The Best Fisherman Sandals of 2023 That Will Reel in Compliments

The Vagabond Eyra Sandals will last you for years to come

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Best Fisherman Sandals

Vagabond and Charles & Keith

Anyone looking for a little extra support and comfort from their summer footwear should point their attention to the humble fisherman sandal. They are stylish, versatile, and practical enough to wear for hours, and you'll never leave vacation with blisters as your main souvenir. Not only do they have a timeless look, but they are breathable, have comfortable soles, and thanks to the caged design, you often don't even have to paint your toes.

Today's fishermen range from Coastal Grandmother chic to grungy Y2K. To find the best styles for your closet, I interviewed celebrity stylists, fellow editors, and fashion bloggers and even tried a few pairs out myself. Below are the sandals that stood out with their designs, quality materials, and comfort level. The Vagabond Eyra Sandal is the goldilocks of sandals — the ideal medium height, lightweight yet durable materials, and a unique twist on the classic shape thanks to a square toe.

Whether you're fishing for compliments or practical footwear, you'll love these sandals.

Best Overall

Vagabond Eyra Sandals

Vagabond Eyra Sandals


What We Love: These classic sandals have just the right amount of heel and are a breeze to put on thanks to velcro.

What We Don’t Love: The velcro can come undone.

Chloe Anello, the senior commerce fashion editor at InStyle, never was much of a sandal-wearer, until this pair from Vagabond entered her life. “I prefer a loafer in the summer but these feel substantial,” says Anello. “My feet feel supported, and they were comfortable right off the bat. I get that sandal look without the sandal feel.” The square toe plays up the on-trend menswear vibe of the shoe, according to celebrity stylist Margaret Williamson Bechtold.

“Loafers, suits, and pleated trousers are all constants in my rotation in the colder months, and very unisex-feeling fisherman sandals carry that into warmer weather,” says Bechtold. With a nearly two-inch rubber outsole, the sandals give you just enough height without the burden of wearing a heel. The velcro ankle straps make putting the sandal on and off that much easier, though Anello does note that sometimes the velcro can come undone. But that might just be because she’s been wearing them nonstop.

Materials: Leather | Colors: White, black | Heel Height: 2 inches

Best Splurge

HEREU Pesca Cutout Leather Sandals

Hereu Pesca Cutout Leather Sandals

Fred Segal

What We Love: The pointed toe and architectural design ooze elegance.

What We Don’t Love: This style is not as readily available online.

Handmade in Spain with a narrower fit and pointed toe, this style is slightly more elegant than the typical bulky fisherman. Bechtold added this sandal to her repertoire after the buttercream shade caught her eye. “The design is architectural and interesting but functional at the same time,” says Bechtold.

Working as a stylist in the office and on set, she finds the sandal comfortable enough to wear all day. Though the shoe comes at a higher price, you can feel good about the investment knowing the leather is a byproduct of the meat industry and vegetable-tanned by hand. Complying with international labor regulations, the brand aims to support local artisans and honor the traditional footwear styles of the Balearic Islands.

Materials: Leather | Colors: 3 | Heel Height: 2 inches

Best Budget

Charles & Keith Strappy Crossover Sandals

Charles & Keith Strappy Crossover Sandals

Charles & Keith

What We Love: From the flat heel to the minimalist design, this sandal excels at summer simplicity.

What We Don’t Love: There’s no color in a lighter shade.

Though thick treads are certainly having a moment, some folks, like UK fashion blogger Saffy Dixon, prefer flat sandals due to their versatility and comfort. This style from Charles & Keith is all about simplicity. Rather than having a web of straps around your feet, there are only three straps to cage you in. And the heel is less than an inch. “Something that I think is often overlooked when it comes to footwear is how breathable shoes are,” says Dixon. “These are breathable due to the design which is fab during warmer months.” The faux leather comes in both black and olive green for a new take on the everyday neutral. Can’t decide between the two colors? With the low price, you might as well snap up both for the same cost as one.

Materials: Faux Leather | Colors: Black, green | Heel Height: 1 centimeter

Best Heeled

Mix No. 6 Alesi Platform Sandal

Mix No. 6 Alesi Platform Sandal


What We Love: Give your heels a break with this pair that gives you height and comfort with the lug sole.

What We Don’t Love: You might need to break the shoes in.

These sandals are the best of both worlds: You get the whimsy of the plastic straps with the edge of a platform heel. As a petite woman who enjoys a little lift, I get tired of wearing plain black heels all the time, especially in the summer; these are a great way to switch up my outfits while adding an extra dash of cool to my look. I did have to take some time to break them in after receiving them as a gift because the plastic felt stiff at first, but after a month, I can wear them out and about with ease. No more carrying my heels after a night out.

Materials: Lucite upper | Colors: Black | Heel Height: 3.5 inches

Best Jelly

Melissa Possession Sandal

Melissa Possession Sandal


What We Love: The jelly design adds a whimsical pop of color and is surprisingly low-maintenance.

What We Don’t Love: Small rocks tend to get stuck in the bottom treads.

Any child of the ‘90s probably remembers wearing jelly shoes all summer long. And now, the trend is back in all its glory with the help of celebrities like Blake Lively. Even though it is fairly polarizing, fashion blogger Sarah Tan loves that the shoe brings her back to her childhood. Melissa, the maker of the original jelly shoe, now even offers a sparkly version of the nostalgic sandal. “Because of their material, it's actually pretty hard to get them dirty, and if you do, they wash off pretty easily,” says Tan.

