Where to buy barely there sandals, the most stylish and versatile shoe of the summer.
Praise be, summer is here. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the freezer is stocked with home-brewed frosé ready for the long weekend. You’ve found your favourite sunglasses (you know, the ones you thought you had lost for all of time), you’ve purchased the one summer dress that is perfect for every body, and all that’s left to do is select your summer shoe of choice.
Say hello, then, to the season’s biggest footwear trend: the ‘barely there’ sandal. And when we say barely-there, we genuinely do mean a shoe that is four-parts foot, one-part sandal.
Check it out:
Like most accessories of the moment, the barely there sandal first hit the fashion circuit back in the Nineties, when, in all honesty, a lot of things were barely there: Kate Moss’ wardrobe of slip dresses, Demi Moore’s G.I. Jane’s hair, eyebrows in general, and underwear drawers up and down the country (no thanks to you, Sisqo).
So why has this retro shoe come back into fashion now? Well, maybe it’s because we want to relive the glory days, or because we want an antidote from the Meghan Markle-approved gladiator sandal that has dominated our summer shoedrobe.
Or maybe it’s because, when done right, the barely there sandal is incredibly elegant, hella cool and makes everything look just that little bit more expensive.
It’s not just us that think the barely there sandal is big news this summer: Net-A-Porter has so far sold close to 11,000 pairs of barely-theres, primarily from brands By Far and The Row (editors are falling over themselves for this particular pair). And things aren’t set to change any time soon: this summer, the e-commerce giant are investing even more into this trend, with some 15,000 pairs across 123 styles landing on site.
As global buying director Elizabeth von der Goltz explains: “Personally, for right now, I’m loving the barely there sandal. It’s amongst some our most popular shoe styles at NET-A-PORTER at the moment and due to the high demand, we’ve continued to heavily back the trend by launching more than 160 new styles this season. I particularly love The Row styles, I’ve been wearing them for the last two fashion months because of how comfortable and practical they are to run around town with.
“The Tibi version is also a favourite of mine. It’s particularly sophisticated and refreshing.”
Topshop, likewise, are regularly restocking their black version of the barely there sandal because it’s constantly in a ‘sold out’ state and a whole host of fashion’s most stylish women have been seen sporting Saint Laurent’s red tie-up heeled version.
The key to nailing this trend (because you will thank us when you do), is not to overlook the details. You need the right heel: a kitten is preferable for day time and low-key evenings. A high heel is also totally fine but it has to be spindly, otherwise the minimalism of the barely-there is lost. And, if neither of those take your fancy go sculptural and turn your barely there sandal into an abstract piece – but be warned, as the rest of your outfit will need to be pared back if you go down this route.
In practical terms, though, what do you wear your sandals with? In short, everything: trouser suits, slip skirts, a dress of anything length (we highly recommend midi), and denim of all kinds. We even urge you to consider them with a cargo trouser for full on Nineties.
Tempted? Shop our edit of the styles that will see you through the summer now.
Barely There Sandal: The Row
Prepare to hold the status of ‘Queen Bee’ if you manage to get your hands on The Row’s perfect height, perfect nakedness, perfect perfection sandal.
Bare leather sandals, £650, The Row
Barely There Sandals: & Other Stories
Throw a splash of colour into your workwear wardrobe and it will immediately feel like summer.
Square toe kitten-heel, £79, & Other Stories
Barely There Sandals: Topshop
Coming in black, white, red, neon green and snake print, these Topshop sandals need to be added to basket immediately.
Strappy sandals, £39, Topshop
Barely There Sandals: By Far
Even animal print lovers can get on board. Extra chic points for shopping this By Far pair.
Snake effect mules, £300, By Far
Barely There Sandals: Jacquemus
King of the sculptural heel, add some drama to your sandal via Jacquemus’ offering.
White leather sandals, £515, Jacquemus
Barely There Sandals: Office
Occasionwear just got a whole lot more manageable thanks to these cute Office tie-up sandals.
Tie-up sandals, £65, Office
Barely There Sandals: Mango
Keep your look fresh with an all white take on the trend.
Leather strap sandals, £49.99, Mango
Barely There Sandals: Rejina Pyo
One of the designers leading the pack in the trend is Rejina Pyo and with that kind of heel we can see why.
Leather sandals, £395, Rejina Pyo
Barely There Sandals: Cos
Try these out with a black linen trouser suit and a white woven t-shirt for an easy move into workwear.
Strappy leather heel, £99, Cos
Images: Caroline Leeming for Stylist / Instagram / courtesy of brands