If you’ve been following me on instagram over the last few months you’ll have seen these sandals a lot. I don’t show my face much on there, but I do show my feet… and these sandals will have been on them nine times out of ten. You see, despite having a ridiculous number of pairs of shoes and boots at my disposal (hi, my name is Zoe and I love shoes), this right here is the only pair of sandals in my collection that are both smart enough for work wear, and practical enough to get a decent One Hour Outside lunchtime walk.

They are the Malibu by Blowfish, and are at least three years old, maybe four. With the summer being so long and hot this year, I have worn them pretty much every working day for the last couple of months. And, as tends to happen with these things, they are showing more than a few signs of wear. I took these photos at the weekend and can report that since then I have completely worn through the sole and now have holey sandals.

I should really have purchased a new pair (or two) of sandals for work before now, I realise this, but my mooching around the shops in town has not been successful. I just don’t seem to be able to find the right combination of smartness, support and comfort. They must work with my usual work wear (mostly a dress with leggings or patterned trousers and a top). And I want – no, I need – to be able to walk a decent number of miles in these without the soles of my feet burning. Straps that are comfortable and offer some stability are also very important; I don’t want to feel like the sandals are going to come off all the time.

So I searched the internet to see if my favourite practical shoe brands and some I’ve never heard of had anything that might fit the bill. And now I don’t know, nothing seems quite right, but there is a bit of choice.

Birkenstock Arizona

First up I have the traditional Birkenstocks. I like the look of the double-strap Arizona in this basalt colour. But no back strap. And I’m not sure about a footbed; are they really as comfortable as the adverts suggest? Find them here. £60.

Reef Vista

These very nice looking Vista sandals are by Reef, who I know for their flip flops and surf wear. But, as with the Birkenstocks, they have no back strap – will that be a deal breaker if I want to walk three miles at a brisk pace in my lunch break? But that cushion bounce sole does appeal greatly! Find them here. £32.

KEEN Ana Cortez

This pair are by one of my top outdoor footwear brands, KEEN. The Ana Cortez look very practical and comfortable, but also just about smart enough for the office. Could I get away with that chunky sole with a dress in the office, do you think? The brown is a good brown, too, the sort of colour that would go with everything. Find them here. £90.

Office Saltlake

The Office Saltlake sandals in this almost-tan brown are probably the closest to my old sandals as I could find. I like how wide the straps are, and that they have a little bit of height, making them both practical and smart. But the white sole? That’s not going to stay white for long is it?! Find them here. £49.

Teva Ysidro Stitch

I’m really enjoying my Teva Original Universal sandals at the moment so it made sense to check out if they had any smarter sandals on offer, and they do. These Ysidro Stitch look similar to those KEENs above; smart and very practical. I think it’s safe to say I’m looking for a brown pair! Find them here. £60.

Red or Dead Viscount

I do like a very plain sandal, and that’s what the Viscount by Red or Dead are. No detail whatsoever, just a plain tan leather upper and a comfy looking footbed. I think they look similar to the Birkenstocks at the top but with a back strap, which does make them appeal. And they’re much cheaper. Find them here. £38.

None of them are quite right. But they all appeal. I clearly can’t get them all – so which pair of practical sandals are smart enough for work, and which should I order? Or do you have a better suggestion?


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