Dramatic minimalist sandals for travel?

I'm traveling a lot this summer (conferences in Dublin and Vienna in July, for starters) and I hope to do a lot of walking. For a 10-day trip, I'll probably bring stylish sneakers, flat ankle boots and/or oxfords, and sandals. But neither of my existing sandals quite do the trick. Both hurt my high instep after a mile or so, and the Dr Martens weigh so much that I don't want to pack them (both are in Finds below).

So, I'm on the hunt for new sandals. I'm really picky, though. They must be:

  • black
  • flat
  • wide toe area
  • rubber sole and/or some cushioning
  • leather, with leather lining
  • edgy-minimalist, with clean dramatic lines
  • some sort of ankle strap to keep them on
  • nothing over my instep bump - edit - it's hard for me to know which straps will be a problem, so I'll consider many possibilities.

I've found two possibilities online: Eileen Fisher and Clarks Originals (see my Finds). Do you think either of these is a boost to my aesthetic, or are they taking minimalist a little too far for me?

If you see anything else that might fit my desires, could you post it here? I'll note that unfortunately, Camper shoes just do. not. fit. no matter how much I want them to.

And, if you think sandals are just not the best use of suitcase space, let me know! I'm never sure what shoes to bring. It never rains in SF so I forget that it's a possibility, for instance!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • catgirl replied 3 years ago

    Did you see the Miz Mooz I posted about? They come in black!

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Oh that's right! I saw them, drooled over them, and then forgot all about them. They might be a great choice, although I think the gold-tone hardware doesn't work as well on the black as it does on all the more exciting colors. (And the citron color is absolutely the best.)

  • Daria replied 3 years ago

    Here are some suggestions - although they might not meet all the criteria. :)

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Hmmm. This might involve some thinking. I was hoping that Ecco might have an answer, but if so, I do not see it. 

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    I also read through Diana's thread to find the Trippen sandals someone mentioned that Approprio had posted, and I do love these (in black, probably) but they're out of my price range.

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Daria, wow, those are so spot-on. I'll look through them. Thanks so much.

  • Caro in Oz replied 3 years ago

    I have the ones in the first photo, three years old & still going strong. Trippens are fab imo.

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Hmmmm, my hotel in Vienna is a 15-min walk from at least one store that sells Trippen shoes. Of course, they sell them in a few stores in San Francisco, too, and I don't think the prices will be much lower in Europe. But I hadn't noticed Approprio's Find is on sale, putting it within reach. Hmmmm.

  • smittie replied 3 years ago

    I like those clarks. The smooth leather footbed and white sole add some ooomph to the basic silhouette.

  • Daria replied 3 years ago

    Actually shopping for shoes in Vienna is a great suggestion. :)

  • Vix replied 3 years ago

    Hi Greyscale --

    They *DO* go over the instep, but I have a freakishly high instep and a wider foot and they don't rub during full day wandering. So I rec the Ecco Boullion Band II sandal. I have predecessor, these are even more streamlined since no rouching on straps. ;)

    Will add photo later unless someone beats me to it.

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Vix, that sort of instep strap can be ok, depending on where it hits. I just found them online - those do look nice, and I really like the older version too!

    Adding them below, along with some LD Tuttle sandals I've wanted for years (they come in a few different versions).

  • UmmLila replied 3 years ago

    I have the grey version of the avarca sandals. They are very comfortable and I wear them for field and stream summer dog walks without issue. This other pair of LD Tuttle sandals are maybe over-dramatic but I would consider buying if my size was available.

  • Dee replied 3 years ago

    It sounds like you have a lot of the same fit issues I do! I don't have any suggestions but thank you for starting this thread. I am favoriting it to look through all the suggestions. And have a great trip!

  • shiny replied 3 years ago

    Have you tried Naot? Not sure these are dramatic, but they sure are comfortable, at least for me:


    I have the Lena's. 

  • Vix replied 3 years ago

    Hi again GS --

    Yeah, I actually prefer the strap width on the Bouillon original to the current (II), though I admit the next gen's perforation is cool! I don't know about the re-tooled version, but the straps on mine are super-super soft leather -- I find that's the best for my feet. 

    I like so many of the sandals others posted for you, but man it's frustrating to figure out where the tightness will hit!  Better you than me right now, that's for sure. 

    I know for sure the Dreslyn that UmmLila posted would be no-gos, and generally anything that criss-crosses from the toe zone up is out. That's where that super-soft leather helps out, though. Aesthetics aside, I veto a lot of sport sandals for this reason...the shoe is too rigid, and my feet swell, so I get dents in my feet from the straps. 

    That's what I like about the Bouillon's -- the "X" is actually more of an ankle wrap (pics of my feet in them here, not sure if they're at all useful) so the majority of the instep area is bare.

    Hope you find a winner that comes in under budget! 

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