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5 Sandals to Wear with Jeans

The Best Sandal Styles for Women's Jeans


In warmer weather, most women wear sandals with shorts and skirts, but in many places, it's too chilly to wear anything but jeans or pants during much of the spring. Then there are those women who actually prefer wearing jeans, even in the hottest months of summer.

For all of those people and occasions -- as well as any others you can come up with -- I've assembled this list of jean-friendly women's sandals.

Before I get to the list, I want to clarify something: most sandal styles work well with women's jeans. In fact, the only styles I can think of that aren't a good match are very hefty comfort or athletic sandals; or really dressy evening sandals. And in some cases, even those extreme styles could work really well with denim.

So, now that you know that, you could just call it a lesson learned, and head off happily in whatever jeans/sandal combination suits you. Or, you could keep reading to see some of my own favorite sandal styles to wear with jeans.

Flat and Simple Thong Sandals

Joie 'Nice' Image: Zappos.com
The hands-down winner of denim-friendly sandal styles has to be flat and simple thong sandals. They can be paired with virtually every style of women's jeans imaginable, and, as long as you can stand the toe strap, they tend to be really comfortable as well.

For a look that's classic, and casual without being sloppy, look for leather; faux leather; or suede uppers and either: A) a single or multiple skinny straps; or B) one or two wide medium or wide straps. The reason for this is that flat sandals with too many wide straps or really heavy uppers will overwhelm certain styles of women's jeans -- cropped or skinny jeans, for example. Plus, the combination could make your feet look a lot bigger than you might like.

Wedge Heel Sandals

Rebecca Minkoff 'Stella' Image: Piperlime.com
I think the reason wedge-heeled sandals work so well with jeans is because the heftiness of the wedge heels and the relative skimpiness of the vamps create a perfectly-balanced pair of shoes that really stand out when paired with casual denim.

Another great thing about wedge sandals is that they work well with a variety of jeans styles, though they're especially suited to flared jeans; bootcut jeans; rolled jeans; boyfriend jeans; and long, skinny jeans.

My only warning is to be careful with peg leg, cigarette, and cropped jeans, as really heavy wedges can overwhelm these styles.

Fancy Thongs and Flip-Flops

Yellow Box 'Cordelia' Image: Shoes.com
For a bit of bohemian flair, or to add a bit of pizazz to a pair of casual jeans, you can't really beat a pair of fancy thong sandals or flip-flops. Now, by "fancy," I don't mean "evening shoes" fancy; what I mean is sandals with tiny rhinestones on their straps; metallic uppers, or some other pretty, shimmery accent.

To make sure you don't go too far over the top, you can counter the glitz by looking for flat, skimpy styles; or even low- to medium-height wedges.

On the other hand, fancy sandals with heels that are too high run the risk of looking as if you're trying too hard, or totally ruining that "I'm just naturally this glamorous" vibe we all love so much.

Slide Sandals

Pelle Moda 'Elia' Image: Zappos.com
There are a couple of reasons that heeled and flat slide sandals are such a great match for jeans. The first is because, by nature, slide sandals only have a single (or a couple) of vamp straps -- so, they show a lot of foot, and therefore, really work well with nearly any style of jeans.

The second reason slides are so popular is because there is no to strap to contend with, as there is with thong sandals. Even though I've never personally had a problem with thongs hurting my feet, I know a lot of people who do, and it's really not difficult to image.

If you're worried about the slides staying on your feet like they should, look for styles that include ankle straps -- these are especially cute with rolled boyfriend jeans.

Strappy Heeled Sandals

Diane Von Furstenberg 'Zia II' Image: Zappos.com
When it comes to pairing high heeled sandals with jeans, I have one main tip: the higher the heel, the more straps you can have, and the wider the straps can be. Again, it's all about balance, and a higher heel helps to eliminate the bulky feel of a full-coverage vamp.

Whether you prefer sandals with lots skinny straps or styles with only a few wide bands doesn't really matter, nor does the shape or height of the heel.

The only thing you really want to avoid is wearing any kind of sandals that look too heavy for the jeans you're wearing, or any style that will get swallowed up by them.

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