this right now. And we’re not sure why. These are more suitable for the shower...or a bath house. Keep them off the street, unless of course you’re the Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus of men’s fashion, in which case, the most popular pair is the Adilette by Adidas (and good luck).
How to wear
Let’s face it: we live in the tropics, and mandals are the perfect warm-weather footwear. The safest combo is shorts + sandals—it’s hard to mess it up. Flip-flops go with more casual, lightweight cotton shorts, while sleek leather sandals work best with chino shorts.
If, however, you have dinner plans, wear your mandals with cuffed pants or pinrolled jeans.
And if you’re really self-conscious, keep it safe with a monochromatic look. You can’t go wrong with black or white!
What to avoid
If there’s one rule you absolutely need to follow, it’s never wear socks with your sandals. Don’t worry, that advice is for men and women. We’re serious—don’t do it. It looks tacky and lazy. Another important tip—one that a lot of guys forget about—is to make sure your nails are pristine. Unkempt toenails are not only incredibly gross, but also distracting. Your new Birkenstocks will go to waste if people can’t stop gagging over your claws. And one more thing, unless you’re pre-pubescent, stay away from Velcro.