Wedge Sandals: Towers of Power

Chunky, funky, yet surprisingly non-clunky, this season's hottest shoe, the high wedge, is one serious sandal. Sure, we'll see it blooming with floral prints, glowing softly with muted pastels, happy with vivid color blocking, and especially overgrown with nature-girl accents (think: pale wood and cork finishes) to burnish its broadsides. But the bodacious boost these babies provide is what knocks us over. (And don't worry; even the highest wedges are easier to walk in than a shorter, skinny stiletto.) This sandal style has lots of surface area, and designers are playing with multicolored tribal prints, lashings of hardware and even lipstick-red patent. The no-fail wear-with-everything option? A jute-wrapped espadrille wedge is this summer's high point of casual chic.

Platform, Slide and Slingback Sandals: Strap Happy

Sexy as all get-out, but somehow perfectly acceptable (depending on the finish) for weekend and office wear, these uber-femme beauties will keep your feet air-conditioned all season. Platform sandals, those retro glamour girls of the footwear world, offer the height boost and relatively easy balancing of tall wedges with the curve-appeal of a more slender high heel. Look for mixed materials: Alternating slick patent and matte leather straps add instant textural oomph. Ladylike laser-cut flowers perched over the toe lend a tender touch. For a shorter sandal, opt for classic slides and slingbacks, as they're frequently crafted in a mid-heel height, and thus great for pairing with floaty tea-length dresses or kick-around capris.