Flat Sandals

Sometimes, particularly when you're deep into a season, a product or trend can be in such abundance that it's hard to know where to start. Such can be the case with flat summer sandals, particularly when their status reaches the must-have level in the warm-weather months. With so many variations to choose from-gladiators and brights and studs, oh my!-shopping for sandals isn't as easy as wearing them for a walk in the park. But fear not (or rather, don't get de-feeted), dear readers, because we are more than happy to offer our footwear expertise in this Top Five.

As you may have noticed, today's splendid picks are all of the flat variation. And while we die for killer heels, we also think investing in planar pairs is just as life-affirming. Like a blazer or a top knot, these low-rise styles are a good way to incorporate some quick and easy polish into your look. They are also surprisingly practical! In a flat sandal you can ride your bike, walk to work, or enjoy some power-shopping while bridging the gap between low-energy and high style (as opposed to say, the flip flop!). On that note, dearest fancy footed-ladies, our summertime gift to you is that we've taken the legwork out of the footwork and have culled our top five flat sandals for your purchasing pleasure. After all, we want you to be able to spend your vacation time researching the less stressful things in life...like the best happy hour, best beach read, and best patch of sun to snag your tan.

1. Matiko Lace-Up Bootie ($148)
It's said that a good relationship is one that is built on a solid foundation, yet maintains a sense of spontaneity and fun. That description perfectly explains these Matiko sandals-no wonder we were instantly drawn to them! At first glance it seems like all the staple lace-ups on the market, but a closer look finds it throwing all kinds of wonderful curve balls. Take, for example, the thong element that (when worn at the toe!) tosses some sex appeal into the daytime flat by the way it displays your lovely tanned foot. Another stunning left-field surprise is the wedge: the slight heel offers the perfect pick-me-up to complement any hiked-up hemline, whether it's a full-skirt or a cut-off short. Finally, this bootie scores a full-on homerun with a snazzy, hidden zipper at the heel.

2. Steve Madden Wysh Sandal ($80)
If you were only allowed to have one pair of sandals this summer, the Wysh would be a perfect pick. The most traditional of the bunch, this brown leather version pulls out all the stops without drawing attention away from what really counts: the full effect of your summer ensemble. Neutral-toned leather looks quietly chic with nearly any daytime wear while the petite wedge gives you a step-up on the competition. And although we are always proponents of embellishments like zippers, fringes, and studs, sometimes an outfit just calls for the understated glamour of a good-looking, go-anywhere staple summer shoe. Lucky you-your style wysh was granted!

3. Mogil Coeur Shoe ($198)
Although we have an unwavering love for neutrals, sometimes you need to punctuate an outfit with a shoe in a punched-up hue. When your wardrobe calls for such action, try a shot of blue suede with Mogil's Coeur Shoes. The cobalt colour will add pizazz to any summer ensemble, while the zipper-detail instantly toughens up the sandal's inherently classic sensibilities. We'd pair these with either a white tank and cutoffs (denim or khaki) or use them to add unexpected edginess to a girly, floral dress.

4. Dolce Vita Hampton Sandal ($143)
Marching to the same beat as our sexy summer shoes, this white leather flat offers a taste of the spicy and the sweet. The simplicity of its extra wide t-strap and stacked lacquered mini-heel is positively pleasing and reminds of us of the days when we would wear white ruffled ankle-socks with our shoes. However, the sultrier cutout style kicks any saccharine-sensibilities to the curb, imbuing these sandals with a healthy dose of sophistication. And let's not forget the oversized buckle, a key bit of hardware that will appeal to any fashion fan with discerning taste. All in all, this sandal's child-like flair reminds us of a skip down memory lane, but boasts a seasoned step in a more cosmopolitan direction.

5. LIFEwithBIRD Night Vision Sandal ($265, +61.39.410.4580)
This street-wise sandal is the most urban of the bunch and conjures up images of scorching summer pavements and sultry city-nights. The metal detail catches the light for a glint across the toe, and the ankle strap is perfectly practical for strolling the footpath all day long. We'd match this covetable pair with an elegant short, a sheer tank, and chain-mail accessories to channel the polished style of chic city-girls like Olivia Palermo and Byrdie Bell.-Liza Kaplan