Rebecca Deczynski, editorial assistant, @rebeccadecz
Ever since I moved to New York, I've been dreading a scenario in which a frantic commuter steps on my heel, causing my ballet flat to slip off my foot and end up on the subway track, leaving me barefoot in perhaps one of the most unsanitary places known to man. With these flats, there's no need to worry: their lace-up design provides both security and a subtly cool accent to my outfit. Dress them up or down—these extremely comfortable shoes will allow you to get around any city with ease.
Maia Schoenfelder, social media editor, @maiaschoenf
Two things: I like to walk everywhere and I get blisters very easily (even on the bottom of my feet). That means that my perfect sandal needs to be stylish and provide a lot of support. Flat sandals = blisters. Ugly sandals = not going to be worn. I was perusing a random department store in Berlin a few summers ago when I found my sandal holy grail—a well-priced Birkenstock look-alike from Hush Puppies in a fun blue, black, and white pattern. Unfortunately, the sandal is only available in said department store (it's called Kardstadt for those of you who are either in Germany, traveling there, or very determined) But the good news is that this style of sandal is not hard to find worldwide. I have probably walked more than a thousand miles in these, and both myself and the shoes have come out unscathed.
Mallory Rice, deputy editor, @mallory-rice
For the past couple of summers, it's been all Robert Clergerie all the time for me. Whether they're patent-leather platforms or metallic slides, Robert Clergerie sandals (or "my Bobby Clergeries" as I have taken to calling them) can be worn with basically anything, and every pair I own has lasted for much longer than one summer—which, when it comes to city sandals, puts them in the unicorn category and goes some way toward justifying the price. (Although I will say there are always at least a dozen different kinds on sale—just set an alert on Shopstyle and you'll be able to snag a pair for much less!) Robert Clergerie sandals—even chunky platforms—are also surprisingly easy to walk around in, meaning you don't have to dress casually in the name of practicality.
Chanel Parks, assistant editor, @chanelinezp
I used to think these were the ugliest shoes ever—that is, until I slipped on my first pair last summer. Tevas are the most comfortable sandals I've ever worn. They flex with my foot while I walk, which is perfect for the amount of stairs, curbs, and unmarked construction areas I have to deal with every day as a New Yorker. You can walk all day in a pair of these and still have feeling left in your feet at the end of the night.
Aimée Hunt, art director, @amh_hunt
I love walking everywhere, and am known to spontaneously take walks that end up with me crossing a bridge into Brooklyn. I also have wide feet and high arches, so finding shoes that don't hurt or give me blisters is extremely difficult. Fortunately, I found Saltwater sandals on my Instagram feed a few summers ago and will never look back. They've served me well during many of my multi-borough city hikes. And before trips to other cities, including Paris, Barcelona, and Chicago—where I knew in advance I'd spend all day walking around—these have been the only pair I packed. Once you've worn them a few times they start to mold to your feet so they fit perfectly, and they're also waterproof, so you'll be safe if they get wet, whether it's because of a thunderstorm or weird drips from above (from what you hope is an air conditioner).
Chantal Strasburger, assistant editor, @chantagold
When it comes to summer in the city, I prefer to have a good inch or two between my bare feet and the sticky, scorching streets of New York. Since moving here, my shoe collection has slowly skewed toward flatforms, to the point where regular flip flops now feel too thin, and I can feel every single pebble and wad of gum I step on—sort of like the Princess and the Pea fairy tale, but really gross. And while white shoes may seem like a risky choice for a city not exactly known for its cleanliness, they make my skin, which has recently emerged from a winter of hibernation, look less sickly by comparison. It's all about illusions!
Molly Elizalde, associate editor, @mollyelizalde
You might think that wearing flat sandals in the city puts your feet a little too close to the pavement (hi, Chantal!), but no matter which open-toed shoes you're sporting, you're probably going to need to wash your feet at the end of the day anyway. So I say: Why not have the pleasure of feeling like you're (safely) walking around barefoot? This is one of my greatest joys in summer, but there are a few key elements involved to the barefoot-on-the-street style: The first is finding a style that lets you walk without gripping your toes—that means flip-flops are out and anything with a more substantial strap is in. The second is choosing a sandal made from a flexible material (just say no to any wood- or cork-soled slides). The third element (this one has been crucial for me, but it's optional) is to wear an all-rubber shoe. This means you don't have to worry about splashes, scuffs, or stains that could damage cloth or leather shoes. Beyond watching where you step, which any smart city-dweller is already doing, you and your feet will feel much more at home wearing these sandals.