You might assume they're a fad, but upon closer look, you'll find that the trending fisherman-style shoe is a classic. "The best fisherman sandals are a great mix between traditional work attire, open-toed summertime vibes, and the comfort of your favorite flats," explains Diego Abba, CEO of luxury retail site Italist. "Like the chunky sneaker trend, we think they have staying power as the ideal hybrid shoe." Not to mention, the versatility of the fisherman shoe goes beyond any ordinary walking sandal, with a bevy of heel heights, hardware variations, color options, and woven fabrications to choose from.
Fisherman sandals also boast the ability to complement any outfit for virtually any occasion. "The fisherman sandal will take you to virtually any occasion," details Ryan Kleman, director of non-apparel and fine jewelry at Moda Operandi. "Day to night, casual to semi-formal—this makes it a must-have shoe!" As for some real-life outfit inspo, try styling fisherman sandals with a breezy summer dress, a straw tote or raffia market style, and your favorite sunglasses for an off-duty warm-weather look. And when the season ends, pop on a sock to seamlessly transition the summer shoe during fall's colder temps.
What to Look For in Fisherman Sandals
- High-Quality Textiles
Since shoes are meant to withstand wherever your feet take them and whatever they walk on, you want to ensure your fisherman sandals are made of high-quality textiles that won't degrade over time. "It's important to pick a pragmatic and durable upper with a timeless design," Kleman shares. "This ensures your purchase will last you for years and seamlessly pair with your evolving wardrobe."
- Sole Type
You also must "consider the sole type you most prefer, as this dictates the wearability of the style and the overall mood," says the Moda Operandi accessories director. "Think leather soles for more evening and dressed-up occasions, while rubber soles and platforms are best suited for daytime and casual."
- The Best Shoe Brands
"One of the two biggest factors to keep in mind when shopping for a fisherman sandal is the brand," says Kleman. "The Row does my favorite sandal. It has the perfect balance of fashion and high-quality craftsmanship. Prada's variation is a close second." If a luxury price tag isn't in your budget, look to more affordable footwear brands like Steve Madden and Dr. Martens.
The Best Fisherman Sandals
- Best Overall Fisherman Sandal: Anthropologie Fisherman Sport Sandals
- Best Espadrille Fisherman Sandal: Tory Burch Fisherman Leather Espadrille Wedge Sandals
- Most Comfortable Fisherman Sandal: Dr. Scholl's Only You Fisherman Sandals
- Best Platform Fisherman Sandal: Steve Madden Echo Strappy Platform Fisherman Sandals
- Best Heeled Fisherman Sandal: B.P. Amaya Fisherman Platform Sandal
- Best Designer Fisherman Sandal: Gucci Rubber Fisherman Sandals
Best Overall Fisherman Sandals
This affordable $125 style by Anthropologie is a quintessential fisherman sandal. The woven upper captures the classic craftsmanship that's integral to the style, while the flexible EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate, a rubber-like elastic material) offers contemporary comfort. Plus, it's offered in nine different colorways, including classic black to a springy floral print. And regardless of the hue or graphic you choose, the shoe will pair with anything, from feminine slip dresses to workwear trousers, due to its timeless silhouette.
Customer Review: "The material is beautiful, soft, [and] high quality for the price, and the platform style is comfy without being too big and chunky. They look gorgeous with anything. I've never had a sandal fit so perfectly from toe to heel. Can't wait to wear them all summer."—Anthropologie
Best Vegan Leather Fisherman Sandal
Dr. Martens infuses its traditional grunge point-of-view onto the classic sea-faring shoe with its Blaire Sandal. It's made of 100 percent vegan leather and features an adjustable buckle strap at the ankle so that you can modify the fit to your ankle size and ideal comfort. Plus—and brace yourself, now—this edgy sandal comes in 11 different colorways and looks, including a gunmetal gray-black croc textile, an elegant deep merlot red, and neutral off-white. Consider leaning into the shoe's punk feel and teaming it with a leather jacket.
Customer Review: "I love these shoes. They provide that classic Dr. Martens comfort, and I am so satisfied with my choice. They look good with about everything. I've walked miles in them so far, and my feet never ache."—Amazon
Best Espadrille Fisherman Sandal
Tory Burch is known for their honest and intentional approach to American sportswear. The label's offerings feel like an accurate and familiar representation of femininity, making you say, "Oh, I'd definitely wear that—it fits right in with my existing closet!" And this ladylike fisherman-meets-espadrille hybrid shoe is precisely one of those pieces. With its sophisticated T-strap ankle fastening, refined gold hardware, and jupe-wrapped wedge, this is your perfect sandal for summer soirées and special occasions. If this toasty orange isn't for you, try the black iteration, instead.
Customer Review: Not available.
Best Brown Fisherman Sandal
Shoe designer Emme Parsons pays homage to Ernest Hemingway's 1942 novel The Old Man and the Sea with her woven leather pair, aptly named Ernest. As pictured here, the indie shoe designer offers a chestnut brown option, but other colorways—including black, gold, and ivory—are available, too. A note: this pair is woven from a vegetable-tanned calfskin leather that will take a few wears to break in. However, once you do, they'll mold to your feet to become a second skin that will take you everywhere, from strolling the beach to pounding the city pavement.
Customer Review: Not available.
