Best Slingback Shoes & Heels Reviewed
One of the most versatile shoe styles in history is the slingback, often seen with a sophisticated kitten heel. Chanel's stunning two-tone style in the 1950s was a peak in this style's popularity and worth repeating. The basic qualifying structure for this footwear is the strap around an open back. Beyond that, they can be pumps, flats, stilettos, wedges or chunky heeled sandals. The strap might be elastic or buckled and adjustable and the toe can either be open or closed. Platforms, a ballet flat, a flip-flop or a clog, as long as that strap is there, you’ve got this classic style on your foot.
This is the best product on our list that is currently in stock:
Textile & Synthetic Upper
Non Slip Sole
- G by Guess Joanhy
- Calvin Klein Gwenith
- Sanuk Yoga Sling 2
- Chinese Laundry Obvi
- Timberland Los Angeles Wind
- LifeStride Pearla
- Sam Edelman Hastings
- Sam Edelman Rivers
- TOMS Poppy
- Crocs Eve
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Slingback Shoes
1. G by Guess Joanhy
Memory Foam Midsole
Faux Leather Lining
FInding a designer-style shoe doesn't have to break the bank. The G by Guess collection is a stylish designer option for those without a designer budget. These classic slingbacks are made from a shiny synthetic material with a stiletto heel and small platform.Read more
A 1.75” platform puts you head and shoulders above the rest, and the 4.5” stiletto heel gives you all the drama you could wish for in a shoe. The peep-toe and polished ring accents add to the classic and sassy styling of the pump.
With casual outfits or for business and evening wear, these slingback platforms have an elegantly rounded open toe. They can take you pretty much everywhere you want to go to high-society. With a black or tan color choice you can choose which best fits your outfit, or at their inexpensive price, get both to have multiple options for upcoming events.
2. Calvin Klein Gwenith
Textile & Synthetic Upper
Non Slip Sole
The Calvin Klein Gwenith Pump is a classic slingback pump with an elevated style with a sassy pointed toe. And with a shorter heel than most others on our list, you can be sure that your feet will remain comforted all night. At a slightly higher price, these leather pumps are built from quality materials to last.Read more
The upper is 100% leather, with a comfortable slingback with a buckle under your ankle. The buckle makes adjustability a snap. The instep is fitted with gel comfort pod insert to give even more cushion.
A gorgeous pair of pumps with super insoles and elastic all around. The Gwenith has a flexible sole with a non-skid bottom tread. A 3.5-inch heel. Coming in 3 colors: blue, black, and tan, you can choose from a few different options to better match your choice of outfit.
3. Sanuk Yoga Sling 2
Padded Toe Post
Stretch Fabric Upper
Yoga Mat Footbed
U Rubber Sponge Outsole
Lacks Arch Support
A novelty brand from sunny, southern California, the word ‘Sanuk’ means fun in Thai. This makes sense for a company that started by making sandals out of inner tubes and carpet. Now it has moved on to the yoga mat sandal and sponsors a variety of athletes from rock climbers to surfers to snowboarders. With a variety of products from booties to sandals and sneakers, Sanuk is everywhere in the world.Read more
With total attention to comfort, these flip-flop thongs are a marvel of craft and design. An honest to goodness yoga-mat is the padded footbed. You get a wonderful squish with every step.
Super comfy cloth straps set these far above the standard flip-flop shoe. A beautiful Asian inspired upper gives these sandals an exceptional aesthetic. Simple and elegant in craftsmanship and design.
4. Chinese Laundry Obvi
Wide Toe Box
A 1982 fashion collection, Chinese Laundry appeals to the working public who like a little flair with their style. A bit more daring than the rest of the designs, these are quality for almost every occasion. Pumps in this style aren’t exactly a new phenomenon but Chinese Laundry never fails to toss in a new trick, just a slightly different accent than the rest of the field.Read more
A sophisticated looking pump with just enough wow to get you noticed but not upstaged! Faux leather inside and out, a buckle on the ankle strap for easy adjustments and padded insoles.