She does note that little rocks can get stuck in the bottom of the sole but you can easily remove them. “Also, they're super breathable and are just easy to slip on and go — I've been wearing mine for walks around town lately and have no blisters or complaints.” Fashion blogger Valerie Salazar can attest to the shoe’s comfort. Even after hours on her feet as a healthcare interpreter, the vegan, recyclable plastic still feels comfortable. Plus it smells like bubblegum. We’re not kidding.

Materials: Vegan plastic | Colors: 20 | Heel Height: 1 inch

Best Clog

Madewell The Fisherman Sandal Clog

MADEWELL The Fisherman Sandal Clog


What We Love: You get the retro look of a clog with the comfort and security of a fisherman's sandal.

What We Don’t Love: They run big so consider sizing down.

A cross between a clog and fisherman, this sandal from Madewell checks off two trends in one. The slingback lets you clomp around without worrying about your foot slipping out. After kindly receiving a sample from the brand, I have been wearing them out to dinners and dates since the heel not only makes them a little dressier, but it also gives me the extra inches I prefer. Best of all, I don’t have to sacrifice comfort, thanks to the extra padding on the sole and sturdy straps crafted from sustainable leather. The dusty mauve shade goes with everything and won’t show dirt as easily as brighter shades. Here’s to channeling my inner Sarah Jessica Parker.

Materials: Leather | Colors: Faded mauve, desert camel | Heel Height: 2.5 inches

Most Comfortable

Dr. Scholl’s Cannot Wait Sandal

Dr. Scholl’s Cannot Wait Sandal


What We Love: Coming from Dr. Scholl’s, these sandals are incredibly lightweight and mold to your feet.

What We Don’t Love: You should treat the suede with a protector to fend off stains and dirt.

We all know that Dr. Scholl’s means comfort, but I was pleasantly surprised by how stylish these fisherman sandals look. I selected the tan shade as a gift since I wanted a shoe that looked less serious than a black one. Despite the chunky lug sole, the sandals are incredibly lightweight, making them a great alternative to sneakers in the summer. The plant-based sole molds to my feet and the leather straps are stretchy as well for extra comfort. The lighter shade will likely get dirty, so I’m planning to treat it with a suede protector.

Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, tan | Heel Height: 2 inches

Best Platform

Vagabond Courtney Fisherman Flatform Sandals

Vagabond Courtney Fisherman Flatform Sandals


What We Love: With an extreme platform, these sandals offer a great contrast against sweet summer styles.

What We Don’t Love: The soles don’t have traction.

Look at designers like Prada and Ganni, and it’s clear that sky-high platforms are back in full force from the early 2000s. With Vagabond’s version you get the same style for a fraction of the cost. After kindly receiving a sample from the brand, I have to say they are my new favorite sandals of the summer. I love the contrast of mixing sleek pieces with these chunky sandals. Made from cow leather, the straps are sturdy enough, yet the sole remains lightweight even with the additional padding, so they don’t drag you down or leave you with blisters. 

Materials: Leather | Colors: Black, white | Heel Height: 2 inches

What to Keep in Mind


You can’t go wrong with black, but shades like brown and white might look more appropriate for summer. Twin fashion bloggers May Mel prefer tan sandals because it “matches” their skin tone, yet don’t think you could go wrong with any muted tones. But if you keep your clothes neutral, colorful jelly sandals add some life to your basics.


Though many fisherman sandals are flat, chunky soles are having a Y2K moment and are extra-flattering. Specializing in curvy fashion, May Mel say heeled fishermans are great for lengthening the legs and balancing out your proportions.


As Bechtold puts it, leather fisherman sandals are very evocative, giving off Italian Riviera vacation vibes. The material is durable and breathable too, so you can wear it for hours on end without fear of sweaty feet or a strap breaking off. But if you want a vegan alternative, many brands offer faux leather that looks like the real thing or you can go back in time with a jelly pair.

Your Questions, Answered

What do I wear with fisherman sandals?

We are constantly reaching for our fisherman sandals since they are both stylish and practical, and suit a variety of aesthetics. “I like to treat sturdier versions of the fisherman sandal like a summer loafer with menswear: clean, coordinated, classic, with a bit over oversizing to beat the heat,” says Bechtold. “Right now I'm pairing them with a slouchy suit or suit trousers from The Frankie Shop, a simple ribbed tank, and a low bun.”

While Bechtold embraces the menswear side of the sandal, I like to juxtapose mine with flirty dresses and rompers in the summer. Not only is the contrast visually interesting, but the bulkiness of the sandals balance out my hips in form-fitting styles, as May Mel point out.

Can I wear socks with fisherman sandals?

Rules are meant to be broken, and one rule to throw out the window is that you can’t wear socks with sandals. According to Bechtold and Tan, socks are the best way to transition the sandals to colder weather.

“The best tip for matching socks and sandals is to go for contrast,” says Tan. “Girly sandals get a sporty edge when you add socks, and plain sandals instantly look livelier with a fun-patterned sock. If you're wearing a heavier sandal, I'd go for a delicate sheer sock.”

What’s the difference between gladiator and fisherman sandals?

With all the styles of sandals, it can be difficult to keep them straight. While gladiators and fisherman can look quite similar, the main difference is that fisherman sandals fasten below the ankles while gladiators go above, according to Bechtold.

Why Shop With Us

Emily Cieslak is an assistant commerce editor at InStyle and has worked on all sides of the fashion industry, from buying to styling. After purchasing her first pair of fisherman sandals during the pandemic, she fell in love with the practical yet chic style. She tested four of this season's hottest fisherman sandals to see if they are worth adding to her collection. To get expert advice on how to style the sandal, she interviewed celebrity stylist Margaret Williamson Bechtold. She also asked fashion bloggers Saffy DixonSarah TanValerie Salazar, and May Mel how they style their favorite pairs.

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