Balenciaga Crocs with a high heel, kidney-shaped clogs and platform thongs are just a few hotly debated "ugly" shoes that are deemed super-cool by some and too-fugly-to-function by others. Sherpa sandals are the latest iteration of a questionable shoe that some trendsetters have already embraced as a must-have for late winter and early spring. It mixes the coziness of faux-fur and the open-toed slide design, creating the feel of socks and sandals on steroids.
Sherpa is a synthetic (faux) shearling fabric that is soft and warm but not waterproof (which is important to keep in mind). Over the last couple of years, sherpa jackets popped up everywhere (like long coats, half-zip pullovers and cropped jackets), making for fluffy and easy dressing. That same kind of teddy bear-chic has now gone south to the feet for spring 2022.
There are loads of ways to wear it for transitional weather: with socks, sweatpants, jeans, dresses or leggings. Easy to slip on after a workout or long morning walk, these shoes can be as homely or fashion-forward as the wearer decides.
BIRKENSTOCK ARIZONA SHEARLING
The trendy double-strap style gets the winter treatment with a shearling lining and suede finish. Count on this to be the most popular version this spring as sizes are already selling out, and it's been spotted on celebrities like Reese Witherspoon. Available in mink (brown) and black from Little Burgundy; light rose in narrow/medium and regular/wide width from Birkenstock, and maroon/mink/black/light rose from Altitude Sports.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a reliable style.
Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, comfort, quality.
Where it could use improvements: Higher price point than some other options.
Size/weight/dimensions: Unisex sizing with two different width options (narrow/medium and regular/wide).
THE ON-TREND H&M LOOK
Count on H&M to come through with a style that hits the trend target (but doesn't cost a fortune). This criss-cross sandal is a little dressier than the two-strap Arizona and has a tan/white contrasting colour scheme. Available at H&M.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who likes the sherpa footbed but not the two-strap style.
Why we're endorsing it: Price point, brand trust, easy-to-style design.
Where it could use improvements: No half sizes.
Size/weight/dimensions: Limited sizes.
THE UGG-LY SLINGBACK
The Fluff Yeah UGG slide started gaining traction last summer and is poised for an influencer-driven, social-media takeover this year. This slingback style comes in multiple colours, has a monogram elastic strap and a super puffy style (just like Ugg boots).
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a youthful take on this trend.
Why we're endorsing it: Comfort, brand trust.
Where it could use improvements: Like all shearling sandals, it is not recommended to wear them outdoors.
Size/weight/dimensions: Women’s sizing; Amazon prices vary by size/colour.
THE ULTRA-LUXURY OPTION
Want to really splash out on this look? These Fendi sandals have the label monogram along the back and the same strap layout as Tevas. These are nearly sold out online and have already been worn by Chrissy Teigen in her effort to give up high heels. Available at Net-a-porter.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a designer and look-at-me option.
Why we're endorsing it: Unique design features, duty calculated at checkout.
Where it could use improvements: Luxury price point, limited sizes.
Size/weight/dimensions: Italian sizing (so be sure to use a conversation chart to figure out the conversion).
SHEARLING SANDALS FOR KIDS
Socks can be a sticking point with kids, but these fun sandals might eliminate the need for them (at least for a few months). With a slip-on style, kids can try handling their own "shoes on/shoes off" routine at the door. Maybe. Available at the Gap.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants a mini version of this comfortable shoe.
Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, price, on sale.
Where it could use improvements: That white sherpa will go through a lot.
Size/weight/dimensions: 1-13 in children’s sizing.