These are a great option for leg lengthening style with great comfort if tottering in stiletto type heels is just not your thing. The larger heel gives you all the stability you need and the lined insole cushion your foot all day and night.
5. Timberland Los Angeles Wind
EVA Foam Outsole
Salt Water Stains
If you need something to wear in the great outdoors chances are Timberland makes it. From the 1920s their boots are a result of years of innovation including injection-molding technologies. They also make waterproof boots for both cold and tropical climates, so they know a lot about construction and wear. So lucky for us that they’ve entered the casual sportswear arena with serious sandals.Read more
As sturdy as a Timberland work boot, these sandals sport a super chunky, thick sole and wide leather straps cross the toes and forms the slingback. Tough sandals for rough terrain.
Amazing Ortholite foam makes these cushy insoles antimicrobial wonders to protect your feet. Just right for vacation and weekend madness. Excellent traction from rubber outsole. Beautifully crafted and comfy.
6. LifeStride Pearla
No Breaking In Required
Strap Stretches Overtime
Professional and confident are the words that come to mind when considering the LifeStriden brand. Back for a long exile in the fashion world, the lion has returned with footwear for real working women who need comfort and style and without the fads. This is the modern LS with serious women in mind as they seek an honest foothold on the ladders of success.Read more
Comfort and style in a sexy pump with a modest 1.75” heel. Perfect for a long work day then out for drinks or dinner. If it’s a business footrace you’re in, these might be the right option for you.
LifeStride's synthetic sole bring super comfort, and the open heel has an adjustable buckle for perfect fit. The solid colors have yummy leather uppers, prints are gorgeous fabric.
7. Sam Edelman Hastings
Leather, Textile or Suede Upper
Lightly Padded Footbed
Classic Toe Silhouette
Runs Slightly Narrow
The perfect pair of pumps for a night out, a formal event, a casual outing of for the office, the Sam Edelman Hastings is one of the most versatile pairs of footwear you can invest in. Available in numerous color options and materials, including patent leather, suede, leather as well as silk, you can match this pair of heels with almost any outfit for results you’ll love every time.Read more
One of the main advantages this slingback has over traditional heeled shoes is the fact that the back is fastened with a subtle but secure buckle, which allows for great fit adjustability. This means you’ll comfortably be able to wear these, without having to worry about heel slippage or heel blisters.
Overall, Sam Edelman styles are made using materials that allow for excellent comfortability at prices that are affordable. One of the best aspects of this particular style is the lightly padded footbed that allows just enough padding to allow for all-day wear without any pain.
8. Sam Edelman Rivers
With a pedigree from Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole, the Sam Edelman brand has to be a winner. From equestrian inspired footwear to the most modern iteration, Edelman’s designs have unique shapes and their own artistic expression but they’re all based on classic know-how and traditional fabrications. There’s always just a little surprise in color or design.Read more
An artistic twist on a stylish flat the Rivers are like no other. A casual shoe that would dress up a pair of tuxedo pants, they can take you from lunch to a fancy dinner if necessary.
A comfortable flat with a synthetic sole, the real luxury is in the fit, and the fun is in the details. A side bow, a braided slingback strap, and a pointy toe give them extra flair.
9. TOMS Poppy
Suede Ankle Strap
2.25” Stacked Heel
Breathable Textile Lining
Beware of Counterfeit Products
Developed with the sole purpose of bringing you a style that looks elegant but is comfortable, the TOMS Poppy is a great choice for those looking at adding a pair of chunky sandals to their wardrobe. Pair it with boyfriend jeans or a cocktail dress, the Poppy will look great no matter the occasion and is a perfect pair of footwear for anyone looking at purchasing a product that’s not just great looking, but socially conscious.Read more
This is one of the most stable pairs of footwear on this list, mainly thanks to the low, 2.25” heel, as well as the custom German outsole that’s made with rubber and features a traction pattern that keeps you on your feet even in more slippery situations.
