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5 Sandals to Wear with Women's Jeans

How to Wear Your Favorite Summer Styles with Denim

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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 the most jean-friendly women's sandals.

Which Sandal Styles Work Best?

Close-up of woman's sandals
Rafael Elias/Moment/Getty Images
Before I get to the list of best styles, 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 particularly good match are very hefty comfort or athletic sandals; or really dressy evening sandals. And, honestly, even those styles will work with denim, as long as they're suited to the occasion, and they complement the rest of your outfit.

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.

Easy-Peasy: Flat and Simple Thong Sandals

Skimpy thong sandals with reptile print, leopard print, and red straps.
Sam Edelman 'Gigi' 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 too trendy or 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.

Naturally, thongs in black, brown, and other neutral shades are going to work with more outfits than really vivid sandals. But if you're less concerned with versatility than you are with putting together a dynamic outfit, don't be afraid to play with color, textures, and prints.

Go Chic with Wedge Heel Sandals

1500-Wedge-Sandals-Jeans.jpg
Steven 'Mariia' Image: Zappos.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 look good 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.

Have Fun with Flip-Flops

Women's flip flops with black floral soles and wedge heels.
The Sak 'Forte' Image: 6pm.com

You are wearing jeans, there's no reason you can't relax and have a bit of fun with them. Especially if you're headed to an informal affair, like a family barbecue.

The simplest way to approach this situation is to find a pair of cute flip-flops, add your favorite pair of jeans and a simple t-shirt. You're done. Now, go have some fun.

For a bit of bohemian flair, or to add a touch 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 flip-flops with heels that are too high run the risk of looking as if you're trying too hard, which could totally ruin that "I'm just naturally this glamorous" vibe we all love so much.

Keep it Simple with Slide Sandals

Turquoise, two-band slide with nubuck uppers and comfort footbeds.
Birkenstock 'Arizona' Image: Nordstrom.com (Buy Direct)
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 vamp strap, or maybe a couple. 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 toe 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 imagine.

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

High heel sandals with tan uppers and three wide bands.
Jessica Simpson 'Elsbeth' Image: Heels.com (Buy Direct)

Jeans look great with heeled sandals of almost any style. Strappy sandals, open-toed booties. Chunky heels, stilettos. The sky is the limit. And, adding a pair of heels to the mix is a great way of dressing up your favorite jeans.

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

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