Cheap Thrills

Where to Shop for Sandals on a Budget

Five places to buy a summer's worth of shoes without breaking the bank.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen May 24, 2017

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Image: Shutterstock

This week's shopping question from across the office: Where can I buy sandals that don't cost a lot of money? It's a universal issue that pops up around this time every year, as we collectively look into our closets and decide that last year's sandals are looking pretty spent, and closed-toe shoes are no longer an option. So what's a budget fashionista to do? Hit these five stores for some new cheap thrills for your feet.

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Mossimo strappy huarache sandals, $24.99 at Target


If saving money is your biggest priority, your first stop should be Target. Stylish basics start around $10—less for rubber flip-flops—and max out around $30. The shoe section has a couple bigger brands like DV but even the store brands are great at, ahem, knocking off high-end trends, as with the Altuzarra-like fringe on this sandal or the Rihanna-inspired asymmetrical bow on these slides. For more deals, download Target's Cartwheel app, which offers some pretty awesome daily deals. Selection is much bigger online, but you'll probably want to try them on before buying as some of the shoes tend to pinch. 

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Christian Siriano for Payless 'Selena' tall gladiator sandal, $24.99 (on sale) at Payless.

Christian Siriano for Payless

There was a video a few years ago in which someone asked all the celebs backstage at fashion week how much their shoes cost. All the Real Housewives of New Jersey (and similar) were wearing Louboutins. All the models and stylists—you know, actual fashion insiders—were wearing Christian Siriano for Payless. 

The designer has been producing a low-cost collection for the discount retailer for close to a decade now, featuring fun, wearable designs that come straight from his runway shows. Nothing costs more that $50 (and some can be nabbed for as little as $15) and several styles are available in wide widths. Anyone in the market for knee-high gladiators has no excuse for spending more. 

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Sam Edelman 'Santina' lace-up wedge sandals, $42.99 (on sale) from


I once introduced a friend to this clearance site, only to have her get mad at me because she couldn't stop buying shoes once she found it, so please accept my apologies in advance. If you don't mind browsing for shoes at the end of the season, the deals at 6pm—which now sells other types of clothing but still is best at shoes—are almost unbelievable.

There's a ton of stuff to sift through, so show up with an exact idea of what you want (black mules with a heel under two inches, etc.) or do what I do: pick out only brands you already know you love, and see what's too cheap to resist. My go-tos are Sigerson Morrison, Seychelles, Cole Haan, Dolce Vita and Vince Camuto, but those with even more champagne taste can find discounts on Vince, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giuseppe Zanotti, Oscar de la Renta and Loeffler Randall.

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Kelly & Katie 'Amour' blush slide sandal, $19.94 (on sale) at DSW


This shoe warehouse is the perfect place to check several things off your shopping list without the total bill getting too cringe-inducing. For example, before our trip to Thailand, my husband and I collectively needed two pairs of athletic sandals, two pairs of comfortable walking shoes and sandals for lounging (him) and that were dressy enough to wear to nice restaurants and bars (me). An hour at DSW and we had not just OK but really solid, will-wear-again options for almost all of the above, and they were all under or close to $50. I consider it a vacation miracle.

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Chinese Laundry 'Posh' sandal, $38 at Francesca's


This Houston-based chain is one of the most under-appreciated shoe resources in town. You're never far from a store, you can get an idea of what you want online, and the vast majority of shoes are between $25 and $75, with most of the sandals under $50. It's a trendy, youthful edit of affordable brands like Chinese Laundry, Circus by Sam Edelman and Restricted, which right now means lots of fringe and other boho embellishments, strappy metallic thongs, lace-up gladiator sandals and chunky slides. 

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