The perfect summer footwear does exist, and I just found it.

By Rebecca Shinners
July 03, 2020
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When I left New York City in March to stay with my family on Long Island right before statewide quarantine mandates rolled out, I didn’t expect to be gone for, well, months. Thinking I'd only be away from my apartment for a few weeks at the max, I didn't really pack appropriately for isolation. Case in point: I only brought one pair of sneakers with me—and no other shoes at all.  

Days turned into weeks, which turned into months, and temperatures started to rise, signaling the start of summer. While I hadn't paid much attention to my outfits while working from home during quarantine (athleisure has been my go-to), now that warm weather is here, my office space isn’t the only thing that’s evolving—my wardrobe is, as well.

My state began opening businesses last month, which means I’ve begun leaving the house (slightly) more. Since it's ~officially~ open-toe season (and hot AF outside), I'm trading in my sneakers for footwear that lets my feet breathe. I was recently gifted the Merrell Juno slides ($70-$100; amazon.com), and after wearing them once, it became clear that the perfect summer sandals do exist—and I had just found them.

Merrel

Let me tell you, from the moment I first slid my feet into these sandals, they felt insanely comfortable. This is because the footbed and midsole are made with a technology that mimics that in active shoes; they are designed with a breathable foam, which cradles your foot, increases shock absorption (translation: it lessens the impact of force on your joints), and provides serious all-day cushioning. The footbed is *so* squishy that it almost feels like you're walking on clouds. Not to mention, the top is made from a super soft leather, which doesn’t rub against your skin or annoyingly cause blisters.

In the past, one of the reasons I chose heeled sandals over slides is because they can be flimsy, which isn’t ideal for a city-dwelling lifestyle—my commute consists of a lot of walking. What sets these Merrells Juno sandals apart from the rest, is that they have a durable rubber bottom that offers extra support, making them perfect for walking around for hours or even wearing them all day long. Despite the flatform style, these shoes are surprisingly lightweight and my foot doesn’t slide out of them, thanks to the secure straps. Since they don’t come in half sizes, if you're in between sizes, opt for the smaller size. While I’m usually a size 6.5, I found that the size 6 fit me perfectly.

I'm not the only one who loves the Merrell Juno sandals. Health's senior digital editor, Susan Brickell, also swears by them. She has the Merrell Juno Mid sandal ($85, was $120; zappos.com), which is a gladiator version of my favorite slide—with the same awesome footbed and soft leather straps. "When I say these are one of the cushiest sandals I own, I mean it. I have super high arches and extra bones on the insides of both my feet (weird I know), so I have zero time for uncomfortable footwear. The footbed in these sandals is incredibly plush, making them great for long walks with my dog, the leather straps are soft so they don't irritate my feet, and the redwood shade is so pretty that I can pair these with anything—from sundresses to sweatpants," she says. "I love them so much that my sisters and I got my mom the Merrell Juno Wrap sandal ($100; nordstrom.com) in black for Mother's Day, and she is also obsessed," she adds.

Plenty of reviewers on Merrell's site rave about the Juno line—saying its sandals are comfortable, have great arch support, keep blisters at bay, and are stylish enough for any occasion. “I have very high arches and these are the only sandals that have ever given me the support I need to walk around all day in comfort,” wrote one shopper. Another highlighted how versatile the slides are: “These are my new go-to sandals. Easy to pack for travel and throw in the suitcase and even easier to put on. So comfortable, I walked several miles with no blisters or pain.”

In my opinion, the ultimate summer sandal shouldn’t just be comfortable, it should be stylish too. This one comes in four wearable shades, including redwood (a clay red hue), tobacco, black, and metallic. I opted for the metallic version—which is more like a light gold or champagne color—and it's neutral enough to be paired with everything in my closet, from flirty dresses to casual loungewear. The other three colorways feature decorative embroidery on the straps, which gives them a casual, heritage vibe. 

And while heels will always hold a place in my heart (and wardrobe), I know the Juno slide will be my summer staple even once I’m back in the office. At $100 a pair, these sandals are ~quality~ and worth every single penny. Add the Merrell Juno slides to your cart stat, and start dreaming up the places you’ll go in them.

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