It’s time to upgrade from those worn-out, uncomfortable flip-flops.
Flip flops don’t always cut it in real-life situations where you have to look your best. But finding a more sophisticated sandal to wear during the warmer months that’s durable enough to don all day (without killing your feet) can be tough. The answer? Platform sandals—stylish yet comfortable shoes that look great with everything in your closet, from denim to dresses to post-workout leggings.
Whether you’re searching for a versatile black platform sandal for the office or a crisp white platform sandal for outdoor summer festivities, there are a few podiatrist-recommended factors to consider before pulling the online check-out trigger.
It’s important to look for options that have a wide toe box (comfort, check!), supportive ankle straps, and proper shock absorption in the sole (rubber and cork materials are great for this), advises Miguel Cunha, DPM, founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. Even if you don’t have wide feet, a spacious toe box allows your toes to move freely, minimizing discomfort that may occur due to bunions and hammertoes.
Investing in a sandal that exceeds three inches in height can change the biomechanics of how you walk, Dr. Cunha points out. The result? Increased pressure is placed on the balls of your feet, which throws off your center of gravity and puts unnecessary stress on your knees and lower back. On the other hand, sandals that are completely flat place more tension on the Achilles tendon—so, believe it or not, a small inch heel is actually better for you than flats if you suffer from heel pain, Dr. Cunha previously told Health.
Finally, make sure the height difference between the front and back of the shoe is no more than ¾ of an inch. Anything greater will cause you to shift your body weight forward—leading to postural misalignment—which can negatively impact your gait and biomechanics, explains Dr. Cunha. This misalignment will eventually lead to pain in your feet, ankles, knees and lower back, he adds.
Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up the most comfortable platform sandals that not only stick to Dr. Cunha’s checklist, but also have rave customer reviews—so you can look and feel your best.