The Summer Debate: Do Gentlemen Wear Sandals?


Guys, and gals for that matter, have been debating this for decades. Well, atleast over the past two decades. And the answer? Well, it’s not as simple as yes or no.

When searching for an answer on this topic, I got so many points of view… some said it was totally okay because the “manliest men” have been wearing them since the beginning of time: Roman gladiators, “Greek gods”, African kings… even Jesus. While others look at men in sandals as downright feminine, saying things like “I don’t wear anything that’s considered woman’s clothing, that includes purses, skirts, and sandals.”

Shoemaker in Dominican Republic

All the gentlemen wardrobe/styling books tend to avoid the topic of men in sandals. And when a book does mention it, it’s either sternly against it or indirectly snubs it. A friend told me that he once read a rule in Esquire Mag that stated, “You lose 61 percent of your respect for a man when you can see his toes through his shoes.” (or something like that).

With that said, plenty of well dressed gentlemen opt for a luxe pair of sandals when in sunny Rio de Janeiro, vacationing in Jamaica, or simply strolling through the cobblestone streets of Sicily. So, now you may ask– what’s the final verdict, can me wear sandals or not?

The Traditional -vs- The Nontraditional

The issue of gentlemen wearing sandals is simply a matter of the traditional versus the nontraditional. The Urban Gentleman who chooses the traditional route should not expose his toes; canvas lace-ups, decks shoes, loafers, and oxfords all worn sockless is how he keeps his feet cool in the summer months.

Traditional Urban Gentlemen should just go sockless

The Urban Gentleman that chooses the nontraditional route should wear sandals that match his style. And let’s be honest we can mentally flip through our rolodex of friends and picture which friends can pull off sandals and which can’t. The extremely environmentally conscious type, the world traveler type, and the vintage hipster type are just a few that I can see getting away with sandals.
The hipster urban gents can get away with just about anything

But whether traditional or nontraditional, flip-flops on the beach are just common sense. And sandals are just apart of life for the Urban Gents from island countries.

Disclaimer: If you are choosing to wear sandals, then please get a pedicure. There’s nothing worse than a man wearing sandals with unkempt feet. Make sure your toenails are cut and feet are moisturized, for more help go here.

Let’s do some manly sandal shopping:

Here’s a few sandal wearing guys from the
Spring/Summer 2010 Fashion Shows:

Designers above: Versace, Kenzo, Kris Van Assche, Trussardi, Hugo Boss, Michael Bastian, Louis Vuitton

Other articles to help prepare you for summer:
How To Keep Cool in the Summer
Summer Rolls

PHOTOS via: Street Style Kid (via Sartorialist, PimPamPum, JCreport),, flickr members: rachellake, The Messenger Image
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  1. Chi City Animated

    In my opinion I don't think men, like myself, whom do not get a pedicure regularly shouldn't wear sandals. There are masculine sandals out there as some have been pictured in this article. But I just feel that they are too feminine as well. The 'manliest men' that were mentioned in the article (Trojans, Greeks and Jesus)also did not have a lot of fashion sense I would say…But you know what though; if you are a gentleman that likes to wear sandals then that is your perogative and just make sure wear it like it belongs on your feet and without socks.

  2. I like sandals, especially high quality well made dress sandals. I think if done right you could wear them with the appropriate suit even. My wife though has the exact opposite view of sandals. She can't stand me wearing them and will almost do anything to convince me not to wear them, especially if she's with me. Different strokes….

  3. do you know where the man leaning up against the wall in the striped shirt and glasses got his sandals? i am dying for THAT pair!

  4. I truly believe the ability to look good in sandals really depends on the person and what he's wearing. I personally find that sandals look silly when you're wearing pants. The sandal has to match the clothing too.

  5. gosh!wearing mandals (man sandals) wouldnt make you less of a man or anything, you in the first place has the right to wear anything or whatever you like, sandals for men are cool and has a stylish taste that would make every guys who wears it as a total performer in the street.

    sandals gives a lasting comfort for mall or street rats in town it gives a favorable style for cool and another day style for guys.

    so no need to argue, for me, its so much better to wear mandals, than wearing nothing on your footies at all.:)

  6. About the wonderful, very pleased to see this article, learn some things, and view the text is recognized. Thank you for sharing. At the same timei love Children Sandals very much !

  7. Thank you for the wonderful article. I really dig your website/blog.

    Aloha from Hawaii!

    I am trying to find a more "strappy" sandal with a wrap around the big toe, and back strap below the ankle. I saw someone wearing them and ever since then I have been searching…I think I need to go to shop in Rome!

  8. iruffcookiedough

    i could never do sandals. they look bad just bad on me,.

  9. Sandalsalldayeverday

    You know its really funny how when i was in high school, if you wore sandals or flip flops you were automatically called gay. but now every tom, dick and hairy has a good pair of sandals.
    The gay community is who we look to for our fashion. Because we know whats hot and whats not.

  10. All kinds of men wear sandals. Wake up and smell the coffee. Wearing sandals does not make one gay/straight, good/bad, with it/out of it. It is simply a matter of choice. Many people who preach tolerance are in fact, very intolerant of anyone who does not think exactly like they do.

  11. Sandals are a combination of style, functionality, and comfortability. It should definitely be reserved for when it’s appropriate, however, that may vary depending on where you’re from. In San Diego, it’s practically a uniform.
    Sometimes you just gotta have ’em (especially when traveling).
    Personal favorites are Rainbow sandals from Huntington beach: Basic, comfortable, and good for YEARS.

  12. freddy hollywood


  13. Only ethnic dudes should (and can) wear sandals. It works. White men should only wear thin, rubber, black flip-flops on or near the beach, or in parts of the country with the weather and culture that allows them to pull it off. No white man should EVER wear sandals or even flip-flops with too thick a strap, not black or made of leather…that’s approaching “mandal” territory.. It looks horrible and there is just something repulsive about spindly white toes with wiry black hairs on them…Sandals are a BAD look for white men…don’t do it!

  14. Great site!

  15. is this fashion? how gay…they all look like homeless clowns

  16. Man feet are aesthetically offensive to the point of cosmic loathing. Cut this shite out.

  17. Life We Learn don’t know the exact brand of the sandals you’re referring to but there is a new brand Ancient Greek Sandals that have similar designs. You can buy them online at their web site.

    Kalani the new collection of Lanvin sandals (ss13) has a similar design in suede. The price though is punchy. You can find them here

    Keep on posting the new sandals fashion trends. Think every man should own a decent and good looking pair of sandals.

  18. It’s a cool look. Much better than thongs (flip-flops) Gladiators wore sandals- would you argue with them?

  19. i think if its ok for women than why not for men? there shouldnt even be a discussion.

  20. Tom, you are a bit racist ;).
    Ok black men look good more easily even bald (As I almost am, as a very white man, but I think I pull it off), but ever heard of grooming feet? And there are not mandals, just sandals. If any mandals are usually not leather sandals, but Tevas and such.

  21. I’m an avid sandal wearer. I wear my Birkenstock’s all year long. In the summer it’s my sandals, shorts and a T-shirt, and in the fall and winter it’s my Birkenstock sandals, blue jeans, plaid flannel shirts and a nice thick pair of comfy wool socks. By the way Birkenstock’s and thick wool socks look pretty cool:) Anyone who disses a guy for wearing nice sandals has got major, major psychological issues. Perhaps a trip to their doctor and prescription for some Prozac will chill out the sandal haters;/ Just live and let life for goodness sake! We’re on this earth for such a brief period and then it’s all over. Then its a permanent state of nothingness. Eat, drink, be merry and wear what makes you feel good!


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