Making decisions is hard, and deciding what to buy when you can’t tell whether an Amazon review is from a robot or not is harder. To make things a little easier, our team has come together to let you know what real queer people with real lives are actually using and wearing and what’s working for them. This month we’re talking about our sweet summer footwear faves. Leave your recommendations in the comments!
I finally broke down and bought a pair of birks this summer. They’re way more comfortable than flip flops, and they go well with my Subaru and cats.
Laura M: Brahma Steel Toe Sneakers
I’ve been spending a lot of time clomping around a factory this summer, and this is the most practical femmey footwear option I was able to find. Go ahead, run over my feet with a forklift. I will feel nothing. Physically or emotionally.
Carolyn: Linge Ballet Flats
Okay, so these are actual ballet flats that I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to wear just around, but I hate sandals and can’t walk in regular flats and they match my black or grey pants and black tops and black dresses which is all my clothing and I’m on my second pair (because they disentegrate, because they’re meant for indoor ballet) and I’m obsessed.
Riese: Women’s Lunea Canvas Sneakers and Vans
Real talk I’ve been wearing boots all summer and they are not summer boots — they’re boots a friend of my ex’s gave to me at a New Year’s Eve party in Montreal a million years ago ‘cause she was going to Cambodia and also was feeling more masculine-of-center than these boots, apparently. But, these Women’s Lunea Canvas Sneakers from Target (mine are blue with white dots), in various iterations, have been my best friend for many summers. I got Vans to serve the same purpose this year, but they give me blisters, we’re still trying to work through it.
Maree: Vagabond Minho Sandals
These sandals are the Platonic ideal of sandals. They’ve got fun straps that don’t try to eat through your toe webbing. They go with everything: dresses, pants, rompers, sleeveless hoodies, etc. They’re SUPER durable. I’ve had mine for two summers now and I’ve walked all around different cities in them and also one time in the ocean. Bonus marks go to the x-shaped tan lines on the tops of my feet.
Erin: Dr. Martens Clarissa Chunky Strap Sandal
I need some height with my sandals and the high strap makes me feel like I can walk around all day with some support. Roll up your pants with them, wear them with a mini dress, hell, wear them with shorts because they look amazing with everything.
It doesn’t feel like summer unless by I’ve got a Chacos tan on my feet by August. As a human with no car who walks a lot, these things are a lifesaver. They’ve got serious arch support, and you can adjust them to fit your toes perfectly. Wear them with a dress to church on Sunday and flag all the secret lesbians, or wear them when you’re going hiking with your besties. They look good with everything which is the weirdest/greatest thing in the world, and because of that, I’ll never give them away. Never.
Rachel, “Ballet Sandals”
I definitely do not believe that “ballet sandals” are a thing, and you should not try to do ballet in these, but I bought them two years ago to wear with a dress and they’ve been surprisingly sturdy and go with most things I want to wear, and so I haven’t really bought other sandals since. I like that the strap keeps them from slipping off and stops me from tripping out of them, which would 100% happen otherwise.
Stef: Rocket Dog Women’s Tyree Spartan Pu Boot
Honestly I don’t really dress that differently in the summer; maybe I wear a tank top, but I never wear shorts and I loathe sandals (sorry guys). Quality vegan leather boots are tough to find and these guys are pretty solid; the heels haven’t worn down and they’re plaid on the inside, which is a nice gay touch. I feel like they make me look like a cartoon character version of myself, which is appealing.
Breathable Jelly Nest Flat Sandals Rain Shoes
For the beach, though, I finally cracked and bought a pair of jellies because somebody at A-Camp told me they were coming back. I bought mine in glittery gold; I figure they place me squarely between turning into my grandmother and accepting that I am an 8-year-old girl. I pair these bad boys with some cutoffs and a long tank top and I’m ready to sit in the shade and drink champagne out of a can. I think they’re ugly, but you know what? They’re great for the beach. Leave me alone.
Maddie: Timberland Joslin Chukka Boot
I was searching for some type of black sneakers to wear in the summer that made me feel slightly more badass than my birkenstocks or purple chucks do, and then I found these, which are black and relatively light as far as boots go. They don’t have a ton of support, but I bought them a half-size big and stuck some Dr. Scholls inside them, and now I can walk in them all day, no problem. My feet get a little sweaty, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s just because I am smokin’ hot when I wear them.
Cecelia: ASOS Flynn Jelly Sandals
I usually only wear the colors lavender, baby pink or baby blue. But this summer I’m going out of my comfort zone with a BOLD nude. I like these sandals because they’re the remake of 90’s jelly sandals, and what a great summer for remakes! (trying to make everything on this website about Kate McKinnon) But really they’re comfortable and they’re SO trendy, and fashion is a great way to trick people into thinking you have your life together.
