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- Flip flops are the unofficial footwear of summertime. You can wear them to the beach, a backyard barbecue, or anywhere that calls for casual attire.
- But this type of open-toe sandal has a reputation for being plasticky, flimsy, and uncomfortable.
- Sanuk's flip flops for men and women are soft as a cloud and made of cushy yoga mat material.
You know the person who shows up for a beach day in leather sandals with like eight buckles and makes everyone wait around for 20 minutes at the edge of the boardwalk while they take them off? Yeah, that person is me.
I never have the right footwear for the beach, because I've never found a pair of flip flops I really love, and flip flops are really the only appropriate footwear for the beach. Some people live in them from June through September, and I think they are onto something. Flip flops are so versatile — you literally don't have to think about them. Depending on the material, you might not even need to worry about sudden summer rainstorms while wearing them.
When most of us think of flip flops, we think of slim, inconsequential shoes with no real arch support that we mainly buy because they are cheap and simple. But these days there are plenty of comfortable options appropriate for more than just lounging poolside. Maybe you won't wear them to the office (or maybe you do, if you're lucky to work in an ultra-low-key office), but these picks are suitable for exercising, outdoor showers, and even lunch with friends on a hot day.
Here are the best flip flops:
- Best women's flip flops overall: Sanuk Women's Sling Flip Flops
- Best men's flip flops overall: Sanuk Men's Beer Cozy Flip Flops
- Best women's leather flip flops: Rainbows Women's Flip Flops
- Best men's leather flip flops: Rainbows Men's Flip Flops
- Best colorful women's flip flops: Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flops
- Best colorful men's flip flops: Havaianas Men's Top Flip Flops
- Best nude flip flops: Tkees Foundation Flip Flops
- Best nonslip flip flops: Hari Mari Flip Flops
- Best affordable men's flip flops: Old Navy Classic Flip Flops for Men
- Best affordable women's flip flops: Old Navy Classic Flip Flops for Women
- Best flip flops with arch support: Keen Kona Flip
- Best comfortable flip flops: Oofos Sandals
The best flip flops overall
When you do yoga, there's a moment when you press your hands into the mat during downward dog or sink into child's pose, and the world melts away. That sense of relief and comfort is in large part due to the mat itself. Yoga mats, though relatively thin, make you feel cushioned and supported even on top of a hardwood floor. Sanuk makes flip flops that mimic that experience.
The footbeds are made of actual yoga mat material. It's a cool, unique concept that translates well to real-life comfort. The brand's most popular style for women is the Yoga Sling 2, which has a stylish wrap-around silhouette that is clearly yoga-inspired and makes these art-gallery-owner-chic. While not a true flip flop due to a piece of fabric that secures around the ankle, it still gives you that thong sandal look.
In men's sizing, there is the cleverly named Beer Cozy Flip Flop. This is more of a traditional flip flop with thick straps, Sanuk's signature yoga mat footbed, and a curve for additional arch support.
The best leather flip flops
If you're looking for a flip flop that's comfortable enough to walk around in for hours, you need to get a pair of Rainbows. Rainbow has been making leather sandals for the whole family for over 40 years with the intention of creating the world's best sandal.
While different styles have evolved over the years, all pairs are made to look and feel great on your feet and not wear out over time. Rainbows are my favorite sandals by far — they're extremely comfortable and supportive for a pair of flip flops. There's a nonslip rubber sole, sturdy leather top, and a sponge rubber midsole. Essentially, what this does is create a fit that molds to your feet over time.
Rainbows come in single-layer and double-layer options. This refers to the layers in the midsole, so the double-layer offers more arch support. Even so, the single-layer sandals are much more supportive than your typical rubber flip flops.
The leather makes these sandals feel more appropriate for wearing out and about. I wear my Rainbows with just about everything: jeans, dresses, bathing suits. My only recommendation is to be careful with these around water. If you do get them wet, they take a long time to dry, and it could eventually ruin the sandals. — Remi Rosmarin
The best colorful flip flops
Havaianas are the ideal beach sandal — durable, colorful, and able to withstand rough conditions. Even if they get a little scraped-up and windswept, they'll still look cool after the fact.
The sandals come in a wide variety of color and style combinations. The most iconic styles — the ones you think of first when you hear the brand name — are probably the Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flop and the Men's Top Flip Flop.
There are a few different iterations of the sandals for men and women. They both have a slightly curved footbed, though some have slim rubber straps while others have thicker straps, and some are stamped with the Havaianas logo.
Havaianas have been my go-to flip flops for years. They're simple, but comfortable enough to walk in for hours and look good with pretty much everything. Because they are plastic, they can snap over time, but I've only had this happen to two of the 10 pairs that I've owned. I'll probably always keep a pair of Havaianas in my wardrobe. — Erin Mayer and Remi Rosmarin
The best nude flip flops
Flip flops are usually reserved for walking along the beach or even wearing in the shower at the gym, but Tkees takes the shoe style to the next level. Tkees makes simple, elegant sandals and flip flops for both adults and kids.
