Despite working in fashion all my life, I never felt the need to own a pair of sandals. I just bought cheap flip-flops before a holiday – until I discovered the Birkenstock Arizona.
With its pretzel-buckled straps and cork-cushioned footbed, the ultra-comfortable Arizona has been a beach-to-bar classic since the 1970s, but it has also proved to be the perfect WFH shoe. It was allegedly the most searched shoe online last summer. I bought a pair myself, and they radically changed my viewpoint on sandals.
The Arizona has spawned a number of high-street homages, the best of which can be found at H&M, Armani Exchange and Next.
Black Rope Sandals, £18, Asos Design; Adjustable Strap Sandals, £49, Armani Exchange; Apollonas Comfort Sandals £150, Ancient Greek Sandals; Original Universal Sandals £45, Teva; Leather Mules, £24.99, H&M; Florin Hand-painted Calf Leather Sandals, £185, Grenson
M&S Collection has a variation on the theme, updated with a heel strap, making it more robust than a traditional slide. Dune’s velcro-fastening Idda and Teva’s Original Universal are sporty examples.
Ancient Greek-style sandals are doing the rounds again and are a wise move if dining anywhere other than among the dunes. Asos Design has a killer pair in rope (sounds uncomfortable, but quite the opposite) that will give you change out of £20.
Pin Leather Clog, £49.99, Mango; Idda Utilitarian-strap Sandals, £65, Dune; Leather Double-buckle Sandals, £39.50, Marks & Spencer Collection; Kg Vegan Ryder Tape Sandals, £49, Kurt Geiger; Arizona Oiled-leather Sandals, £85, Birkenstock at Matches Fashion; Leather Sliders, £79, COS
Ancient Greek Sandals has a stellar selection, handmade in Greece. My personal favourite, the Apollonas, is made from chemical-free natural tan leather, using centuries-old techniques.
Other stylish poolside companions include Kurt Geiger’s KG Ryder Tape slides, which are vegan-friendly, Mango’s Pin leather clog, and the hand-painted calf-leather Florin from Grenson, which has a city-proof rubberised sole.