The upper of the Poppy is made with genuine leather that also wraps the heel for a more flattering line. The use of this material greatly contributes to its comfortability, seeing that it’ll easily mold to your feet, while the wide straps keep it from cutting into any portion of the foot.
10. Crocs Eve
Great for Plantar Fasciitis
Non Slip Sole
Unsuitable for Formal Wear
Out of the garden and onto the runway, Crocs are making their way into every aspect of our lives. It’s not just clogs, sandals and flip-flops anymore, there are flats, sneakers and wedges, loafers, boots, and athletic options. It’s still casual footwear, but now it’s dressed up using the same light and built for comfort.Read more
Using the same materials as a Croc gardening clog or flip-flops or flats, Crocs have designed an excellent ballet style for your comfort. The open heel design keeps your foot ventilated and cool.
Seamlessly molded into a sleek ballet shoe shape with a strap, super comfy Croslite foam, and a .5” heel for a tiny bit of height. Eve Crocs come in black, oyster and navy.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the main reasons slingback shoes are such a great pair of footwear to own is the fact that they can be incredibly versatile. Regardless of whether you opt for a flat or heeled choice, if you go with something flashy or understated, they’ll make a good addition to a variety of outfits. There are several types featured on this list alone, from sporty styles to those made for casual wear, to more sophisticated models that can easily be worn at a formal office, a wedding, or even a night-club. Whichever of the styles above you decide to go with, there are, however, several things you should keep in mind, and that is whether your shoe is appropriate for the given occasion.
If you decide to go with heels, it’s important to keep in mind the height. While a tall pump can look extremely classy, going overboard (or with anything with a platform), may seem unprofessional or inappropriate in certain situations. For comfort reasons as well, you may want to opt for something not too tall - an average heel of up to 3 inches can give you enough elevation to compliment your look, without putting unnecessary pressure on the ball of your foot and causing you discomfort.
Lower styled slingbacks, on the other hand, are amazing for those who tend to spend a lot of time on their feet, who are expecting to do a lot of walking, or who need something that’s easy to slip on and off. Often featured in more athletic versions, slingbacks can be great for camping, beach visits, or active weekends when you need an open shoe but with plenty of breathability.
No matter the type of footwear you are purchasing, there is one aspect that’s extremely important, and that will greatly influence the comfort, support, protection as well as the durability you get out of your shoes. As they are a cross between sandals, clogs, and pumps, slingback shoes come in a huge number of upper options, ranging from full grain leather to textile, to synthetics and tech fabrics. All of these can be great choices, depending on the type of use you are expecting to get.
If you’re looking for an everyday, professional or formal style, go with something of a higher quality, either leather or its vegan equivalents. These materials should be easy to break in, will be pleasant in touch with your bare (or covered) foot, and will be relatively easy to maintain so that they look polished.
For more casual or sporty occasions, you can opt for synthetics that will be water friendly, that wick away moisture, or that allow a good amount of stretch for lots of movement, giving your feet the freedom to naturally expand and contract with every step.
In terms of materials, it’s also crucial to consider the lining and sole of the shoe, seeing that you will want the best possible performance in these areas. For the lining, you should either choose something with leather or a breathable textile or synthetic, such as in the TOMS Poppy. In the sole, you will want a steady outsole with a good amount of tread, a midsole that offers at least some amount of shock absorption and arch support, and a footbed that’s lightly padded for maximum comfortability.
While high heels are less likely to have a midsole or to include rubber or foam elements, there are those made with padded footbeds and even memory foam insoles, so that you can wear them for longer without having to experience pain. Alternatively, you may want to consider adding your inserts that would soothe and protect the balls of your feet, the heel area or support the arch to prevent tendon pain.
The main feature on any shoe made in this style, whether a high heel or a sporty sandal, is the strap that keeps it on on the back of the foot, securing it and making walking easier as your feet don’t have to work hard and flex to stay inside the shoe.
