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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)
Flip-flops range in price, depending on the materials used and brand recognition. The flip-flops on this list range from $4 to more than $100 per pair.
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$100
- $$$ = over $100
We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how products are sold on retail sites, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to one or the other. Choose the product with the fit, style, and features that work best for you.
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.
Rainbow Classic Sandals at a glance
- curved footbed for arch support
- mold to feet for personal fit
- backed by good company reputation and customer service
- take time to break in
- not vegan-friendly
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.
Old Navy Classic Flip-Flops at a glance
- available in many colors and prints that change seasonally
- very affordable
- easy to clean
- wide range of sizes for adults and kids
- only available in whole sizes
- flat footbed without arch support
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.
Teva Mush II sandals at a glance
- foot strap comes in different colors and patterns
- woven fabric foot strap allows for stretch and give
- available in whole and half sizes
- Sponge-like footbed can take on water if walking through water
- Mush II model may run narrower than Original Mush
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.
Birkenstock Gizeh sandals at a glance
- fit and adjustable buckle works well for regular and wide widths
- available in men’s and women’s sizes
- not vegan-friendly
- price tag makes them more of an investment than other sandals
- more ridged footbed than traditional flip-flops
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.
Crocs Serena Flips at a glance
- only marketed in women’s whole sizes
- leaving them in hot temperatures can cause them to shrink
- surface is slippery when wet, causing your foot to slide around on top of the shoe
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.
Vionic Tide Toe Post sandals at a glance
- popular with people who experience plantar fasciitis
- APMA Seal of Acceptance
- available in different colors, patterns, and in men’s and women’s sizes
- have a break-in period
- foot strap may rub the top of the foot too much
- avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures
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.
Teva Original Universal sandals at a glance
- made with recycled plastic and polyester through the Repreve program
- variety of color and height combinations
- good for walking or all-day wear
- only available in whole sizes
- water-resistant with quick-drying straps
- not much traction
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.
Reef Fanning flip-flops at a gance
- built-in bottle opener
- arch support
- cushioned heel
- good for use around water
- men’s styles come in more colors than women’s
- some customers say the sizing changed, and the sandals aren’t as long as before
- potentially slow customer service response
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.
Chaco Z/2 Sandals at a glance
- strappy design for all-over foot support
- water-repellant materials
- customizable strap colors and patterns for personal style
- available in medium and wide widths
- only available in full sizes
- customized versions take longer to produce
- customized versions cost more
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.
Adidas Adilette Comfort Sandals at a glance
- available in lots of colors
- waterproof sole
- best for laid-back activities
- come in whole sizes only
- some people find stitched edges too rigid for comfort
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.