Every summer, it’s the same old story: you pack your bags for a week of fun in the sun. If you’re heading to Florida, there is no doubt that you’ll need to pack a good pair of flip-flops. As far as footwear goes, flip-flops are the summer staple, perfect for when you’re hitting the beach, lounging in your resort, or running around Disney World. That’s because they’re lightweight, breathable, and (for the most part) waterproof.
But with so many different kinds of flip-flops out there, it can be challenging to find the right pair for you. Here, we walk you through 11 recommendations for some of the best flip-flops on the market. Plus, you can also find tips on choosing the right pair of flip-flops for you down below.
Note: Although we’ve described some items as “for men” or “for women”, bear in mind that all the flip-flops listed here can be worn by anyone, regardless of gender. We’ve only listed the items in gendered terms based on their popularity among certain buyer demographics and for easy shopping.
The Best Flip-Flops For 2021
- Most Stylish Men’s Flip-Flops: Havaianas Brazil Logo Flip-Flops
- Men’s Flip-Flops with the Best Traction: REEF Fanning Flip-Flops
- Best Beach Flip-Flops For Men: Crocs Crocband
- Men’s Flip-Flops With Best Foot Support: Vionic Tide Toe Post Flip-Flops
- Most Comfortable Flip-Flops For Men: Oofos Recovery
- Best Women’s Flip Flop For Everyday Use: FitFlop Lulu Toe Post Flip Flop Sandals
- Trendiest Flip-Flops For Women: Steve Madden Carlene Sandal
- Best Leather Flip-Flops for Women: Hari Mari Fields Puebla Flip-Flops
- Best Women’s Flip Flop For Foot Pain: Hoka One One Ora Recovery Flip Flop
- Women’s Flip-Flops With The Best Customer Ratings: OluKai Ohana Flip-Flops
- Best All-Around Women’s Flip-Flops: Birkenstock Gizeh
Most Stylish Men’s Flip-Flops: Havaianas Brazil Logo Flip-Flops
Havaianas is a Brazilian brand that has been around since 1962. Their flip-flops have a very simple silhouette, as the brand patterned their flip-flops on the traditional Japanese zori sandals. Made with a natural rubber sole, Havaianas slippers tend to feel stiff at first, but eventually soften up as you break them in.
And while Havaianas slippers don’t quite provide as much arch support as the others on this list, they do come with a soft, cushioned footbed that has a textured “rice” pattern for traction.
As mentioned, Havaianas flip-flops come in a wide range of colorways and prints. But for us, nothing beats the Brazil logo pair. It’s simple but has little touches that make it unmistakable, from the tiny Brazil flag on the thong strap to three stripes on the midsole representing the flag’s colors.
- Variety of color options and prints
- Simple silhouette goes with anything
- Relatively inexpensive
Men’s Flip-Flops with the Best Traction: REEF Fanning Flip-Flops
Let’s face it. As comfortable as flip-flops and sandals are, they don’t always provide the best traction, especially on uneven surfaces. But with integrated straps and a grippy outsole, REEF’s Fanning flip-flops solve this problem easily.
Traction aside, this pair also offers ample arch support and comes with a 360-degree heel airbag made of polyurethane. This gives a shock-absorbing effect, making it easy to forget you’re even walking over tough surfaces.
But that’s not even the icing on the cake. This is one of the few men’s flip-flops on the market that comes with a hidden bottle opener in the outsole. So no matter where your feet take you, you can always crack open a cold one.
- Integrated straps and grippy outsole provide a lot of traction over all sorts of surfaces
- Shock-absorbing 360-degree heel airbag
- Innovative bottle opener embedded in the outsole
Best Beach Flip-Flops For Men: Crocs Crocband
Lightweight, buoyant, and quick-drying, Crocs’ Crocband are the perfect beach shoes. They’ll never get lost in the water, and they won’t leave you squelching about long after you’ve left the pool. But with its incredible massaging footbed, you might not ever want to get these slippers off your feet!
And just like Crocs clogs, the Crocband comes in a range of colorways! So if you’re picky about colors, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding one that works for you. Crocs Crocband flip-flops are available for men and women.
- Dries quickly to keep your feet dry and comfortable
- Massaging footbed makes long walks more bearable
- 32 color options to choose from
Men’s Flip-Flops With Best Foot Support: Vionic Tide Toe Post Flip-Flops
Vionic is a shoe company that was established in 1979 by podiatrist Phillip Vasyli, who was an expert in the field of biomechanics. As such, Vionic is more than just a brand that can boast the APMA seal of approval! Each slipper is expertly designed to be good for your feet.
Vionic’s Tide Toe Post Sandal comes with “soft nylon webbing and a biomechanically-designed footbed” that is capable of hugging your arches and supporting your feet 24/7 with no pain or discomfort. Its midsole, on the other hand, is made with flexible medium-density EVA that can absorb shock and help to avoid ankle, foot, and knee strain. As far as comfortable flip-flops for men go, the Vionic Tide has few competitors.
