The One

Simple, Handmade Greek Sandals for a Stylish Summer

Best part: They look more expensive than they are.

Kyma Mykonos sandals, $179.

Photographer: Stephanie Gonot for Bloomberg Businessweek

The Characteristics

Kyma was founded in 2014 by two brothers, Deno and Alex Mantas. Born in Texas, they relocated to the island of Patmos as children and followed their family into the footwear business. Each pair of their luxury sandals is handmade in Greece using the country’s traditional approach. Alex, the brand’s designer, travels to various locations—every model is named after a different island, from Antiparos to Santorini—for inspiration before creating a shoe. The upper straps are made with natural vegetable-tanned vachetta leather, and every Kyma sandal has a blue sole—in Greek, kyma means “wave.”

The Competition

Most women’s shoe brands carry their own version of a Greek sandal, from high-end labels such as Valentino (the $975 Rockstud gladiator) to mass offerings like Steve Madden (the $70 Regal). If you want a stylish pair that’s actually made in Greece, there are now two main options: Kyma and the more established Ancient Greek Sandals, which was started in 2012. Ancient Greek Sandals sell from $125 to upwards of $600. Kyma costs less—from $229 for the black Ikaria to $179 for the Mykonos in blue and white (pictured above) to $169 for the simple three-strap Antiparos, among other models.

The Case

In a fashion landscape of up-the-leg gladiators, there’s a chic simplicity to Kyma’s designs. The upper leather looks and feels luxurious, and a rubber heel gives stability. The blue sole adds an interesting hint of color. Plus, Kyma’s sandals are comfortable, which can’t be said of every brand. After wearing the Mykonos during a hot New York City weekend, no Band-Aids were needed. And they’re great for narrow feet, a rarity for strappy shoes—you won’t slip out of them. Best of all: They look more expensive than they are.

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