Sarah: Chaco Yampa Sandals
These shoes are like little hugs for your feet, and they honestly go with every goddamn piece of clothing I own. BUT they look particularly cute with floaty tunics & leggings (of all patterns), and since I’m not particularly fond of my legs, I like that I could style actual sandals (and not boots) with leggings. Also the straps are adjustable, so they fit my weird feet which are really weird. They’re also just really easy to clean–I walked for miles through dusty India and the only thing I had to do to clean them was run them under water for five seconds.
Ali: Toms Avalons
I love socks in the Fall, but truly despise them when the weather’s warm. These shoes enable me to slip them on and truck around New York City WITHOUT putting on those awful knitted sweat traps. Also they go with every single piece of clothing I wear in the summer.
Heather Hogan: Chuck Taylors
I’ve got a pile of like twenty pairs of various-colored Chuck Taylor low-tops in the closet and so every day when (if) I decide to leave my house, I just pluck a pair from the pile and put them on my feet and scoot along my merry way. Whatever the season, that is my strategy. Jeans, shorts, whichever. I go for the red ones most because Gwen Cooper wore red Chucks on the first season of Torchwood and I want to make out with her. I also want to move to Wales and buy a farm, so maybe I’m hoping some of Gwen’s Welshness will rub off on me if I wear these shoes the most? Mine are a lot dirtier than the ones in this picture.
Yvonne: Lavinia Slide Sandals
I bought these lovely sandals at Target last year because I wanted a pair of simple sandals for the summer. That’s exactly what I got! I can just slip them on and head out the door. They’re comfortable and the “natural” color and style goes really well with everything in my wardrobe, from dresses, jeans or shorts.
Laneia: Madden Girl Gummiee Boots
I got these boots a few years back as part of a BOGO half-off situation, because I needed a lower boot but wasn’t quite ready for a bootie, you know? I adopted them as my Official Summer Shoe of 2016 after finding them in a Toms bag under my bed last spring and thinking, “Oh yeah! I have these!” We’ve been inseparable ever since. These boots go with shorts, leggings, dresses, skirts — everything! I did a lot of traveling this summer and these little babies have helped me convey to all men that sure, I’m wearing this cute flowy dress and the universe has seen fit to bless me with exceptionally long eyelashes but look, I’ll kick your fucking kneecaps backwards if you talk to me. Worked like a charm.
Shut up I love your shoes.
Agree with Heather on Gwen’s shoes. Although (from personal experience growing up in rural west wales), you wouldn’t get much chance to wear Chucks as it rains sideways aprox 90% of the time.
Plus because of the aforementioned almost nonstop rain, the ground is always sodden and muddy. Plus on farms – cows muck mixes in with the mud to create something quite horrifying. Canvas shoes are not a friend to Welsh farmers.
Sorry to dash your dreams :(
My dreams aren’t dashed! Now I know I just need some Wellies for my farm!
Right? If anything this feels more like you just gained new valuable information helping you shell out a solid plan :D
Yes to the chacos. I wear them every day at work and I have the best/worst tan line from them and I’m already dreading winter when I have to wear real shoes again.
I buy no-toe loop chacos just so I can wear wool socks with them in winter, but I understand that’s a controversial stance and not for everyone
Erin, Alaina and Stef know what I’m about
I would googled whether doc marten made vegan sandals but I’m too busy being Hella Broke
Forever Thrifting For $10 Chuck Taylors
Personally I have a terrible habit of wearing the same pair of combat boots or Dr.Martens (whichever hasn’t fallen about at that point in time) all year round, and stubbornly insist that they go with all the things (you may have to remove my combat boots and ripped tights or jeans from my dead body, and only then at the risk of my undead lesbi-goth wrath).
Though I am getting into the idea of maybe actually tailoring my footwear to the weather by considering some smaller Doc’s for the summer months, and I have to admit that I’ve now been severely tempted by some of the boots shown here. The rocket dog ones look great! :)
you understand me.
my faaaavorite boots were the ‘sara’ boot by novacas but they got discontinued i guess? they had a shitty tendency to wear down at the heels though
the rocketdog ones are pretty ok! i’ve put them through a lot.
Sweet! I destroy footwear so quickly, so I kind of need things that are a little more resiliant. I admittedly go with second hand leather boots to try to see to my own sort of balancing of personal moral-feels and anxieties concerning leather with a need for durability, but I’m starting to see some great alternatives out there too.
Currently I’m just stubbornly wearing some surplus austrian paratrooper boots that have so much rubber on the sole that I pretty much feel I could stomp through the apocalypse in them :P
I’d wear tac boots every moment my life situationally permits, but I suck at laundry and can’t not wear socks. The back of my foot belongs to a dainty fairy while the front of them belongs to something aquatic, no socks and the fit goes so wrong.
Stef how do you do it?
Do you have closet composed of socks or perfect feet that do not risk chafing?
FYI: Nike purchased Converse and infused them with the quality soles you would expect from Nike sneakers while not fucking with the look. So, now Chucks finally have soles that are not shitty and uncomfortable while also having a better sizing scale.