Heel and arch support aside, Vionic Tide’s flip flop comes in a great understated style that fits well with more laid-back folks.
- Footbed provides ample arch and heel support to reduce pain and swelling
- APMA-approved and designed by biomechanics
- Stylish and understated design
Most Comfortable Flip-Flops For Men: Oofos Recovery
Most people who try Oofos sandals for the first time will tell you that it’s like “walking on marshmallows”. The brand uses a proprietary foam technology that allows the shoe to absorb 37 percent more impact than the usual foam flip flop. As a result, you get a super soft, super cushiony walking experience like no other.
As such, it makes sense for Oofos to market their sandals as a recovery shoe. After a long day on your feet – whether that means working as a chef in a busy kitchen, hiking for hours in rocky terrain, or training hard for a track meet – you can look forward to walking, or should we say practically floating, home on your Oofos sandals.
And remember what we said about the right footwear affecting not just your feet but your legs, hips, and spine too? Oofos are specifically designed to relieve pressure from your feet and your knees and lower back as well.
- Proprietary foam technology absorbs 37 percent more impact than other foam flip-flops
- Designed to relieve pressure from your feet, legs, and back
- Footbed supports arches to relieve energy exertion and make walking easier
Best Women’s Flip Flop For Everyday Use: FitFlop Lulu Toe Post Flip Flop Sandals
FitFlop is a flip flop and sandal brand designed to provide the evenest bodyweight distribution possible. The company isn’t very forthcoming about the exact benefits of the shoes’ design, but many a customer has claimed that the infamous flip-flops have contributed to toning their legs, hips, and butts.
Whether or not that’s true, there is still much to love about FitFlop, especially if you plan on using them for running errands. Each pair is created with a shock-absorbing heel, which according to doctors can help lessen the risk of overpronation, or when one’s foot continues to roll in instead of pushing off. They also sport a “microwobbleboard technology”, which offers something like a tiny massage for your feet.
- Can help tone your legs, butt, and hips as you walk
- Shock-absorbing heel reduces the risk of overpronation
- Elasticated top line provides a snug fit and reduces chafing
Trendiest Flip-Flops For Women: Steve Madden Carlene Sandal
L’Officiel called it – flip-flops are the “summer sandal of choice” in 2021, and all the celebs are rocking chunky designer thongs, be it the Tory Burch printed cutout wedge or the Stella McCartney Air flip-flops.
If you’re looking to join in on the trend but aren’t willing to cough up hundreds of dollars for a pair of flip-flops, we’ve got the next best thing.
Steve Madden’s Carlene Sandal is a platform thong that is reminiscent of the 90s era pop star look (think Spice Girls and Britney). While there are far more practical and comfortable flip-flops on this list, this is one of those flip-flops for women that is more about form than function. You won’t be taking these out to the beach any time soon, but if you want to turn a lewk on a budget, it’s a steal.
- On-trend chunky platform sole
- Spacious straps fit most foot shapes and widths
- Soft thermoplastic rubber sole
Best Leather Flip-Flops for Women: Hari Mari Fields Puebla Flip-Flops
Boasting a buttery-soft tanned leather that can withstand most environments, a beveled rubber outsole and cupped heel that provides traction and stability in most terrain, and memory foam-lined straps that reduce chafing, the Fields Puebla flip flop from Hari Mari is tough to beat.
- Soft and smooth vegetable-tanned leather
- Memory foam toe post for maximum comfort from the moment you slip them on
- Ample arch support for even the longest of days
Best Women’s Flip Flop For Foot Pain: Hoka One One Ora Recovery Flip Flop
While these chunky thong sandals might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Ora Recovery flip-flops do have a steady and devoted fanbase that swears by its magic. That magic being the ability to encourage users to have a smoother gait and feel instant relief after a strenuous day on one’s feet.
This is all thanks to the super thick cushioned midsole and textured EVA footbed. The “maximalist” sandals also come with moisture-wicking straps and a grippy outsole to reduce the risk of slipping. And despite all of these features, the Hoka One One Ora Recovery flip flop only weighs in at 4.5 oz per sandal, putting to bed the notions that travel flip-flops must be of the cheap, skinny, and uncomfortable kind.
- Moisture-wicking straps and outsole with strategic groove placement for extra traction
- Lightweight and perfect for traveling
- Arch and heel support helps reduce pain in those with foot issues like plantar fasciitis
Women’s Flip-Flops With The Best Customer Ratings: OluKai Ohana Flip-Flops
Don’t let the unassuming facade fool you. OluKai Ohana flip-flops are some of the highest-reviewed and -rated shoes on Amazon.
But what makes OluKai Ohana so special? For starters, these comfortable sandals can be worn pretty much anywhere, from the beach to the mountains to your local grocery store. They’re water-resistant, have a non-slip EVA footbed for better grip, are soft and pliant but with enough support, and do as good a job at conforming to your feet as Birks or Vionic sandals.
