painless shopping

The Expensive Sandals You Want, Versus the Cheap Sandals You Should Get

Two velvety green mules
A spendy shoe and its cheaper counterpart.

I had the sandals in the shopping basket and my credit card in my hand when I came to and realized, You nut, you can’t afford $397 (plus tax and shipping) sandals! They were beautiful sandals, to be sure: black suede slingback mules with a simple metal strap, made by an Australian company called By Far. I desired them greatly.

But we mourn; we move on. We look for sandals that capture some of the original sandals’ understated elegance. We fail. We buy a pair of cherry-red Urban Outfitters sandals that we like fine, but don’t fall head over heels for. They look good with our cropped jeans, and we’re doing okay! Less happy than we might be had we purchased the Perfect Sandals. But less anxious, too, as we narrowly dodged spending several hundreds of dollars on shoes we’ll wear for two months.

Below, please find ten too expensive summer sandals that will break your heart, along with their closest cheaper counterparts, to help you try to move on. Let’s not think of it as settling. Let’s think of it as financial self-care.

Black strappy sandals

By Far Scandi Strap Sandal

Let’s get this the hell out of the way: These are the sandals I wanted.

The Noelle Slingback Sandal in Suede

And a much-cheaper — and really, quite similar — alternative.

Steve Madden Cactus Sandal

And another.

Bright-blue mules

Maryam Nassir Zadeh Sophie Leather Slides

Vibrant, life-changing Maryam Nassir Zadeh mules.

Patti Suede Mule Heel

And perfectly nice Urban Outfitter copycats.

Earthy-green slingbacks

By Far Scandi Strap Sandals in Green

The prettiest green suede sandals that I lusted over for all of summer 2017, and frankly have yet to get over.

The Noelle Slingback Sandal in Velvet

And these are, y’know, nice and green, too.

Sunny mid-heel mules

Mansur Gavriel 40MM Heeled Mule in Sun

Beautiful, elegant Mansur Gavriel mules.

The Day Heel Mule

But really, don’t be ridiculous: Buy this Everlane pair instead.

Marta Mule Heel

Or these, they’re even cheaper!

Neutral-colored glove shoes

Martiniano Glove Shoe in Tostado

Did you say you wanted the Martiniano glove slipper?

The Day Glove

These almost-flats will do.

Fancy mary janes

Rachel Comey Bali Closed Toe Mary Jane in Fuschia Velvet

You want these Rachel Comey high-heeled mary janes for your summer weddings, don’t you?

The Claudia Sandal in Velvet

Don’t do it, my friend! Go for these.

Walking sandals

James Rowland Shop Dual Strapped Sandals

The comfiest stylish shoe you’ll ever wear. I own them in this natural color and in black.


And their practically identical, Strat-favorite counterparts for $30 less.

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Expensive Sandals and Their Cheap Counterparts