This strap is both the main advantage of the style, but it can also be its biggest drawback. When shopping for slingbacks, your best bet would be to check how well it’s made, and whether it features some level of adjustability. Not only will this allow a secure initial fit, but it can also make putting on and off easier, as well as allow for some additional breathing space should you find that your feet have swollen throughout the day.
Most styles featured on this list have a buckle closure with a couple of adjustability levels, allowing for a good range of fits. Great for those wearing half sizes, or with different feet anatomies, this is an excellent choice, especially if the buckles themselves (as well as the straps) are made with quality materials, with strong stitching.
However, there are also those styles which don’t have a buckle, but, instead, feature some level of elasticity in the back strap portion. More common in athletic and casual styles, this is an excellent, easy to wear choice that’ll conform to your foot completely hassle-free, and is less likely to cause discomfort due to rubbing. The downside of this variation, however, is that the elasticity may start to give out with wear, leaving you with shoes that have a loose back strap that allows no fit security.
Last but not least, there are those models that have no adjustability at all, which is the least ideal option. They will often be closer to regular pumps or flats in terms of fit and may present problems if the strap itself is rigid or made with a harder material. Nonetheless, if you’ve managed to find the perfect size for you, they can be a great, stable and secure option.
One of the great things about mules is that they can be worn in all types of weather conditions, especially with current trends of colorful hosiery that is chosen to match or contrast the shoe itself. Available in some styles, you can go with either completely open mules that are just like strappy sandals, or you can go with closed styles that allow plenty of protection from colder temperatures.
Compared to regular pumps or clogs, slingbacks hold one great advantage which is reflected in the breathability they offer. Because the back portion of the shoe is open, this is a great feature that can contribute to temperature regulation, airflow, as well as moisture management for those who happen to sweat a bit more. On the other hand, as the front can be completely closed, they can even offer some protection from spring showers where there’s a slight drizzle, but the temperature is still warm.
If you go with a synthetic style, you may even find that it’s a great beach option, as it should dry faster than textile and leather, while providing considerably more support than your average flip flops. For example, the Crocs Eve can go from casual date to beach in a beat, and at the end of the day, you can just wash it off with a bit of lukewarm water, and they’ll look as good as new.
Last but not least, one of our most important pieces of criteria was to choose only those products which offered a great value for your invested money. With a lot of products, this eliminates generic brands and cheaply made models, because the focus is more on quality, durability, and construction than price.
When it comes to slingback shoes, you’ll be happy to know that they come in a huge range of prices. From those that cost less than $20, to those with four-figure prices, they can be found to fit any budget. If your finances allow it, our suggestion is always to go with averagely priced styles that are made with better materials and that have design features that are well-thought out and made to promote comfort and foot health.
Before making a final purchase, it’s a great idea to read user reviews, as this often uncovers any hidden downsides of a particular model, such as subpar support, material durability, or even construction issues that may present problems in terms of blistering or discomfort. You can get a lot of this information simply from reading the Pros and Cons section for each listed product, but if you opt to go with something else, you can try to learn from other people’s experiences.
Lastly, to get the best possible value out of your investment, we would recommend taking good care of your shoes, especially when it comes to cleaning, drying and weather protection. Make sure you don’t use your footwear in ways it was not meant to be used (for example, leather shoes should not be worn at the beach or pool), and you will see that they’ll serve you better for a longer period.
In case you need any tips on how to properly clean and freshen up your preferred pair of slingbacks, you can read this guide for instructions that work on most materials.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Slingbacks are such an easy slip on kind of pump or heel, but sometimes they slip off a bit too easy. You can keep your slingbacks from slipping with a few tips, which will let you walk worry free throughout the day.
Invest in some double sided, invisible tape, and apply some to the inside of the slingback strap. this can help keep the strap on your foot while you walk.
You can also invest in a pair of Foot Petals Toe Tips, which can help keep your foot and toes from sliding forward.
Sometimes the width of our foot can cause a slingback style of footwear to fit poorly, but no need to fear! When you purchase the shoe, be sure it fits your foot comfortably, especially if you have wider feet, and plan to buy something with a pointed or almond toe.
