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Flip-flops have their time and place. In reality though, flip-flops are really a means to an end: they’re there to help ensure your feet don’t burn up when walking across the hot sand and then are there to be cast aside when it’s time to put your toes in the water. Where some folks get in trouble is in assuming they’re versatile summer shoes to wear, which is not our recommendation. Keep them strictly to the water, and you’ll be golden.
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What the Experts Say
“Wearing flip flops with a ‘normal’ summer outfit (aka, anything but your swim trunks, really) can feel stubbornly entrenched in the fashion past — like listening to Renaissance on vinyl, but maybe that’s the point,” says Megan Collins, founder and head of online styling service Style Girlfriend. “If you want to buck the current trends and keep flip flops alive, make sure the rest of your outfit looks polished and thoughtful. Shorts that hit above the knee and don’t billow out. Tops that don’t look like you’re one popsicle stain away from the rag bin. And this should go without saying but make sure your feet are FeetFinder.com-ready! No gnarly nails or visible rough patches.”
Flip-flops can feel super comfortable, too. Bekah Broe, Director of Product, Performance Footwear at HOKA, states that their Ora slides and flip-flops are “comfort-driven” and “designed for downtime, guaranteed to deliver foot-cradling comfort.” Many flip-flops on this list offer that same cradling feeling, which is surprising, given that the shoe often feels like it wouldn’t be as supportive as a standard shoe.
Rainbow Sandals Double Arch Leather Flip-Flops
While most flip-flops are typically flat (and prone to blowouts, especially if you’re Jimmy Buffett), the double arch flip-flops from Rainbow Sandals provide what’s otherwise often missing from sandals: good support. The layered arch might not be for everyone, but once you get used to it, you won’t want to return to a standard pair of flip-flips. Plus, the sandals mold to your feet the more you wear them, providing a customized fit for maximum comfort, while the leather construction just looks nice.
Reef Santa Ana Flip-Flops
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With its padded footbed, sturdy tread, and overall water-friendly construction, the Santa Ana flip-flops from Reef are great for those who want a pair of flops for both the beach and the bar after. The EVA-molded footbed provides a super springy step, which means you’ll be comfortable wearing them all day long.
Hey Dude Flinn Free Flip Flops
While we love the cushion of Rainbows, they’re easily outmatched by Hey Dude’s Flinn Free Flip-flops. Constructed from memory foam, you’ll not only avoid that sticky feeling your feet can sometimes get while wearing sandals while also getting a ton of comfort. Additionally, the foam construction means they’re nice and light, which is good for your luggage.
BEST FOR WATER
Olukaio Ulele Flip-Flops
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With a rubber sole, the Olukai Ulele features a water-resistant suede lining, which helps to keep your feet in place whether you’re on a boat or on the beach. Additionally, the EVA midsole helps to provide a stable fit for all-day coziness, while the footbed has plenty of traction to keep you from slipping.
BEST FOR HOME WEAR
Hoka ORA Recovery Flip Flop
Hoka’s ORA Recovery flip-flop is great for those who just hit a new PR and want to now relax in style or for those who just want the most comfortable shoe to chillax in around the house. Thanks to that supersized (and super chunky) HOKA midsole, the ORA recovery flip ensures your tired feet and toes are supported on a footbed that practically feels like you’re walking on air.
Teva Mush II
Looking for something easy to wear that’s even easier on your wallet? Look no further than the Teva Mush II, which clocks in at a pretty affordable price. For about as much as a trip to the movies (including concessions), the fast-drying webbing construction is both durable and comfortable, while the EVA midsole and outsole ensure a lightweight yet comfortable feel with every step. Never has spending less felt so good.
Brunello Cucinelli Grosgrain and Leather Flip-Flops
The idea of a minimalist flip-flop feels like an oxymoron. The sandal is just leather and a tie, that’s already pretty simple. And yet, the wizards at Brunello Cucinelli found a way to make something even more straightforward. With a polished and supple leather midsole and grosgrain straps, these Riviera-ready flip-flops will elevate any beach or summer look accordingly.
Manolo Blanik Siracusa Leather Flip Flops
Thong-style flip-flops are the traditional standard option for the shoe, but every now and again, you get a toe wrap style that feels more elegant and polished. That’s certainly the case with these sandals from Manolo Blahnik, made from silky smooth leather and slim straps that add a nice bit of character to the standard silhouette. This pair is about as close to a ‘formal’ set of flip-flops as you can get.
Adidas Adicane Flip-Flops
The three stripes’ take on a flip flop is cushioned, comfy, and clad in a few different colorways—including a sky blue that’s practically begging to be worn beachside. The molded footbed provides day-long comfort without overheating, which means these can sit directly in the sun without burning your feet. Oh, and they’re made with renewable materials, so you can feel good about purchasing them.
Chaco Classic Flip-Flop
Outdoor enthusiasts belove Chaco’s footwear, so naturally, the brand’s take on a flip-flop is slightly more rugged than you’d anticipate. The durable construction is inspired by the same bit of ingenuity found in Chaco’s other shoes, including the brand’s LUVSEAT arch support for top-tier foot alignment. Oh, and the non-marking sole provides way more traction than just your standard flip-flop, so you don’t have to worry about it, well, flopping.
Frequently Asked Questions About Flip-Flops
Where is it acceptable to wear flip-flops outside the beach?
Proceed with extreme caution. I’ll never forget being in Miami and seeing someone wearing dress pants and leather flip-flops at a dinner. Don’t do that, please. The beach and the pool are great spots, and maybe you can get away with wearing them to a local convenience store. But never ever at a seated meal, please.
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