Trend Trial: Barely There Sandals

Barely-there sandals have been one of the biggest shoe trends of the summer so far, and although this style isn’t actually a new one (Jennifer Aniston has always loved them, for instance, and so did Carrie Bradshaw…), it’s certainly seeing an increase in popularity at the moment, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yup, it’s time for a Trend Trial…

selection of barely there sandals

Trend Trial: Barely There Sandals

So, what exactly ARE barely there sandals? Well, the clue is is in the question there – as if there wasn’t enough of a clue in the image. These are exactly what they sound like: shoes designed to be almost invisible on the feet – they’re there, but they’re barely there. Capiche?

Most of these shoes follow the same basic style: there’s normally one slim strap over the toe, another around the ankle, and… that’s it. There are, of course, some variations on “strappiness”, but the main point is that any straps that exist be slim and delicate, rather than thick and chunky, the better to create that almost-invisible look.

Barely there sandals come in all kinds of colours and prints. For evening, the style generally tends to use a lot of metallics, which also helps to create that “I’m not REALLY wearing shoes at all…” effect, but for this summer we’re also seeing a lot of stripes, and a lot of neon, both of which are also riding high in the trend stakes, whether you like them or not.

While barely there sandals can look kinda sexy and elegant, and pretty easy to pair with outfits (There’s just not enough of them to clash with anything), they’re not without their drawbacks. For us, the two main ones are:

1. They require a really good pedicure

These are shoes that are designed to show off much more of your feet than many other styles. If the feet in question are desperately in need of some TLC, they can REALLY ruin the look. We’re not saying you need a fresh piece of nail art every time you wear them, obviously, but chipped polish, hard skin or callouses will be much more apparent in these shoes than in any other, so you may want to consider some foot-care before slipping into a pair.

2. They’re not always the most comfortable shoes in the world

Comfort is a subjective thing, and really depends on the particular shoe, and the person wearing it: what’s torture to one woman could be complete bliss to another. In very general terms, though, slim straps don’t lend a lot of support, and then can rub, or put pressure on the foot, which makes them a little less practical than a pair of pumps, say.

Despite these two points, we quite like this style, which is great for evening, although we’re also seeing a lot of people wearing barely there sandals for daytime, with jeans or pants.

What do you think of barely there sandals? Do you own any?  

Shoes pictured: B Brian Atwood ankle strap high heels, £230 / River Island shoes / River Island embellished shoes / River Island shoes / River Island shoes / River Island shoes / River Island stiletto sandals / ASOS open toe shoes


  • June 6, 2013


    I like them, but I have a problem with feet. Not mine, just feet in general. I find most of them not very pretty. So I don’t really like seeing most people with these type of shoes.

    For instance, celebrities. Most of them are really skinny compared to the rest of us mortals. That usually makes the bones and veins in their feet very visible (I’m trying to find a better word, but sometimes my english failes me). But if you’re feet as some meat in it, usually it will bad on the ankle. Its just so complicated.
    I don’t know, maybe I’m too picky about feet.

    If I would wear them? No, I have the ankle problem.

    View Comment
  • June 7, 2013


    I really, really, really like the look of those shoes. And I even like my feet enough to be comfortable showing them.
    BUT the problem is that those shoes almost always have an ankle strap that’s higher up, more around the leg than foot. That “cuts” my legs and makes them too shorter, especially with midi pencil skirts (which most of my skirts are.) If I find a pair with a lower or criss-cross strap (which create enlonging v) it will be in my shopping cart before you can say shoeperwoman:)

    View Comment
  • June 7, 2013


    I love the look of the black and white pair!! Who are those by Amber?

    View Comment
  • June 11, 2013


    They are beautiful, I love especially those striped ones. I would totally wear them if it wasn’t for my (albeit pedicured) splayfeet which create another unaesthetic effect for Ana and a lot of pain for me. These are for women who have perfect feet and no weight to put on them. To look at the picture makes me envious.

    View Comment
  • June 13, 2013


    I have to say that I’m not a fan. Impractical, don’t suit many people and can even be dangerous!

    View Comment
  • June 18, 2013


    Not a fan, as I’m not really into looking at other people’s (usually not-very-well-taken-care-of) feet/toes. Also when worn the little straps on these tend to dig in to all the weirdest places and cause a lot of pain. Also, what’s the point of buying shoes if they are barely there? I would like all of these if they had actual enclosed toes.

    View Comment