On top of this, OluKai is a brand that cares. They didn’t just take on the Hawaiian aesthetic and called it a day. With every pair sold, they give a portion of the profits to Ama OluKai Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Hawaii’s culture and heritage.
And if you’re not a sandals type of gal, you can opt for OluKai’s equally comfortable sneakers and espadrilles.
- Anatomically contoured footbeds inspired by “feet on wet sand”
- Large toe box to reduce cramped feel
- Heel cup that cradles feet, reduces unnecessary movement, and absorbs shock
Best All-Around Women’s Flip-Flops: Birkenstock Gizeh
When it comes to comfortable casual shoes, few brands can rival Birkenstock. Having been around since 1774, this time-tested sandal brand is known for providing its customers with footwear that, over time, becomes uniquely their own. This is because of Birkenstock’s contoured cork footbed mold to your feet. Today’s Birks are also made with a sandwich of suede, a cushiony EVA midsole, a cork layer for arch support, and a deep heel cup, all put together to help wearers walk in their natural gait sans pain and discomfort.
But providing comfortable flip-flops and sandals is just one part of the equation. Birkenstocks are also known to last years, perhaps decades even. And even if you do wear down your Birks, you can get specialized repairs at Birkenstock stores, from sole replacements to toe tab repairs.
- Cork footbed molds to your feet
- Proprietary footbed is made with layers of cushiony EVA, arch-supporting cork, and smooth suede
- Durable and can last for decades
What To Look For When Buying Flip-Flops
Flip flops, thong sandals, shower shoes – for most people, they’re all the same. But if you want to find yourself a comfortable pair of flip-flops that will last longer than just one summer, you have to be a little more discerning when you shop. For us, there are 4 things you should always consider when buying flip-flops:
Flip flops are meant to be lightweight, flexible, and easy to pack. But in making their products more portable, some brands end up sacrificing comfort and, more importantly, heel and arch support. Wearing flip-flops with no arch support or a virtually flat footbed can lead to heel pain, alignment problems, and even back issues in the long run.
How can you tell comfortable flip-flops apart from the rest? Cheap ones with barely any support will usually bend in half very easily. Those are no good. When in doubt, check for the American Podiatric Medical Association’s seal of acceptance. The APMA has been reviewing footwear products for over 50 years.
Flip flop sandals are made from a variety of materials, including rubber, leather, foam, and plastic. These days, most flip-flops will have more than one of these materials though. For example, some flip-flops will have a memory foam footbed and a leather or fabric thong strap. However, each type of material will come with its own pros and cons.
Leather is stylish, molds to your feet, and provides a lot of comfort. It’s a really breathable material too, so sweating is reduced to a minimum. However, leather sandals aren’t meant for the beach – or any type of environment that has a lot of moisture for that matter. Leather flip-flops also tend to be more expensive than those made of other materials.
Rubber flip-flops, on the other hand, are waterproof and lightweight – making them perfect for folks who spend hours at the beach. They float too, which means you likely won’t lose them even if they do come off in the water. However, exposure to too much sun and water can cause rubber to split and crack.
Foam, meanwhile, is soft and fun to walk in. But bear in mind that the cheap kind won’t provide much support to your arches and heels. This may not be apparent immediately, but weeks or months of wearing flip-flops with inadequate support can lead to foot and leg pain down the line.
Today, many brands will use EVA for the midsole and foam, leather, or rubber for the other components. EVA, or Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, is a copolymer not unlike rubber. It’s soft but springy, provides adequate shock absorption, and doesn’t crack or harden as easily as rubber.
Obviously, you’ll want to wear flip-flops or sandals in your size. But when trying out flip-flops and sandals, you have to be extra mindful of the placement of your heels and toes. Since these types of footwear keep your feet exposed to the elements, you want to make sure your heels and toes aren’t hanging off the sole’s edge. This keeps your feet safe from cuts and scrapes.
On the other hand, oversized flip-flops can put you in danger of tripping or even twisting your ankle, as the edges can get caught on uneven surfaces.
While the Y-type thong is the most popular style of flip-flops, there are plenty of other styles out there. Some flip-flops have a back strap so that they don’t come off your foot when you run or dive into the water. There are also flip-flops with a slight heel for shorter women, or flip-flops with a strap that goes across the top of the foot for a more snug fit.
Of course, you’ll have to consider color options too. Some brands have more low-key, neutral color options, while others, like Havaianas, sell flip-flops in pretty much every color imaginable.
The Bottom Line
In Florida, people wear their flip-flops all year round. After all, when nearly all 365 days are filled with sunshine, and beaches, rivers, and springs are always just a stone’s throw away, why even bother wearing shoes?
With that being said, whether you’re just visiting or looking to stay awhile in the Sunshine State, you better find a pair that can keep your feet happy. We hope that, with our flip flop lineup, you find something that works for you!
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by our publisher, writers, and community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.