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- Summer wouldn’t be the same without that magical sound of flip-flops at the beach and pool.
- These simple sandals come in a variety of styles, including day-to-night options.
- Some brands offer styles with arch support or massaging footbeds.
The sound of flip-flops flipping and flopping at the beach or pool is one of the quintessential sounds of summer. These simple sandals have a history dating back to the ancient Egyptians. The modern version first became popular in the 1950s when they received their onomatopoeic name for the distinctive sound they make, although they also go by a variety of other names including thongs (Australia), slippers (Hawaii), and clam diggers (Texas).
At their simplest, this sandal style features a post that goes in between the first and second toes and often has Y-shaped straps that go around the sides of the feet. With that being said, there are many variations on the basic theme, as you’ll see below.
We’ve included men’s, women’s, and unisex choices, and although anyone can wear any of these, the women’s and men’s selections have limited sizing compared to the unisex options.
Here are the best flip-flops for 2021
These are easy wearing sandals good for all-day wear that look great whether running errands, hanging out at the beach, or having a casual dinner out.
When You slide into a pair of OluKai ‘Ohana flip-flops, the footbed feels smooth and pillowy yet with a firmness below the surface. These are easy-wearing sandals that look great whether running errands, hanging out at the beach, or having a casual dinner out. The upper is made from a soft, but sturdy synthetic material that’s lined with a quick-drying jersey, and doesn’t chafe the space between your toes where they touch the nylon post. Over time they conform to the shape of your feet.
OluKai is also a certified B Corporation that meets high ethical and environmental standards and has been giving back to Hawaii, where the company was born in 2006, through its Ama OluKai Foundation, which helps preserve the state’s heritage, culture, and the environment through grants to various non-profits.
Vionic Tide II Post Sandal
The Vionic Tide II Post Sandals are good for your feet and look good on them too.
If you’re used to thin, flat flip-flops, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Vionic Tide II Post Sandal. They’re made with a footbed that supports your feet and cradles the arch in a design that’s been proven to alleviate heel pain. It even has a Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association. My wife, who owns these sandals, tells me she doesn’t experience any chaffing between her toes even after wearing them all day. The footbed is firm but cushiony and there’s a medium-density EVA midsole that’s good at minimizing shock when you walk, which helps reduce stress on your knees and ankles.
Vionic recommends slowly breaking these sandals if you’re not used to flip-flops with arch support. The outsoles are durable and provide good traction. The Tide IIs come in six colorways and are cute enough to dress up for a casual night out. These are the brand’s most popular styles and with good reason.
Crocs Crocband Flip-Flop
The Crocband has all the advantages of Crocs’ clogs—shock absorbing, comfortable, water and odor resistant—in a sleek flip-flop with a massaging footbed.
Crocs are known for its clogs, but the Colorado-based company also makes a lot of other footwear — including the Crocband Flip-Flops. They combine the brand’s signature comfort (chefs and school kids love them for a reason) and the breathability, lightness, and sleek look of a sandal.
The Crocband has a massaging footbed, a sporty look with a signature midsole racing stripe. It is made of a proprietary resin called Croslite (the same thing they use for the clogs) that has maximum cushioning, is odor and water-resistant, buoyant, quick-drying, and easy to clean. With a whopping 34 colorways, you should be able to find one that suits you. These only come in full sizes, and we recommend sizing up if you usually wear a half-size.
Reef Voyage Lux Sandals
Reef’s Voyage Lux flip-flops are beautifully crafted leather flip-flops that are tough enough for whatever outdoor activity you throw at them.
Reef, the California sandal and surf lifestyle company, always does a fantastic job of combining comfortable footwear that doesn’t require breaking them in with quality craftsmanship. The Voyage Lux men’s sandal is a good example. Unlike some flip-flops I’ve owned, these didn’t give me a blister between my toes and were comfortable from day one. After four years of hard seasonal use, mine are still going strong.
The leather footbed has gotten even softer and developed a nice patina (like an old baseball glove) while the foam midsole is still responsive and cushiony. These flip-flops have a leather upper with a soft molded footbed, an EVA midsole, and a rubber outsole with a thickly ridged sawtooth tread that keeps you steady in slippery conditions. Plus, Reef offers free shipping and returns.
Everlane ReNew Strappy Sandal
Everlane’s ReNew sandal combines the best of a flip-flop with a strappy sandal for an elevated look and a bit of extra support while walking.
Everlane is a go-to favorite for many reasons, including timeless style over fast fashion trends, relatively transparent sourcing, and a drive to be as sustainable as possible. Their ReNew Strappy Sandal gives you the best of a flip-flop and a strappy sandal. Unlike typical flip-flops, the thong strap extends fully around the ankle with a stretchy back strap that provides a bit of extra support when walking. The footbed is made of recycled polyester and has a cushioned insole, and the recycled rubber outsole will keep you from slipping poolside. These sandals are made in Vietnam. They don’t come in half-sizes so size up if you fall in between sizes.
Havaianas Unisex Top Flip-Flops
Havaianas has been making exceptional flip-flops since 1962 and still makes them out of natural rubber in Brazil.
