Fling those It bags to the back of the closet. This season, statement sandals are wearing the accessories crown.

Fashionistas have gone crazy for this summer's catwalk shoe stars - there are now lengthy waiting lists for Balmain's crystal studded sandals, YSL's caged boots and Louis Vuitton's 'Spicy' platforms.

Madonna and Victoria Beckham may have had no problem bagging the tribal Spicys but those left disappointed by the sell-outs - or the hefty £1000 plus price tags - can still find catwalk-hot shoes on the high street.

"The summer shoe season is awash with statement styles, vibrant colour palettes and gorgeous embellishments with something to match every fashion trend," says Patricia Becquereau, chief buyer at Moda In Pelle.

Nothing kick-starts a summer wardrobe like new sandals. The perfect pair will instantly update trousers and give tired dresses and shorts an effortless seasonal lift.

Get the pedicurist on speed dial. It's time to give your feet a starring role in this summer's must-have shoes.

Flat finds

Whatever heels you're hankering after this summer, no shoe rack is complete without a pair of walk-friendly flat sandals.

If you want a fiercer shoe than the basic flip-flop look no further than the gladiator, which has survived yet another fashion season. This summer they've been updated with ankle cuffs and heavy embellishments - perfect for work or play.

"Jewelled metallic flats and gladiator sandals are some of the hottest shoes around - combine them with summer shorts and t-shirts to work the tribal trend," Patricia recommends.

- Wear with: Micro shorts and playsuits.

- Try: Jones Bootmaker yellow patent Happy gladiators, £55; Matalan metallic weave sandals, £12; Tamaris Dune studded gladiator sandals, £35; Red or Dead gold chainmail sandals, £39.99 at Schuh.

Wedge wonders

Can't face flats? Get an unfair height advantage by walking tall in towering wedge heels. Petite Rachel Stevens has frequently been spotted in her trusty wedges.

"Wedges are once again a summer wardrobe staple," says Patricia. "Look for feminine print styles to wear with floaty fabrics or go for glossy patent brights with leggings for a statement look."

Wooden, cork or rope heel styles are the pairs to plump for in high summer.

- Wear with: Flowing maxi dresses.

- Try: Dune red Captain wedges, £85; New Look fringed suede wedges, £35; ASOS colour block wooden wedges, £64; Next woven navy wedges, £28; Freemans cut-out wooden wedges, £55.

Heel highs

More than 70 per cent of us instantly feel more glamorous in a pair of heels, according to a recent survey by Compeed. But don't squash up your tootsies in courts, free them in this season's statement platforms.

"High heels are more daring and sky-high than ever before," Patricia explains. "Fringing, ruffles and reptile fabrics all feature strongly and this season's colours include everything from electric blue and flashes of neon for an 80s Miami-inspired look to softer pastels, neutrals and metallics."

- Wear with: 3/4 length peg trousers.

- Try: Dorothy Perkins ankle cuff platforms, £35; Moda In Pelle Lush purple cut-out platforms, £90; River Island coral Nairobi platforms, £94.99; Matalan tan studded gladiator platforms, £16.


Booties in winter? Fashion has found a way to make the shoeboot summer-friendly with the peep-toe boot as sported by Cheryl Cole, Beyonce and Heidi Klum to name but a few.

Take your lead from Stella McCartney's £425 version with light mesh material, cut-out detailing and cheeky peep-toes.

Keep your outfits light and summery by sticking to nude or tan-tone tones or toughen up girly frocks with black peep-toe booties, which are also sticking around for the autumn/winter season.

- Wear with: Summer dresses.

- Try: Office What's It All About beige peep-toe boots, £85; Linzi Shoes blue peep-toe zip boots, £30; ASOS leather and mesh pink peep-toe ankle boots, £65; Betty Jackson black lace-up shoe boots, £330 at my-wardrobe.com