Every woman needs at least one pair of good neutral sandals. Not only are they great for the summer time in particular, but they’re incredibly versatile, says Amanda Sanders, an image consultant in New York City. “It works with everything from a pink patterned dress to a floral skirt—it really lightens up any outfit,” she says.
And if you buy them in a hue that matches your skin tone, they make your legs look longer, she explains. That makes sense when you’re wearing a heel, but even flats can create a similar effect.
Summer is the perfect time to break out the neutral sandal, and it can easily take you from day to night. When you’re out shopping, it’s smart to snatch up a pair when you find one that matches your skin tone, says Sanders. If your complexion changes color as the summer wears on, you may even consider buying a couple of pairs to take you through the season.
If your skin is on the lighter end, your best bet is to look for a blushy neutral that has a pinky undertone (the shoe might even look a bit light pink); light or tan skin calls for a warmer beige; olive needs a true light brown (think a saddle color); and darker tones would do well with a bronze shade.
Now that you know the basic guidelines that will help you find your perfect match, we went out in search of options—from blush to bronze—that will look amazing on any skin tone.
Sam Edelman Gianni Sandal
Look closely, and you’ll notice that this neutral has some pink undertones, making it ideal if you’re on the fairer side. The leather cage sandal wraps up and around your ankle and stays put, never digging in. The zipper in the back also makes them easy to slide on. You’ll sport these gladiators all summer.
Buy it: $110, nordstrom.com
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MICHAEL Michael Kors Becky Sandal
These peep toe slingback heels come in two colors: oyster (for more pale complexions) and dark khaki (for more medium tones). The cross straps in this suede shoe are super-soft, making the pair undeniably comfy. Seriously, just read the rave reviews—they even stack up for a night dancing at a wedding.
Buy it: $99, zappos.com
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A strappy, soft suede sandal, this pair is casual enough to wear with summer dresses, skinny jeans, and shorts. It has a wee bit of a wedge heel—1.5 inches. It’s ideal if you want a little more height than a flat and a little more stability than a stiletto—or if you’re looking for a little bit of a lift.
Buy it: $90, zappos.com
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Sam Edelman Patti
The patent leather open-toe three-inch heel dresses up a breezy summer dress, but it can also be formal enough to slip on to go out for the night. It’s available in two pretty neutral shades: classic nude and a dark nude. You might want to grab both and wear the deeper shade when it matches your tan later in the season.
Buy it: $100, zappos.com
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Steve Madden Striking Platform Wedge
As a general rule, suede is easier to match with your skin tone, says Sanders. This cognac suede shoe is guaranteed to make your legs look their tallest—the corked heel that is over five inches tall. Wear this pair when you want everyone to notice that you’ve just walked in the room.
Buy it: $90, stevemadden.com
Nine West Rhyan Asymmetrical Strap Sandals
Available in nude and bronze, these open-toe slip-on leather slingbacks may not look like they’ll stay put—but they do. The strap crossing the top of your foot also adds a cool illusion that makes your legs look even longer, and the heel—three inches—is the Goldilocks of heel heights (just right).
Buy it: $70, macys.com
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B.O.C. Women’s Pawel Sandal
Pick your color in this gladiator almost-flat: natural, light brown, or bronze. The wedge heel is just 1.25 inches, but it’s enough to give you just a bit of height. Made of a faux leather, the soles offer some nice cushioning, so you can feel confident plodding around town in them.
Buy it: $45, famousfootwear.com
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