SHOES & BOOTS

Best Flip Flops: Finding What Fits Best

Flip Flops on the beach
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Flip flops are named after the sound they make when you wear them. They are very popular footwear especially for beach bums and people who live in warm climates. They are comfortable, keep the feet dry and are easy to care for. The best flip flops should meet your lifestyle needs.

However, most of us buy flip flops because they look good and feel comfortable enough after a few steps around the store. But the wrong choice can have serious health consequences.

man having foot pain

While flip flops keep your feet cool, they tend to have poor arch support, which can damage tissues in the feet and lead to inflammation and pain. To avoid this, you need to find flip flops that fit snugly and has good arch support.

Best Features Of Flip Flops

Although you may find a pair that looks good, style won’t mean a thing when they don’t fit you properly. There are some considerations to keep in mind when you’re looking for a pair of flip flops that will last you a long time.

Comfort

Comfort is one of the reasons why we buy flip flops. They are easy to wear and are easy on the feet. There’s a feeling of freedom when you’re wearing flip flops that you don’t feel when you’re wearing shoes. When looking for comfortable flip flops, take a look at the material of the footbed.

Cheap flip flops are usually made from plastic foam. Most people buy these footwear on impulse because they are super affordable. However, they do not have contour that can support the feet. Plastic foam also compresses faster and offers almost no protection from sharp objects.

flip flop stabbed with needle

Instead of cheap foam, look for flip flops made from EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) which has the ability to compress and provide resistance at the same time. Rubber is also a good and eco-friendly choice. Look for a flip flop footbed that is a combination of both materials. The footbed should also shave good arch support to help prevent foot-related injury.

Take a look at the strap too. It should be thick because thinner straps tend to break more easily. They are also more prone to stretching which can result in a less snug fit.

Durability

Flip flops are usually less durable than shoes, but this does not mean that you should settle for breakable footwear. The straps are perhaps the most vulnerable component of a flip flop. Good materials for the straps are nylon, nubuck, leather and nylon polyurethane combinations.

man wearing leather flipflop

Make sure that it is sewn through the toe hole and is not held on by a button or a catch-through. The sole should also be durable and comfortable at the same time. Old flip flops are usually in danger of forming a hole in the middle of the heel.

How long this takes depends on the material of the footbed. EVA and rubber are very durable and will last a long time depending on how often you wear them. Plastic foams usually wear out faster.

Versatility

The flip flop of your choice should be versatile enough to wear on the beach, house or casual attire. This way you can wear it for every day walking, lounging, short hikes or even while biking. It is best to consider your lifestyle before choosing a flip flop. The more active your lifestyle is, the more we recommend that you buy a high quality flip flop.

Find something that is built to last so that you can avoid dangerous situations (such as breaking straps) and, at the same time, is comfortable and stylish enough for calmer activities. Even for casual activities, it is best to avoid thin soles.

luxury leather flip flop

Not only does it have a tendency to wear out faster, it can also cause injury and could lack proper support. Soles should be at least ½ inch thick and made from a layering of different materials. For extra versatility, find a flip flop that has good traction so that you can wear them everyday doing different activities.

Style

What makes a flip flop stylish? When it comes to this characteristic, it’s more of a personal choice. The right flip flop for you should not only meet the above mentioned qualities but should also be stylishly designed to suit your tastes. Remember not only will you be wearing it, you will seen with it too.

Reasons To Wear Flip Flops

Flip flops can be worn for many different activities. Aside from serving as everyday footwear, they can accompany you when you’re making a quick run to the coffee shop, walking along a trail, rowing a canoe on a lake, or conquering an exotic slope.

flip flop on water

These activities are just some reasons why you should consider flip flops because they provide comfort. Here are the best reasons to wear flip flops whenever possible:

  1. Smell: Say good-bye to foot odor when you switch to flip flops. Odor is usually the result of bacteria reacting with the sweat produced by your feet. When it gets too hot, your feet produce sweat which mixes with the bacteria on your skin and on your shoe. Flip flops, however, are open and very well ventilated, so your feet are always cool and dry.
  2. Infections: Infections are the result of fungi which tend to thrive in damp and dark conditions. It can lead to itching and even athlete’s foot which is contagious, which can spread to your toenails, hands and nails. The risk of skin or foot infections is smaller when wearing flip flops because your feet stay dry.
  3. Eco-Minded: When you buy flip flops made of rubber or recycled materials, you are contributing to a cleaner Earth. Aside from rubber which is made from natural materials, there are also flip flops made from cork.
  4. Kids Love Them: Kids love flip flops because there are no laces to do and they slip on and off immediately. For parents they are easy to maintain and keep clean. Plus, you don’t have to wrestle your kids in them because they are so easy to put on.
  5. Workouts Possible: Did you know that it is possible to work out in your flip flops? Aside from pairing them with your yoga pants and then walking to the studio wearing them, there are flip flop styles that can be used for brisk walking. Not only will it keep your feet dry by preventing sweat, they are also very comfortable.

