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Associated Press, Published July 07 2013

Summer soles: A list of this season’s hottest shoes

While a simple black flip-flop might be the go-to summer shoe, it’s no longer the only option. Designers have transformed customary fall and winter shoes with splashes of color, added sequins and metal details, making them perfect for summer.

“It’s almost as if shoes aren’t so seasonal anymore,” said Monica Reis, footwear buyer for Vanity. “The sandal is really the only one that’s truly seasonal.”

Now, along with the typical strappy summer sandals, sneakers, boat shoes and boots are making big appearances in shoe stores this summer.

“It’s nice to see something new,” said Melissa Rademacher, director of marketing for Vanity.

Boat shoes

Although boat shoes have been around for many years, they have recently gained popularity around the country. With rubber soles that provide traction on wet surfaces, they were traditionally intended for a relaxed day of boating, but the casual shoes have received a make-over.

In different colors, styles and patterns, they now appeal to men and women of all ages. They can be worn for a variety of occasions and are the perfect shoe for any laidback summer day. The fun prints and colors work great with light denim.

• WEAR THEM WITH: Reis suggests pairing them with denim shorts or rolled-up skinny jeans. They also work well with khakis, skirts and cotton sundresses. They are meant for casual, sporty looks and shouldn’t be paired with dressy clothes.

Lace-up sneakers

Similar to boat shoes, lace-up sneakers have been revamped for summer as well. Lighter fabrics, crochet insets and feminine details, make these casual shoes the perfect finish to a summer look.

Reis said this summer’s sneakers have the athletic feel with a feminine twist.

Try swapping your typical sandals for a pair of sneakers to create a casual, cool vibe. Pairing sneakers with a sundress creates a relaxed look that’s appropriate for a walk in the park, while the same sundress paired with wedges might be more appropriate for a party.

• WEAR THEM WITH: Pair sneakers with denim for an everyday look, or use them to dress down your skirts and sundresses.

Boots

Another casual shoe with a bit more versatility is the summer boot. Although boots are more known for the fall and winter months, they have been slowly making their way into the summer season.

From biker boots to western styles, boots come in an endless variety, but not all styles are appropriate for summer. The best summer boots are short ankle boots or booties.

Reis suggests pairing them with an above-the-knee dress. “It adds a different twist because it’s a little unexpected,” she said. “You don’t expect to see a boot in summer.”

Reis said stick with summery colors like tans, light browns, mocha and cognac.

• WEAR THEM WITH: Along with dresses, you can pair them with printed shorts and skinny jeans. If you wear boots with jeans, though, keep the top light and summery.

Strappy sandals

If you like letting your feet breathe and showing off your pedicure, sandals are always a go-to summer shoe.

This year, strappy sandals, like gladiators, are huge. “Anything with back detailing” is in, Reis said.

These sandals are more sturdy, secure and formal than a plain flip-flop. Rhinestone, jewel and metal plating embellishments give them an unexpected pop and add instant glam to any look.

• WEAR THEM WITH: From maxi dresses to denim shorts, to hi-low skirts, they look great with almost any summer style.

Interchangeable styles

Whether it’s a boat shoe, boot or strappy sandal, Reis said all of these styles can be worn interchangeably throughout the summer.

“Your shoe can add instant versatility to your look,” she said.

So, choose one that fits your style.

“Shoes are a great way for you to show off your personality, spice up your look,” Rademacher said.