Tkees are made with leather (some with vegan leather) which gives them a more sophisticated feel than plastic options. The sandals are thin, but have a rubber sole for extra support. Each pair has a soft, cushioned footbed for added comfort. They're the perfect shoe for when you need something to throw on, but want something that looks better than a rubber flip flop. One of the best parts about Tkees is the inclusive range of nude shades. The Foundation flip flops come in a range of neutrals to match a variety of skin types.
Generally, they're very comfortable, but I don't recommend them for city exploring. Because they're so thin, I think they're best for the beach, pool, or anywhere else where you don't mind if your feet get a little dirty. Additionally, the thin leather straps can get a little uncomfortable if you're walking for a long period of time. But, by the same token, they're very durable because of this construction.
The style and durability of these shoes make them feel worth the price. If you're looking for an elevated pair, they're a great option. — Remi Rosmarin
The best nonslip flip flops
I don't have the kind of life that requires me to own "boat-safe" shoes, but Hari Mari makes me wish I did. "Boat safe" in this case essentially means nonslip, so they're suitable for just about any slick terrain. These are flip flops for everyone, even people who don't normally wear flip flops. They're cute and sporty, but more attractive than your average pair.
What really makes Hari Mari flip flops unique is the memory foam toe, designed to minimize the awful chafing you get from other thong sandals. It's described by the brand as "a formidable cylinder of memory foam encased in soft nylon to help grip toes, reduce abrasion and do away with painful break-in periods."
Insider Reviews reporter Amir Ismael recommends the Fields Flip Flop for its "day-long comfort" and arch support. At $60, it's on the pricier side, but many of the styles have 5-star ratings on Zappos and cost less than $40.
The best affordable flip flops
If you've never owned a pair of Old Navy flip flops, we probably didn't go to high school together. I strongly associate their simple designs and rainbow colors with days spent at the public pool or the mall with my friends.
The signature thing about Old Navy flip flops is that they are cheap — not affordable or inexpensive, but cheap. Most pairs are normally $3.99 when not on sale, but they are seemingly always discounted. If you like the look of Havaianas but don't want to spend a lot of money (especially if they may become sand-logged), check out the Old Navy Classic Flip Flops.
They come in men's and women's sizes that look the same aside from minor adjustments to accommodate different foot shapes. Old Navy offers the Classic style in tons of colors, including some fun pastels.
Of course, being so cheap, you sacrifice some quality and comfort. Don't be surprised if you have to replace one each year. But, Insider Reviews Guides Editor Les Shu wears the Old Navy Classic Flips Flops to the gym showers regularly, and finds that they hold up nicely. He does recommend replacing them often if you use them for the gym, to prevent bacteria buildup.
The best flip flops with arch support
The Keen Kona Flip is a rugged option that can tackle tough environments.
The Kona Flip has a thin profile that makes it easy to pack, yet the compression-molded footbed provides comfort. It has good weight balance: light enough that it doesn't hold you down, yet heavy enough to help you walk competently on sand, water, muddy trails, rocks, pavement, or wherever your adventure takes you.
I wear the Kona Flip because it's the flip flop that changed my view on flip flops. I used to think all flip flops were cheap sandals that aren't designed as footwear and hated wearing them on sand. But since having worn my pair on a variety of surfaces, I find it to be very sturdy, easy to wear, and, in my opinion, stylish. I also find it fits my feet almost perfectly, like a glove (if feet could wear gloves, that is). And, I've never lost mine while walking on the beach.
The Kona Flip is available for men and women, and the styles are fairly identical. Most customers found it fits true to size and width and offers moderate arch support. Despite the high marks, some complained that it didn't fit right; some of these customers seem to be loyal Keen fans. Considering the high price, you should try one on before buying or purchase from an online retailer with a good return policy; few dissatisfied customers gave kudos to Zappos' customer service. — Les Shu
The best flip flops for all-day comfort
Oofos reinvented the flip flop to make the most comfortable sandals we've tried. The special foam is built to absorb even more shock than your average sports shoe.
Oofos specifically markets these sandals as recovery shoes for people who need more arch support and impact absorption than others. Many athletes and people with feet problems swear by them.
They are formed to fit the curve of your arch, so Oofos' sandals offer much more support than your average pair of flip flops. They absorb impact and they don't move up and down as you walk, either.
I've bought Oofos for a few different family members and they're all converts. Even though the sandals are a bit pricey, they are worth it because they will last and last. You can even machine wash or hose them down after a day on the beach to get rid of all the sand they pick up.
They may not be the most beautiful sandals you'll own, but they sure will be the most comfortable. — Malarie Gokey
Check out our other great footwear guides
The best flats for comfort and style
When it comes to flats, comfort is key. We love the Everlane Day Glove because it's a simple shoe that looks good with just about everything. The blend of comfort, style, and versatility makes it our top pick.
The best women's slippers
There's nothing better than sliding out of your heels and slipping on a cozy pair of slippers after a long day. The L.L. Bean Wicked Good Moccasins are lined with plush shearling, made with durable suede, and keep your feet super warm, making them one of our favorite pairs.
The best ankle boots
Ankle boots are a cold-weather staple. They can be dressed up or down and worn for just about any occasion. The Downtown Boot from Thursday Boot Company has a comfortable fit, chic weather-resistant design, and is relatively affordable, making it our top pick.
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