Best Comfortable Fisherman Sandal
This cork-wrapped wedge sandal with a woven fisherman-style upper by Dr. Scholl's is the summer shoe to buy if you prioritize comfort over anything else. The ankle strap and hook-and-loop closure are intentionally crafted to stretch, making them effortlessly easy to slip on and off. One Macy's reviewer describes the feel of these shoes as "walking on a cloud," likely in large part due to the insole, which is made of plushy, algae-infused foam that's both more sustainable for the earth and comfier for your fit—a win, win!
Customer Review: "We all know that Dr. Scholl's shoes are comfy. As soon as I slid the wedges on, I felt like I was standing on a cloud. There is a ton of cushion to help relieve the shock while you walk. I know that when the summer comes, I will be able to walk in these the entire day without my feet hurting. I also like that the open and close part of the wedge is velcro which makes them very easy to get in and out of. I would definitely recommend these if you are looking for style and comfort." — Macy's
Best Platform Fisherman Sandal
If there is a shoe you're eyeing to try, whether it be a classic silhouette or a trendy, of-the-moment design, Steve Madden should be one of the first brands you consult. Look to its Echo Fisherman Sandal, for instance. The statement shoe is set on a chunky and treaded platform sole, meaning you can opt for this pair instead of your unwieldy stilettos whenever you're craving a height without compromising comfort. This style is offered in white, too, if you'd like a brighter color pop in your shoe collection.
Customer Review: "I love these shoes. They're super light and cushiony, and the straps are soft against your skin. I love them because there are times when I don't want to paint my toes—they're great for warm weather and cooler weather. They got that rocker chic look. love them!!"—Macy's
Best Heeled Fisherman Sandal
B.P. takes the traditional fisherman sandal to new heights (hah!) with its Amaya platform style. The heel measures four and a half inches, with the platform itself adding an extra two inches. They're available to shop in sizes 5 through 11, run true to size and width, and have an average rating of four and a quarter stars out of five. Note that they're offered in 2023's leading color trend, digital lavender, but also come in classic black or girly baby pink if you'd prefer those shades instead.
Customer Review: "I am honestly so in love with these shoes!! Literally walked/ran miles in them and they felt like sneakers. Buying another pair ASAP!!!!"—Nordstrom
Best Gladiator Fisherman Sandals
Remember the gladiator sandals you wore in the 2010s that went up to your knee? Well, these aren't those. Coach's studded Giselle Fisherman Sandals nod to those warrior-inspired shoes we adored over a decade ago but offer a more subdued and wearable take on the signature caged design. You can choose between burnt orange, deep black, or washed ivory, depending on your color preference. As for styling this chic and sensible fisherman style, try them with baggy jeans and a loose tank top for the ideal weekend uniform that's relaxed yet polished.
Customer Review: "These were a splurge purchase for me and I could not be happier. They fit true to size and thus far, the cushioned footbed is comfortable as I break them in by wearing them inside the house. These gladiator sandals can be sporty but the bright hardware gives them an added "bling" for dressing up. So happy with this purchase!"—Macy's
Best Rubber Fisherman Sandal
Here's an example of Prada's fisherman sandals that Kleman shouted out earlier—don't you see why the Italian fashion house remains one of his go-tos for the caged style? It's made of 100 percent vinyl acetate and will offer just the right amount of toughed-up edge to any look with its chunky lug soles. Another bonus: this rubber sandal, a nod to retro beachwear, can be worn seaside without worrying about wear and tear, which makes it a perfect shoe to last you all summer long.
Customer Review: Not available.
Best Metallic Fisherman Sandal
These T-strap sandals by Anthropologie's exclusive Pilcro label puts a trendy metallic spin on the classic fisherman sandal with its golden leather upper and insole. They're the epitome of classic with a twist. And take it from the retailer's enthused shoppers: with an average rating of four and a quarter out of five possible stars, they're a sound purchase for you to make for your spring and summer rotation. These aurate-colored fisherman sandals are offered in sizes 36 through 41 (or, for U.S.-based customers, 5 through 10) and run true-to-size.
Customer Review: "I'm so happy I purchased these. The gold is very pretty, and the fit is perfect. I'm an 8.5 with a narrow foot. I bought the 39. They feel great and look beautiful! I plan on wearing them with everything from shorts to short dresses! Hello sunshine!"—Anthropologie
Best Designer Fisherman Sandal
Inspired by fishermen of the '40s, this black caged sandal style has a trending flat silhouette (hi, ballet flats) and refined monochromatic hardware in Gucci's signature double-G logo. Think of these luxurious rubber shoes as the grown-up version of the jelly sandals you used to wear to kindergarten. As for styling Gucci's strappy shoes, contemplate going in a casual direction: imagine these sandals teamed with a white T-shirt and pair of straight-leg jeans as an easy, off-duty outfit to wear on the weekends.
Customer Review: Not available.
The Signature Sandal
Credited with putting fisherman sandals on the map, the Church's brand has been crafting shoes since 1873, long before the style became one of the runway's hottest footwear looks. This Hove iteration is set on a lightweight, slightly-wedged sole made of rubber, with the upper made of a brown luxe calfskin leather. Sizing-wise, Church's offers its signature shoe in a 4.5-to-10.5 range. And, yes, they're a steep, steep investment, but they are a shoe that you can wear year after year, perhaps even passing down to a loved one when you get the sense they deserve a new home.
Customer Review: Not Available.
Meet the Expert
Ryan Kleman has worked at Moda Operandi for five years and is currently the Director of Non-Apparel and Fine Jewelry. Born and raised in Ohio, after attending Bowling Green State University, he began his fashion career at Saks Fifth Avenue, later spending time working at Amazon and Gucci. Ryan currently resides in New York City.
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