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Flip-flops, sandals, slippers, thongs — whatever you call them, there are a lot of options out there. Whether you’re looking for cute sandals with arch support or something good and cheap, or if you want to know if your favorite brand made the list, here are 10 shoes to tread in this summer and all year long.
As a native of southern California and its hot seasons, I’ve had a lifelong relationship with flip-flops. Add to that the development of bunions at a young age (mine are genetic and bunions hate flip-flops) and I’m uniquely positioned as a shopper myself.
Leading with first-hand experience from over the years, I cross-referenced hundreds of user reviews, clinical research of orthotics, and recommendations from professionals, like the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), which has Seal of Acceptance and Seal of Approval programs focused on foot health and consumer goods like shoes.
Considerations also included:
- value for the price
- brand reputation
- unisex styles in men’s and women’s sizes (this means more options)
Rainbow Single Layer Classic Leather Sandals with Arch Support
Rainbow is a tried-and-true brand known for their classic leather flip-flop and guarantee for the life of the shoe, as long as you haven’t worn a hole through the sole. The company has been producing flip-flops since the 1980s.
While Rainbow’s Single Layer Classic Leather Sandals aren’t the cheapest flip-flops out there (or on this list), they’re a great value for the durability and customer-friendly policies.
Old Navy Classic Flip-Flops
The Old Navy Classic Flip-Flops have become such a staple that you can even order some of them in bulk — a popular choice for gift bags and groups.
Their all-vinyl construction makes them durable, waterproof, and easy to wash. This makes them good for lounging around water and even as shower shoes when you need them.
Old Navy Classic Flip-Flops are available online and in stores in men’s, women’s, and kid’s sizes.
Teva Mush II
Teva’s Mush II flip-flops have a cushy 1-inch platform sole and a fabric foot strap that’s made from recycled polyester. This means that the sandals will conform to your foot shape over time.
Repeat buyers rave about how comfortable they are to walk in.
Building off of the classic, contoured cork footbed that Birkenstock is known for, Gizeh is a line of thong sandals. The T-shaped foot strap offers a supportive upper half, taking the pressure off bunion hot spots.
The flip-flop style sandals come in leather in neutral shades and finishes. The cork is combined with an EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) outsole for traction.
The Birkenstock Gizeh sandals are available in men’s and women’s sizes.
Editor’s pick: Crocs Serena Flips
These are my favorite pick, because they allow me to comfortably wear more traditional flip-flops.
They’re very lightweight and the Y-style foot strap that circles the ankle lets the weight and movement of the shoe rest on top of the foot rather than along the big toe joint. Stress on this joint, which classic flip-flops rely on, can flare bunions, leading to aching feet and bunion growth.
Vionic Tide Toe Post Sandals
The women’s Tide Toe Post Sandals, which the men’s sandals are based on, earned the APMA Seal of Acceptance for their support of foot health.
Customers rave about the arch support these sandals offer and how comfortable they are.
Vionic recommends wearing them for only a few hours at a time on the first days to get used to the orthotics of the shoe.
Teva Original Universal
The straps and platforms of these sandals come in all sorts of colors. They’re a funky alternative to flip-flops. And they’re just as practical.
These Teva Originals are also available in heights called Midform (1.25 inches) and Flatform (1.75 inches).
Teva Original Universal sandals are in women’s, men’s, and children’s shoe sizes.
Reef is another classic brand when it comes to beachwear. The novelty of the Fanning sandals with a built-in bottle opener has lasted long enough to make them an iconic part of Reef’s flip-flop lineup.
Chaco Z/2 Sandals
Chaco is known for adjustable, rugged, walking sandals. The Z/2 sandals are Chaco’s highest rated bestsellers.
The off-the-shelf Z/2 sandals are available in patterns and colors that change seasonally. You can customize the color of basically every strap segment and the lower and upper layers of the sole, so your shoes are never mistaken as someone else’s.
Adilette Comfort Sandals
These slides are made for lounging. The classic style features a fabric lining under the band for added comfort. The foot band comes in different fabrics and materials.
Of course, the best thing to do when it comes to flip-flops is the same as with any other shoe: Try them on, and walk around.
Here are things to keep in mind if you’re shopping online or otherwise want to narrow things down:
- Durability. Do you need the shoes to last for a weekend, a season, through lots of walking?
- Materials. Materials can be a functional and personal preference. Most shopping sites and brands make it easy to know the materials in each layer of the sandals.
- Weight versus stability. A classic flip-flop hangs onto your foot by three small points and literally “flops” against your heel as you walk. How much a shoe weighs can make a difference in how it makes your foot feel after a day of walking or standing.
- Price. The value is based on your budget and the features you need for as long as you need them.
- Use. Do you need them to have traction, resist water, or pack away easily? Think about where and when you’ll be wearing them.
Whether you’re just looking for a pair of flip-flops that look nice or you’re considering your foot health, comfort and wearability are important. In the end, this is what makes any pair of shoes a good value.
Candice Abellon is a writer and editor based in California, with a background in education, wellness, and travel writing. When she’s not at her computer, you can find her orchestrating camping trips, making up recipes, and dreaming of feasts.