But the joy of chucks is the flat sole simplicity :(
ok but nike bought converse like 15 years ago or something so since when are the soles any different
Recently there was a big redesign of the high top
I don’t know why I know this
I saw those chunky shoes in the feature image and was like “those are erins”
Also I am so glad to know what Laneias boots are bc I’ve wanted them this whole time!
Heather you’re funny actually all of you are pretty funny
Also can some 1 explain to me why classic style tevas are like $70?
I can’t afford that Shit
It’s foam and velcro, how expensive can these really b to manufacture
Team No-Sandals for the win
I already have a tan from my Birkenstocks which are perpetually on my feet. I’m now on my third pair of the exact same matte black thong Birks, because I wear them so much I wear them out in about two years. The only time all summer I wear something else is if I’m on my bike (because I hate wearing open-toed and open-heeled shoes on my bike) in which case I’d wear my grey Chucks. I wish I could wear my favourite boots all summer long, but for me, practicality trumps gender identity, and I just can’t wear boots in the summer.
You can fix Birkenstocks!!!! I wear mine everywhere the second it stops raining and I generally wear through the heel about once a year. I just take them to a cobbler and he re-heels them for less than $20. Using this strategy I’ve had the same beautiful, perfectly worn-in pair for over 7 years now. The one thing you have to do is take them in before you start to wear through the cork footbed.
buying laneia’s boots bye
Way to Navigate the Heteronormative Patriarchy, Laneia!
Also, I’m jealous of everyone who feels comfortable wearing sandals, but I just can’t be about that exposed toes life.
I seriously need to buy some more shoes, though. I have one pair of black Vans that I wear all year long. I somehow had more shoes when I was in high school and thought I was a straight boy. I had two pairs of Wallabees, some tennis shoes, and multiple pairs of Timberlands.
I’ve been spending the whole summer worrying that the sandals I bought in a rush before travelling are Too Straight so thank you for this affirmation that my footwear is sufficiently gay and probably nobody cute at a Pride parade is going to look past the rest of me to my shoes and decide, ‘nah, she seems cool, but she must be straight with shoes like that.’
I moved this summer and said goodbye to a lot of shoes. I tossed my yellow chucks that I got with my first barista job paycheck. I deeply cherished the coffee stains but they were accumulating too many holes. Then there was the pair of steel toe boots I bought for my wine warehouse job, which were actually lady cop boots? The clutch-foot boot had just about ripped itself in half. The other one was still fine and dandy. Now I’m also going to have to say goodbye to the black no-skid sneakers I got for food service job. They were half a size too small and the toes on both sides were tearing.
I guess this means I buy shoes for jobs and then work them to shreds. Lovingly.
yeah it sounds like you’re on your feet all day! I hope they give you those squishy mats to stand on, those kinds of jobs can be hard on your body!
I’ve worn some iteration of these for the last several summers, though they don’t have the lacey edging, for some reason the shoes I’ve worn several iterations of don’t exist on the internet right now.
They might be femmey for the folks here, but I find them really versatile, wear them to stomp all around town with both cutoffs and dresses, are mostly not great for literal bushwhacking, which says more about how I randomly find myself doing those sorts of things than a failure to endorse these particular shoes.
I got some nice Tevas for my birthday a couple years ago and I should probs dig them out of my closet. I have cheap as hell flip flops but I know better than to wear those on occasions that require more than a little walking. My feet have been sweating too much in my badass swedish clogs and my oxford docs are still dusty as fuck from camp.
Birki plastic clogs (also my year-round work shoes for medical laboratory), Teva sandals (sometimes on sale!), and light trail running low-cut shoes. And, when hiking, permethrin-treated wool socks, to keep the ticks and chiggers off. Flip-flops from the dollar store around the house.
Laneia I bought those exact same sandals from Target this year!!! Also a similar pair in black because it was buy one get one 50% off. But I mostly wear either my Chacos or flip-flops everyday. Or hiking boots if necessary. Summer is the ideal time for footwear. I never know what to put on my feet in that weird in-between time when it’s too cold for sandals but too warm for winter boots.
Whenever I need new shoes, I look to the paddock/stable/farm folk and their sturdy footwear. So I currently have Ariat roper boots which are horseriding boots, (and I ride/rode horses so it’s topical too) and Georgia boots which are a ‘paddock boot’ and helped me when I was lost up a mountain with no water, get down to safety and the creek. Those are my recommendations. I do not own or wear Sandals.
The funny thing about chacos is regional trends. In Alabama and Georgia, they’re mainstream footwear. Everyone, queer or straight, outdoorsy or not, owns chacos. When I moved years ago I was still a semi-closeted baby gay and confused to learn that chacos were a “lesbian shoe.”
The wall looks amazing! I want to touch it, it’s so tactile and cool! Great Job!