Fisherman Sandals Are Chic, Yet Practical - Here's How To Style The Summer Shoe Trend

As warm weather approaches, our feet yearn to be freed from fleece-lined boots and heavy hiking shoes. It's time to bring out the lighter footwear, the kind that works as well in the sand as it does on the pavement. This summer, a pair or two of fisherman sandals could be all you need. You're familiar with them even if you don't know their name. They're the sandals with the basket-weave uppers, typically with a closed toe. Once reserved only for nautical folks and active grandpas, they've become a popular staple for all genders and ages. Fisherman sandals are sturdy, comfortable — no need to clench your toes to keep them on your foot! — and versatile enough to be worn everywhere except, perhaps, a black-tie wedding. They work as well with a flowy dress as with the skinny jeans you refuse to give up on. True, you may end up with a funky tan line by summer's end, but on the plus side, as InStyle points out, you can get away with going pedi-less because the shoes cover most of the toes.

Fisherman sandals entered the fashion picture around 2020, but experts assure us that we'll still see them on the street (office, boardwalk, and park...) this summer. So feel free to take your favorites out of storage or get yourself a new pair, and think of all the ways you can style them for chicness and comfort. Here's some inspiration to get you started.

A summery shorts look

"POV: you've had your eyes peeled for fisherman sandals all summer and finally thrifted the perfect vintage pair," boasts @fresh_erica on TikTok. Her secondhand finds from Maine cost her just under $25. "I believe they were probably worn by a literal fisherman," she muses in the comments. The brown leather shoes are a flawless match with her casual summer ensemble: linen shorts from Banana Republic Factory, a white tank top, and a light sweater. "SO JEALOUS," sighs a follower.

Embrace your coastal grandma

Contrary to the name, being a coastal grandmother has nothing to do with grandkids, gray hair, shawls, or hard candy stuck together in a glass bowl. The trend, which burst onto the scene in 2022, is all about embracing the laid-back, unplugged vibes of the beach, even if you're nowhere near the shore. Warmth and comfort are essential for this aesthetic, so fisherman sandals fit right in. TikToker @emzirkle lets her inner grandma loose by pairing denim shorts with a crop tank and chunky sweater, then tying it all together with her footwear: sandals and ankle socks. 

Sandals in the city

Feel free to mix and match colors and textures to meet your personal style needs, as Instagram influencer @abbyontheinternet does here. Pairing a floaty dolman-sleeved pink dress with chunky-soled fisherman sandals shouldn't work, and yet it does. Abby ties together the whole look with her purse; the black croc pouch and large chain strap make the perfect accessory. (It doesn't hurt that she was in NYC at the time, where fashion of every sort is embraced!)

The long and short of it

Fisherman sandals on the beach are a no-brainer choice. But if you're doing a boardwalk stroll or heading for the local lobster-roll shack for lunch, an outfit like this is a winner. @emmapaton_ sports brown sandals, matched with khaki shorts and a fun print blouse from sustainable London brand Lowie. Here, Emma's casual shoulder bag adds to her easy-living wardrobe vibe. (We're loving the pink sunglasses, too!) "Want this whole look! Gorgeous," said a fan.

All tanked up

Rocking the look all the way from Germany is Insta user @silk_so_fine, who pairs her Gucci fisherman sandals with a simple white tank and cropped black pants. She writes that her followers have definite opinions about her shoes: Either they love 'em or loathe 'em. "I am so far on the love side, although they really do remind me of some man sandals I never could understand," she writes. "However, with this outfit, I think they work quite well — what do you think?" It's a yes from us!

This gray is anything but dull

 Proving that sandals aren't just for blisteringly hot days, @francescasaffari showed off her "#londonstreetstyle" in March 2022 by wearing her black fishermans along with long gray trousers and a paler gray sweater (or "jumper," as it's called across the pond). "Socks and sandals weather," she declared, also proving that this combo works on anyone, not just dads. "Wow!!! This combo," raved a follower; other comments included "Fab," "Obsessed," "Styling perfection," and "Yes cannot wait to pull my sandals out."

This fashion is ageless

Another thing to love about fisherman sandals is that they look good on everyone from toddlers to grandparents. Texas-based @thesuzwurz, whose Insta page celebrates over-50 fashion, recently went out for a Sunday brunch in her chunky white sandals, matching them with lavender linen trousers, a cropped white tank (ah, March in Texas!), and fun checkerboard earrings. Gotta have those shoes? Good news — they're the Wild Fable brand in Avril from Target, and a virtual steal at just $35.