Best Flip Flops For Men Reviews

The sheer number, design, brands, material and shapes make it hard for consumers to choose flip flops. Lucky for us, there are many flip flop fans and are willing to share their reviews of some of the best flip flops available in the market today.

Olukai ‘Ohana Sandal

Olukai Ohana

Price: $41.79 – $349.00

Specific features: Water-resistant straps, anatomical ICEVA drop-in footbed, compression-molded EVA midsole, non-marking rubber outsoles with coral reef design, soft nylon toe post webbing

Best use: Casual wear

For men who want arch support with a comfortable footbed and great looks, the Olukai ‘Ohana Sandal is a great choice. The sole material is made from EVA and gum rubber while the strap has soft nylon toe post webbing. The secret to the comfort of this flip flop comes from the anatomically-compressed midsole with IVECA drop-in footbed for a more personalized fit.

Aside from its great support and comfort, the Ohana also has good traction thanks to the non marking sole with reef design. This flip flop is a bit on the expensive side but it is worth the price thanks to its durability and versatility. You can easily wear this flip flop to non formal outdoor events, while lounging at home or walking down the boulevard for a stroll.

Check the price on Amazon

Freewaters SCAMP Flip Flop

Freewaters Men's SCAMP Flip Flop

Price: $20.99 – $130.67

Specific features: Therm-A-Rest contoured footbed, water friendly hydro-leather strap, cushion and grip footbed, made from vegan materials

Best use: Casual wear, backpacking

The Freewaters SCAMP Flip Flop is one of the most comfortable and versatile flip flops in the market. The sole material is made from sponge rubber, the strap has nylon webbing but most unique of all is the ultra-comfortable Therm-a-Rest foam footbed. Backpackers and outdoors people love this flip flop because of the footbed.

It provides a good balance of squishy comfort but is not too soft.  The more you wear this flip flop, the more the foam molds into your foot shape. The Scamp also offers good value considering its durability and price. While you can’t hike 3 miles in these flip flops, you can definitely take short walks in them. They are also great for the beach and general excursions.

Check the price on Amazon

Reef Fanning Sandal

Reef Men's Fanning Speed Logo Sandal

Price: $29.30 – $103.95

Specific features: Rubber soles, 1-inch heels, air-cushion heel and concealed bottle opener on outsole, EVA midsoles

Best use: Hiking, beach wear

The Reef Fanning is a good versatile flip flop that is comfortable and offers great value. It also has a bottle opener that is great for spontaneous drinkers. The sole is made from CMEVA, polyurethane while the strap features water-resistant nubuck leather. For good heel support, the footbed has an airbag heel made from EVA material.

This flip flop has good support and great traction. The footbed is soft and conforms to the shape of your foot as you wear it. It is thick so it can cushion your foot well during jarring activities. The Compression Molded Ethylene Vinyl Acetate material (CMEVA) sole makes this fit flop very durable.

However, it does give the flip flop a plastic-y feel which takes away some of the comfort. The toe straps which is usually the first component to fail in this type of foot wear is also surprisingly durable because it is thick and well integrated into the footwear. Over all, this flip flop has good value and durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Teva Mush II Flip-Flop

Teva Men's Mush II Flip-Flop

Price: $10.98 – $34.95

Specific features: Dual-density EVA midsole, beach-ready sandal featuring fabric thong strap with logo tag, grippy traction outsole,

Best use: Basic use, casual wear for beach, boardwalk and the park

Made from EVA sole, Durapontex rubber/foam compound footbed and nylon straps, the Teva Men’s Mush II Flip Flop will give you that “aaahhhh” feeling when you put it on. This is thanks to the extra comfy rubber/foam footbed that molds into the shape of your feet over time. The inch-wide straps will give your feet security and hug your feet.

Considering its price, this flip flop will give you value for money thanks to its comfort and durability. The Teva Mush II has thicker soles that give the user more stable soles. Teva also designed the Mush II to have extra rubber under the arch to provide support. You will be impressed by the amount of support and stability this flip flop provides considering its price.

The Durapontex rubber/foam compound footbed material used by Teva is so comfortable you won’t experience chaffing or discomfort even on the toe post. Given the inexpensive price of this flip flop, many users are amazed with the traction with its grippy sole. The Mush II is comfortable, affordable with straps that feature different patterns for variety.

