Having large ankles and calves, with the addition of extremely small feet (I am 5’7″ with size 6-61/2 feet), I have all but given up on wearing ankle straps. They aren’t flattering on me and just emphasize that I have heavy legs. I know not all women who suffer from my body issues follow this as strictly as I do. It’s just a decision I have made, especially considering there are usually so many more flattering options out there for me. Well usually there are.
This spring ankle strap sandals are everywhere, EVERYWHERE, making it virtually impossible to find summer sandals without this feature. I get it, it’s a trend, but you can’t swing a dead cat in a shoe department without hitting a pair. How about some variety?
Personally, I’d sooner just go without getting new sandals than actually wearing a pair that I have to strap around my ankles. It’s just not worth it. However, there are some ways to wear ankle strap sandals in a flattering way if you have large calves and ankles. Check out these five tips below.
Figure Flattering Ways to Wear Ankle Strap Sandals this Summer
Tip #1- Chose styles that at least have a slight heel
My first tip is to choose ankle strap sandals that have a slight heel. Not only can ankle straps make legs look heavier, they can also make them look shorter because of the horizontal straps around the ankles To counteract this, choose sandals with a small heel that will give you back the height you lost while also making them look slimmer. The heel doesn’t have to be huge, even a small one will work.
In the look above, I styled these comfortable ankle strap sandals from Sofft with a brick colored shirtdress from Theory and accessorized it with a yellow bag from Furla, hoop earrings from Ann Taylor and cream colored bangles from Banana Republic.
Tip #2- Choose styles that don’t wrap too high on the ankles
There are all types of ankle strap sandals out there. You will find some that lace way up high on the ankles and others that will strap right where the ankles meet the foots. If you have large ankles and calves, your best bet is to choose the latter and avoid ankle straps that lace too high up on the leg. Not only will these types of straps make your legs look heavier, you also run the risk of your ankles swelling after being on your feet all day. And nobody looks good with when ankle straps constrict swollen legs.
These ankle strap sandals from Johnston & Murphy sit nice and low on the ankles, plus they also have criss cross straps that offer slimming diagonal lines, perfect if you want to further slim this part of the body. I styled these sandals with a pair of skinny cargo capris from J. Crew, a sleeveless ivory tie top from Madwell, and accessorized the look with chandelier earrings from Stella & Dot, multistrand leather bracelet from LOFT and reversible tote from Remi & Reed.
One last tip: the length of your pants are important. When choosing cropped styles, be sure that the hem of your capris and cropped pants don’t end at the widest point of your calves. This will only make your legs look heavier, especially when wearing ankle straps.
Tip #3- Choose sandals that match your skin tone
While it can be fun to wear a pair of ankle strap sandals in bright summery colors, another way to minimize the size of your ankles and calves is to stick with colors that match closely to your skin tone. Obviously, this shade will vary depending on your specific skin tone. You don’t have to get it exact, close enough will surely work. What a skin tone colored shoe will do is create a longer, slimmer leg line because the ankle strap will more closely blend with the color of your skin.
In the outfit above, I styled this chic pair of ankle strap sandals by Marc Fisher with an olive tie front pencil skirt from Reiss and the short sleeve version of my favorite white button down shirt from BOSS Hugo Boss. I finished the look with a novelty pair of hoop earrings, Brahmin handbag and soft stripe scarf from Nordstrom.
Tip #4- Choose slimmer ankle straps
With the tremendous variety of ankle strap sandals out there you will find styles with thick straps and others with thin ones. You’re better off choosing thinner ankle straps that take up less space on the legs. The less coverage the better.
Here, this delicate pair of ankle strap sandals from Sam Edelman add a pop of color to this coral printed dress from Karen Millen that has been accessorized with this peach clutch and coral chandelier earrings from Blu Bijoux.
Tip #5- Choose a wedge or more substantial heel
You have heavy legs. Now imagine them on a teeny, tiny spindly heel. Not always great. Often, a more substantial heel or a wedge will balance the heaviness of the legs and make them look more balanced and slimmer. Another tip is to choose ankle strap sandals that tie and where you can control how tight the straps will be. I am not saying they have to be those lace up flats that are so popular. A pair like in the photo above with simple ties can be helpful. I am embarrassed to say that I recently put on a pair of ankle strap sandals in a shoe store for fun while I was with a client and was shocked to find that the straps weren’t even long enough to fit around my ankles. For goodness sake, my ankles aren’t that big.
Using the Loeffler Randal wedges, I styled the look with this printed dress from Boden, slim cardigan from Theory, finished the outfit with the same reversible bag as in the previous look and a Kendra Scott necklace.
Don’t forget to be diligent about your skirt and dress lengths too. Just like pants, you want to make sure that the hems of these pieces don’t end at the widest part of your calves. You can check this post out to see just how much of an impact this can have on how large your calves can look.
Please don’t feel that just because you have large ankles and calves that ankle strap sandals are off limits. Even if you follow none of my tips and wear your sandals with reckless abandon, it’s most important that you love what you wear and feel good wearing it. My goal is to always offer you the ability to make informed choices and I hope that these ankle strap sandals tips will help you better navigate the shoe departments this season.