The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story and pho­tog­ra­phy by Col­bie McCloud

With straps, straps and more straps, how is one able to find that per­fect, cute, yet com­fort­able style of sum­mer san­dal to grace their feet? So many op­tions can ei­ther pro­vide cute­ness with com­fort or cute­ness with toe-cring­ing pain. Find­ing that sum­mer shoe that is a mix­ture of cute, com­fort and pocket-friendly can be hard.

• For the go-any­where, ca­sual cute shoe, one can be “Birken' it.” The pop­u­lar '80s-'90s trend of Birken­stocks has re-emerged this sum­mer bring­ing the dou­ble buckle san­dal back to cut­off shorts and slouchy dresses. The typ­i­cal taupe color or other solid col­ors are great, but what about the pat­terns? Pat­terns and glitter have started dec­o­rat­ing these Birks as lo­cal bou­tiques are giv­ing more bling for your buck.

Granted, these Birks are not graced with the “Birken­stock” brand name or price, $99 and up, but they do have a $20-$30 value with styles that will pop with any pair of long legs and shorts. These cute flo­ral san­dals can be paired up with your fa­vorite lit­tle black sum­mer dress or pair of shorts and T-shirt. They surely stand out among the typ­i­cal solid san­dals.

Yes, these are com­fort­able, but be­ware the typ­i­cal is­sue with this style. Fall­ing out of your shoe and into the raised

back can bring you a “foot-full” of pain just like those taupe, closed-toe Birken­stock slides. The first strap worn clos­est to the an­kle is a lit­tle too tight, but mi­nor ad­just­ment can find that right bit of loose­ness with­out caus­ing you to fall out of the shoe. Also keep in mind, break­ing them in may be slightly un­com­fort­able on the in­side of the heel as it can rub some.

Birks are per­fect for hang­ing out on the lake in some track shorts, swim­suit and baggy T-shirt or blue jean shorts and tank top walk­ing down­town shop­ping.

• With a peep toe and cutout near the heel, “booties meet san­dals” have re­ally taken over bou­tiques. Thin, stiletto heels won't be found among these chunks as they pro­vide a more ca­sual, yet fash­ion for­ward look to the sum­mer. Sev­eral of these bootie san­dals can be found in vary­ing shades, but pri­mar­ily in browns or black.

Lace-ups are pretty com­mon among the bootie san­dals, but you might need to pre­pare your­self for some mi­nor foot sweat with 90- to 100-de­gree tem­per­a­tures and faux leather hug­ging to your skin. Don't tighten up the laces too tight or your feet might be a lit­tle branded with zigzags. With the cuff above the an­kle slightly, rub­bing shouldn't cause blis­ters like booties that sit be­low the an­kle.

Wear these strappy booties with some cuffed skinny jeans or blue jean shorts. They can be per­fectly paired with a faux suede red/bur­gundy dress or a slouchy dress with flan­nel shirt wrapped around the waist.

•For some, adding height over 3 inches is pretty scary. Can I walk in these com­fort­ably with­out look­ing like a new­born deer? Will the height be too much with what I'm wear­ing or where I'm go­ing? Will I be walk­ing over any cracks that my heel could get caught in and I fall to my im­pend­ing em­bar­rass­ment? These wedges have all the an­swers. No. No. And, don't worry about cracks.

Though these bad boys are right at 5 inches in height, walk­ing is not a strug­gle. There are no wor­ries about fall­ing out of these wedges, as they en­case your foot com­pletely and zip up in the back to help it form com­fort­ably to your foot. A peep toe and side cutouts cov­ered with fringe al­low your foot to breath. The ex­tra studs add a bit of bling with­out mak­ing them gaudy.

Watch out for that fringe though when putting them on. You might have a few strands try to go in­side the side cutout or over the top while putting them on. Over­all these wedges are truly a joy to put on your feet. Not only are they com­fort­able and cute, but walk­ing is a breeze. Pair these with skinny jeans and a vest or ki­mono, or a sim­ple solid dress.

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