Havaianas flip-flops have been a part of summer since 1962 when the Brazilian brand first launched the first mass-produced rubber flip-flop. The Top Flip-Flop is an iconic style still produced in Brazil. Because they’re made of natural rubber, they may feel a bit stiffer than foam versions when you first wear them but they’ll quickly become more pliable. The rubber should also keep from compressing over time, unlike foam. These sandals feature wide straps and a cushioned footbed with the brand’s signature textured rice pattern that harks back to these flip-flops origins as they were based on traditional Japanese zori sandals. They come in nine colors, including a bright orange that’s perfect for a summer holiday.
Hari Mari HM x Peter Millar Flip-Flops
The Hari Mari HM x Peter Millar Flip-Flops are made from water-resistant full-grain leather and feature firm arch support, memory foam in all the right places, and rubber bottoms with good gripping power on wet areas.
The Hari Mari HM x Peter Millar Flip-Flops are a limited-edition collaboration with North Carolina-based premium sportswear brand Peter Millar, which is known for its craftsmanship and casual elegance. These flip-flops are made from water-resistant, full-grain leather and feature firm arch support, memory foam in all the right places, and rubber bottoms with good gripping power on wet areas. You could consider these “dressy” flip-flops, as in they’d look great with a pair of chinos and a linen button-up shirt or a more casual camp shirt and Bermuda shorts.
They come in three colorways, but the chambray and cognac pair is especially good-looking with its woven linen chambray straps. Hari Mari flip-flops don’t come in half sizes, so size up if you’re between, per the company’s recommendation. You can also feel good about buying from this brand. Hari Mari donates one percent of its profits from every flip-flop sale to its “Flops Fighting Cancer” initiative that assists pediatric cancer patients.
Birkenstock Gizeh Patent
Think of the Birkenstock Gizeh Patent as minimalist upscale flip-flops that are good for your feet.
The German brand Birkenstock that’s been around since the 1700s has a well-deserved reputation for being super comfortable, thanks to the sandals’ contoured cork footbeds that conform to the wearer’s feet. While best known for its iconic two-strap sandal, the brand also makes a thong style. The footbeds are lined in soft suede with a springy EVA midsole sandwiched between the suede and the brand’s signature cork layer that offers arch support, a deep heel cup, and a wide toe box. The outsole is also made of EVA and is light but provides good cushioning.
Besides being able to slip into them on like traditional flip-flops, these sandals have buckle closures so you can adjust them for an individualized fit. The backside of the Birko-Flor is lined with soft, breathable fleece that’s gentle on the skin. Zappos offers three color choices, including a shiny bright red. Think of these as minimalist upscale flip-flops that are good for your feet.
Archies Arch-Support Flip-Flops
Archie’s one-piece design prevents the dreaded flip-flop blowout while the design promotes proper foot posture. All this and a decent price tag, too.
Australian footwear brand Archies, which was started by a physiotherapist, has a hugely loyal following thanks to its super comfy flip-flops that come at a reasonable price point of $35. These podiatrist-recommended sandals are made from special closed-cell foam that’s springy, soft, and molds to the feet. The high arch may take a little getting used to, but you’ll soon appreciate it. Unlike many flip-flops, Archies has a one-piece construction that prevents the dreaded blowout when the post pops out of the sole. They don’t come in half-sizes so the company recommends that if you have narrow feet to size down and wide feet to size up.
Freewater Treeline Sport
The Freewater Treeline Sport is a multifunctional sandal that can be worn like a flip-flop or a walking sandal.
The Treeline Sport takes the flip-flop in an outdoor direction with a multifunctional design that allows you to wear them as flip-flops or as hiking sandals, thanks to a removable ankle strap. There’s also a strap that goes across the top of the foot for added support. These sandals feature a ridged Therm-a-Rest material as the footbed. In the Treeline Sport, these ridges massage your feet and promote airflow and water drainage. The Vibram Eco Tread outsoles are made of 30% recycled content and are good at gripping the ground in wet conditions. Another benefit of buying these sandals is that one percent of Freewater’s net sales go to grassroots projects that provide clean drinking water in developing nations. Size up if you wear a half-size, according to Freewater.
J. Crew Easy Summer Flip-Flops
WIth a rainbow of colorways and a nice price, the J. Crew Easy Summer Flip-Flops will quickly become your sunny day staple.
Cute, simple but elegant, and priced right, J. Crew’s Easy Summer Flip-Flops pair with whatever you’re wearing, and can easily go from the beach to a casual night out. With eight colors, from metallic gold to brilliant cobalt (a bright blue) you may have trouble deciding which to get. The sole has good traction and the footbed is lightly padded and looks great with shorts, jeans, or a maxi dress. If you wear a half-size, get the next whole size up.
Oofos Ooriginal Sandal
Oofos Ooriginal Sandals are like walking on marshmallows and are made to aid your recovery after a brutal workout or a hard day at work.
