“Whatever it is you wear,” Diana Vreeland said in the 1975 style guide Cheap Chic, “I think shoes are terribly important.” As winter gives way to spring, and we venture outside—ambling along the streets because, well, for the first time in ages we can, to put it simply, —the late Vogue editor’s adage rings truer than ever. As for which footwear rises to this occasion? Enter the fisherman sandal, which is making a bid as the shoe of the season, thanks to everyone from downtown creatives to global influencers, such as Blanca Miró Scrimieri, who regularly takes to Instagram to show off a block-heeled iteration.
“They add a level of nonchalance to any outfit,” says designer and tastemaker TyLynn Nguyen, who, for the past few years, has been partial to The Row’s black chunky-and-buckled take. Plus, in a boon to our ever-changing climes, she happily notes that silk socks (she opts for ribbed sets from Charvet) make the practical caged sandal suitable for any time of the year. “They have a trans-seasonal quality,” agrees Emme Parsons; her carefully considered lineup of slides and sling-backs includes a smooth, chocolate-colored, calfskin version, which she dubbed the Ernest, in a nod to Hemingway’s novel The Old Man and the Sea. (Though the name might imply the shoe is best worn on sandy shores, the enclosed toe and a plentitude of straps make them fit for the pavement, too.)
Sophie Buhai, beloved for her timeless bijoux and barrettes, is quick to point out that though fisherman sandals are having a moment, they are, in fact, a classic. “You can’t place the era,” she muses, adding that she was introduced to the unisex shoe by her father, who picked up his first pair while traveling through Spain in the ’70s; in the early aughts, after inheriting a braided leather set from her late grandmother (which she keeps in rotation to this day, thanks to a visit to the cobbler every few years), the enduring design became one of Buhai’s own style signatures, along with blazers, crisp button-ups, black pants, and dark wash denim. “I like a sensible yet chic shoe. I also like a feminine shoe that flatters the foot,” she explains. “These are both of those things.”