Think green for spring

"Spring uniform: green double denim. Say that three times fast," jokes Instagram's @_sarahchuck. As one follower put it, her look "screams street chic," especially with her beanie, tan Elf bag, and matching low-heeled fisherman sandals by Frēda Salvador, a woman-led brand that works with artisans in Spain and El Salvador. It's the way Sarah welcomes the new season: "idk but when spring rolls around I want all the green!" she writes. "It's just enough different [from a typical denim suit]."

Island vibes

Instagram user @katyahayek brought her fisherman sandals along to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. We don't know how many times she wore them during her trip, but they would go just as well with capris or shorts as they do here, with a floral babydoll dress. According to her hashtags, Katya's all about sustainability: buying vintage and local, as well as making do with what you have. Take a cue from her and look for gently used fisherman sandals on eBay; you can pick up just about any style for under $50 — and some are being offered for less than $10!

Weekend-ready sandals

Nashville influencer @michelle_tomczak included this ensemble in a post compiling a week's worth of outfits. Weekend-casual yet still pulled together, Michelle shines in a striped button-down shirt, wide-leg fringed jeans, and cool white low-heeled fisherman sandals. A hobo tote is perfect for holding all those out-and-about essentials. These sandals would also have worked nicely with one of her other outfits in the set: green denim, a faded jean jacket, and a white top. "Always here for fun and always here for denim!" she writes.

A vision in black and white

"Finally gave in to the fisherman's sandals," admits @josimar.ofs, an early childhood teacher from Brazil. She must have been glad she did. The shoes fit in perfectly with her black-and-white theme. Though some fisherman sandals are masculine-looking, these are decidedly more delicate, finishing the "#ladylike" look she was going for. As for accessories, a ring and a gold necklace look polished without detracting attention. "The sandal is beautiful," said one fan. "Killed the look."

Don't hate on these shoes

Sad to say, there are some naysayers out there who find fisherman sandals too clunky, unfeminine, nerdy, or what have you. To them we say: You don't know what you're missing. @claireinnyc agrees. "I know the internet is going to hate these sandals," she says in her TikTok as she displays her metallic straps. "I don't care what you say, I love them." In fact, according to her comments, she's ordered the same pair in black, which would match even better with the black shorts and tank she poses in here. Most of her followers are on board, with some noting the shoes give off the vibe of the jellies that were all the rage a couple of decades ago.

Dressing up and down

For casual days that turn into dressier evenings, fisherman sandals can be the one constant in your wardrobe. @kellyxpaige demonstrates on TikTok how to get two looks out of the same shoe. The brown flat sandals are a natural with ripped jeans, a cropped white tank (white tanks and fisherman sandals are a definite trend here), and a cropped blue chambray shirt. For a slightly fancier look, the jeans are replaced with a long skirt; the tank and collared shirt make way for a white T-shirt and cream sweater. "Love the whole look," a commenter says.

A triple treat

You don't need to speak Portuguese to understand that @robertabuffara is demonstrating an impeccable series of ways to style a heeled black fisherman sandal. A silky white camisole, black miniskirt and black leather jacket offers a blend of sexy and sassy (love the fishnet ankle socks!). Then Roberta uses the shoes to set off a patterned skirt and cropped top with long sleeves and low-cut square neckline. Finally, she tries an all-denim look: jeans, halter top, and jean jacket. In each case, a black bag or tote carries through the color of the sandals.

Going country

Fisherman sandals go where kitten heels and spiked gladiators fear to tread. Here, Instagrammer April Tondelli of @betweenthebells spends the day at a farmstand with a sunflower garden; her sandals don't mind walking through a little dirt. She delights in explaining that her whole outfit represents a "(thrifted) Fall": secondhand distressed jeans, a cropped brown sweater she found at a neighborhood sale, and vintage Land's End sandals. April's hashtags include '#fashionover40," and her modern look is anything but matronly. 

Fishermen at the fair

@jennysuegarcia of the UK took to a local fair back in September 2022. Needing to dress for chillier weather, she put together a layered ensemble. "This gingham dress is perfect for transitioning between the seasons," she wrote. "It's a cotton & wool mix, so it has a little extra touch of warmth. Layered with a vintage chore jacket and fisherman sandals and hey presto, the perfect transitional ensemble, done." Jenny admitted to feeling a little "goofy" in the slouchy coat, but followers assured her that the electric blue was amazing. 