You can always punch new holes into the slingback strap to make a tighter fit, or, add a bit of lambs wool to the toe, or other cushioning element, to prevent in shoe slippage.
Other Factors to Consider
Like with any other pair of comfort, before making a purchase, you should try on the shoes, or follow online instructions so that you order the correct size. It’s also important to note the specific shape of your foot, as this can greatly influence the fit of your newly purchased footwear. That is to say, if you’ve got wide feet with toes the same length, you may want to stay away from pointed pumps.
If you suffer from any foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, etc., you should consider them and purchase footwear accordingly. While some footwear may allow you to add inserts for support and cushioning, slingbacks are often open which lowers your options in this regard.
Last but not least, you need to consider your preferences in terms of material type. If you like shoes that are more breathable and allow for better moisture management, leather or synthetic closed styles should not be your first choice. If, however, you have sensitive skin, go with something that won’t irritate, such as, for example, the Crocs Eve.
Because they are often inspired by clogs, slingbacks may come with a chunkier heel or outsole that could add quite a bit of weight to the shoe. For some, this won’t be a problem at all, se they will appreciate the added support and stability that come with these styles, and will find them more comfortable than models with thinner soles.
However, if you’re looking for slingback sandals for athletic use, you should definitely try to find ones that are as lightweight as possible, as this will allow you to walk more without experiencing fatigue or cramping. Luckily, plenty of modern materials are made so as to minimize weight, but that still do great at protecting you from the surface underfoot, as well as providing you with adequate shock absorption.
Often a choice for wedding wear, a simple kitten heel is a very suitable choice. Easy for most of us to wear and so much variation in styles. Not that we don’t love mules, too but this style will relax the foot since no gripping toes are required to keep the shoe in place. Ballet flat versions are great for walking vacations and, with the right materials, they can take you from the beach to the mountains with plenty of protection and comfort. A super sexy choice for a stiletto, the strap keeps it from slipping off while clubbing. This style of shoe may still be the most sensible option in your closet because of the easy on, easy off the quality of an elastic strap. If you have to buckle in you’ve probably chosen a shoe you’ll be needing to wear all day, so we're happy to report that a great deal of attention is given to those midsole fabrications and cushioning of the insole. Make sure the strap doesn’t cut into the back of your foot, and you should be good to go!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are they fine for wider feet?
It depends on the design you’re looking at but, yes, very often this style will fit you more easily. The strap on the back is either a little stretchy elastic or adjustable with a buckle, so you have more width in the midsole if you want it. That being said, a tight toe box on a higher pump can still be a problem for you. Think stretchy in fabrication and stick with lower heels if superwide is not advertised.
q: Is there any arch support in this style?
Sure. The amount often depends on the type of shoe you want. Check to make sure it’s mentioned if you’re buying online because some shoe brands don’t cater to those needs. Sportier brands are likely to give that a lot of attention, and there are many of those to choose from. You’d be surprised who is making very classy looking designs these days.
q: Isn’t a stiletto a little dangerous for the ankle?
Not really. No more than any heel. If you’re wearing a stiletto with a very tall platform, then you run the same risk of rolling out on your ankle whether you have full back covered or an open version. The strap does not make you less stable if the midsole hits you in the right place to make sure you have a shoe that fits you well.
q: Won’t my foot slip out of the shoe without a back covering?
No. You are much more secure than while wearing something like a mule or a traditional clog. However, if you are used to being completely encased in a shoe, then this will feel very different. The strap on the shoe holds your foot into the front of the shoe, and it’s designed to keep your foot from falling off the side. So, unless you’re playing tennis or making quick turns at top speed, you’ll be fine.
q: Why this style instead of a closed shoe? Won’t your feet get dirty?
No dirtier than they would if you were wearing a sandal or a flip-flop. If you are mostly indoors, they’ll stay very clean, but if you go outside, you’re only risking dirty feet if you’re walking around in a lot of dust or grime.
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