Check the price on Amazon

Reef Phantoms Flip Flop

Reef Men's Phantom Speed Logo Sandal.jpg

Price: $16.14 – $74.99

Specific features: Contoured EVA footbed with arch support, grippy high-density EVA outsole

Best use: Walking, casual wear

Inexpensive, good quality with great comfort and fit, stable, durable and provides good traction. These are just some of the best characteristics of the Reef Phantoms Flip Flop. It has snug fit with very comfortable footbed so it feels that you’ve been wearing it for a few months even during the first time.

The Phantoms also has good stability and durability. As with any flip flop from Reef, this one is very well made with thick straps and solid material for the sole and footbed. While it does not offer the best traction, it does look good and performs well enough for day to day light activities.

Overall, the Phantoms receive good score for value. This flip flop is highly recommended for people who want a flip flop for general use or want something versatile and stylish.

Check the price on Amazon

Rainbow Premier Leather Single Layer Sandals

premier flip flop

Price: $38.49 – $66.99

Specific features: Single layer with arch support, wide thong, rubber sole

Best use: Beach, casual wear, dates, the urban fashionista

The Rainbow Premier Leather Single Layer Sandals are some of the well-loved in the industry thanks to Rainbow’s promise that “the sandals will forever be under warranty until you have worn through anywhere on the top or bottom layer of the sole.” A typical pair of Rainbows can last a minimum of 5 years.

Consumers should also note that this Rainbow flip flop is a flat flip flop despite the description of “single layer premier leather with arch support”. The sole sports a non-slip rainbow button while the toe piece is nylon. The footbed on the other hand is premier nubuck leather. According to the New York fashion scene, this is one of the best flip flops out there.

Despite the high fashion statements, this pair of flip flops is not the most comfortable in the market especially if you just bought them. Prepare to feel stiff and to have blisters the first few weeks you wear them. It will get better after you’ve broken them in, but it’s still not the most comfortable out there.

But despite this, Rainbow feels stable and snug. It is well engineered and very durable, living up to the Rainbow name. However, it is not meant for outdoors use like hiking or mountaineering. This flip flop is all about looking good and staying on the pavement.

Check the price on Amazon

Sanuk Yogi 3 Flip Flop

sanuk flip flop

Price: $10.38 – $33.99

Special features: 100% textured woven strap, rubber sole, Happy U outsole, casual flip-flop with checkerboard woven strap and yoga-mat footbed

Best use: Casual wear, relaxing

The Sanuk’s Yogi 3 Flip Flop is a great buy and is highly recommended for people looking for a simple everyday flip flop. But despite its simplicity, it is very durable, comfortable and lightweight. The squishy soles mold to the shape of your feet, the straps are wide and made from synthetic leather for a bit of style and the footbed is made from yoga mats.

The downside to the Yogi is the lack of arch support so prolonged use is out of the question. It also absorbs water when it gets wet just like a yoga mat. They aren’t slippery but the wet feeling can be uncomfortable.

Check the price on Amazon

Landfill Dzine Recycled Flip Flops

Landfill Dzine Recycled Mens Flip Flops Blue 14

Price: $19.97

Specific features: Straps made from upcycled irrigation hoses, recycled PVC sole, waterproof

Best use: Beach wear

If you want to help clean the Earth, you can do this with the Landfill Dzine Recycled Flip Flops. Made from upcycled materials, its straps are from irrigation hoses that have fed millions of people. This flip flop wants your feet to stay cool and dry all the time. They are comfortable enough for everyday wear and while running errands.

The recycled PVC sole might feel stiff the first time but will feel more comfortable once they’ve been broken in. It won’t give you much traction, but it will give you the stability you need. The straps have cotton backing so they dry easily when wet.

Check the price on Amazon

Final Verdict

The best flip flop for you is out there. Just remember to find something that you can use for different activities to match your lifestyle. Try to find something that offers good value, great style and durability.

plastic foam flip flops

While you might be tempted to buy a cheap pair of flip flops, it would be better to take your time and buy one that can stand a bit of wear and tear without compromising comfort.

Please feel free to leave a comment below with any stories or suggestions you’d like to share with us.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Dan Roberts

    Sanuk’s Yogi 3 is my favorite. I bought a pair a couple of months ago and so far, it is excellent. The best thing about it is its support. I have arthritis in my knees and this really helps. A friend of mine recommend this and I do not regret buying it.

    • Daniel Carraway

      That’s great!

  • Jerry Mueller

    We agree about the arch support!

  • Daniel Carraway

    Great choice, Ernest. The Sanuk Men’s Yogi 3 Flip-Flops are top-quality for balancing your relaxing moments. You should also check out the Olukai Ohana Sandals, they offer an exceptional casual wear.

  • Daniel Carraway

    The Freewaters men’s Scamp Flip-flops sandals are the ideal choice for wet environments because they are water-friendly. The vegan construction is quite unique.

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