Keep it cool in white

According to experts who spoke to Click on Detroit, the traditional fashion rule about wearing white before Labor Day comes from the era when wealthy New Yorkers would don white linen when they escaped to the country for the summer. Thankfully, you don't have to be rich to wear white in the warm-weather months. Nor do you have to shy away from fisherman sandals. Pairing a breezy white dress with matching low-heeled sandals, as @dishadaswani does here, will make you look as cool as you feel. 

Get work-ready

Whether you've been back in the office for months or just easing your way in post-pandemic, there's no reason you have to give up comfortable footwear. Okay, maybe you can't get away with the fuzzy slippers you wore when you were attending Zoom meetings at home, but fisherman sandals are a more-than-acceptable alternative. @allekjackson put together a professional ensemble of a long sweater dress and blazer (both from H&M), and "against popular opinion," her black Zara fisherman sandals. (Thankfully, her puppy hasn't chewed them to pieces yet!)

Minimal effort, maximum impact

In her short GRWM (Get Ready With Me) TikTok, @myvoguishdiaries displays her "minimalist outlook" as she easily tosses together an everyday wardrobe. "I love a fisherman sandal, so I decided to pair it with a linen shirt and these '90s Abercrombie baggy jeans or something like that," she explains. "I paired it with a woven bag, and that's it — just super easy casual for late summer." She kept her jewelry simple too: a few thin chains work perfectly. Followers asked where she got her sandals, and one said, "I love how simple yet chic this is."

Add a pop of brown

Although black and tan are safe go-anywhere neutrals, it's fun to play around with color, too. @dressing_dawn, a TikTok user who specializes in plus-size fashion, wows in a brown and white polka-dot tie-front blouse, white pants, and matching warm brown fisherman sandals. The shoes, she explains in another video, come from a Danish brand that specializes in handcrafted, eco-conscious unisex sandals made with minimal water processing. "Loveee this fit!!!" squealed a fan.

Add a pop of pink

"Pink mood," declared Instagram user @daniellesignori when she posted these shots. Happily, fisherman sandals save the day yet again with their variety of colors. The hot pink chunky high heels complement her short-sleeved blouse, and high-waisted jeans keep her ensemble from becoming blindingly monochromatic. Danielle poses here in front of a charming bakery café in São Paolo, Brazil, and she fits right in with the whimsical pink façade. "Most beautiful look," a follower wrote. "In love with the sandal."

Street chic

On the cusp of her 30th birthday, TikTok user @mallykgoldman stepped out on the streets of Beverly Hills with this smart set of apparel: a long beige Zara blazer, blue striped oxford shirt, playful paisley shorts, and, of course, those go-everywhere sandals. A khaki shoulder bag matches well with all the components. Her fisherman footwear is from Frēda Salvador; they're not cheap (their prices run up to $450), but they're versatile enough to be an excellent investment.

This look gets yeas and nays

"My wonderful sandal that many didn't like" is the way TikTok's @carol describes these totally fun blue chunky-heeled fisherman sandals. "But with the right outfit, it can look amazing." That outfit happens to be a combo of a white T, white cutoff shorts, and a gray plaid blazer. Her look is getting mixed reviews on the post — comments range from "marvelous" and "it was beautiful!" to "Sis, no" and "I didn't like it" — but Carol is pleased with it so we are too.

Going green

Instagrammer Cathy of @antinakedclub threw together this outfit for an upcoming trip to NYC. It's a standout: Her Italian Labucq fisherman sandals (with socks, thank you) are matched with a Story Mfg tee and a strapless sundress worn as a long skirt. The style and color make for a playfully funky vibe, and all her fans agree it would be perfect to wear when she scouts out all the thrift and vintage stores the five boroughs have to offer. 

Not-so-heavy metal

In this Instagram post, @loriane_nane looks (ahem) selfie-assured, and why shouldn't she be? This fisherman sandal style is as smart as they come. This particular pair is open-toed — a dressier alternative to the closed-toe style — so it complements her slim striped capris and black mid-sleeve shirt. The chain necklace echoes the gold of the sandals. These shoes feature in several of her other posts, including this one, in which she pairs the sandals with a long print skirt and a flowing peach blouse.