The experience of wearing the Oofos Ooriginal Sandal has often been described as “like walking on marshmallows.” They’re soft and ultra-cushiony, thanks to a proprietary foam technology that absorbs 37% more impact than regular foam footwear material. These are billed as recovery sandals, meaning their main function is to relieve tired feet after strenuous activity like running or hiking. This is achieved through the patented footbed design that takes the pressure off the feet, knees, and lower back. They’re also machine washable, have a six-month warranty, and don’t require any break-in period. Oofos don’t come in half sizes so the company recommends sizing up for women and down for men.
The Astral Filipe takes you from poolside to mountainside with a removal ankle strap and super-grippy outsoles.
Astral, the North Carolina-based outdoor equipment company, offers a flip-flop that’s built for the outdoors, whether at the beach, on a hike, or cruising around the city. The uppers are made from cushioned synthetic leather and feature a soft, water-wicking knit liner and a cushy nylon webbing toe post. Below, there’s a springy EVA midsole and outstanding outsoles made from G Rubber, the company’s proprietary material, which is super grippy, non-marking, and abrasion-resistant The Filipe comes with removable ankle straps to take you from poolside to mountainside in a jiffy. If you wear a half-size, size up.
Hoka One One Ora Recovery Flip
Hoka One One is best known for its “maximalist” super-cushioned running shoes so it makes sense its Ora Recovery Flip also features tons of plush cushioning and design that encourages a smoother gait.
Hoka One One, the French athletic shoe company, is best known for its super-cushioned “maximal” running shoes that have excellent cushioning-to-weight ratios and promote stability. It should come as no surprise that the company’s Ora Recovery Flips also feature an extra thick cushioned midsole, a plush, textured EVA footbed, and a design that encourages a smoother gait. These also have a textile upper that helps wick moisture and an outsole that has great traction. The Ora Flips are extremely light at 4.5 oz per sandal. Like the Oofos, these are designed for post-workout or a hard day at work and help relieve tired feet while promoting recovery. Besides that, they offer them in basic black or two brighter hues: Luminary Green/Blue Tint or Cantaloupe/Fiesta, a pretty pinkish-orange.
Revs Lights Massage Flip Flops
Give yourself a massage while you walk with the Revs Lights Massage Flip Flops.
With its hundreds of massaging rubber nodules on the footbeds, the Revs Light flip-flops aren’t just for chilling poolside, these are meant to stimulate your pressure points for better circulation and to reduce fatigue, among other alleged health benefits. Designed by a Scottish reflexologist, these sandals are also designed to improve your posture and stance.
The footbed and straps are made of rubber and the outsole of shock-absorbing EVA. Many customers suggest easing into wearing them over time as they can feel unusual when you first put them on. They come in a bunch of fun colorways from metallic to two-tone blue and bright yellow. Since there are no half sizes, it’s recommended you size up.
Sole Catalina Sport Flip
The Sole Catalina Sport Flipis good for your feet and the environment that mold to the shape of your feet and includes a new type of sustainable foam made from algae rather than petroleum.
Sole made its name with its orthotic insoles but the Canadian company also makes a popular line of footwear, including the Catalina Sport Flip, a sandal with the same eco-friendly technology that goes into its insoles. The Catalina sandals mold to your feet after about a week of use for a customized wearing experience. They feature a sustainable Bloom Algae Foam footbed made from algae instead of petroleum, an EVA midsole, and arch support. The upper is made from a nicely padded, soft synthetic nubuck-like material. Plus, they’re water-friendly and have a grippy outsole. Size up if you typically wear a half size.
Flojos Olivia Vintage Sandal
Flojos Olivia Vintage Sandal is a versatile wedge flip-flop with a 70s feel but modern materials for a comfortable fit.
Flojos, which started life in Mexico in 1972, is a California sandal brand with a throwback beach vibe and decently priced footwear ranging from $20 to $60. The Olivia Vintage Sandal is a wedge flip-flop with a 70s feel that’s the brand’s most popular style. The 2 ½ inch heel is not too tall, not too short, but definitely gives you a bit of a lift while still being comfortable thanks to the cupped footbed design that cradles the feet and a springy EVA midsole, and a light sponge rubber outsole.
The burnished faux leather straps also give these wedges a vintage feel but they haven’t forgotten the comfort here either as the straps are lined with a soft fabric and the toe post is also softly reinforced. Dress them up with wide-leg pants and a poet’s blouse or down with denim shorts and a T. Per the brand, if you typically wear a half size and have narrow feet, go down to the next whole size. If you wear a half-size and have wide feet, size up.
Indosole Flip-Flops are eco-conscious with soles made from recycled tires. Beyond that, they come in a range of beautiful colorways, are well made, and very comfortable.
While not billed as unisex, Indosole’s flip-flops are gender-neutral except for the sizing. Let’s start with one of the major differences between this brand and others on the market. The company uses recycled tires in its products. Tire waste is a huge international environmental problem as they don’t easily decompose and are often burned in developing countries polluting the air, ground, and water.
Indosole, a certified B corporation, came up with a way to break the tires down and reconstitute them for use as sturdy outsoles. The rubber the company uses for the footbed is ethically sourced and the strap is from a custom-made material called ENVRO Fiber that comes from sustainably grown plants and recycled sources. Besides the environmental aspects of these flip-flops, these are well-made, waterproof, non-slip, come in a ton of beautiful colorways, and are very comfortable.