There are few types of men’s footwear as seasonally mandatory as the flip-flop. Freeing for your feet after long months trapped in boots, they’re one of the best—and most comfortable—ways of transitioning to the warmer weather. But if you’ve got last year’s go-tos, we’ve got some bad news: Like last year’s leaves, they’re not getting any fresher, and with the new year should come a new pair of men’s sandals.
Before you start shopping, keep a few things in mind, courtesy of the American Podiatric Medical Association. If possible, buy leather flip-flops, to minimize the risk of blisters. Make sure the flip-flop bends at the ball of the foot, and also make sure that your foot doesn’t hang off of the edge of the flip-flop. Get new ones each year, because they wear out fast. And this sounds obvious, but because of the risk of injury, don’t do yard work, play sports or operate heavy machinery while wearing flip-flops.
If you’ve traditionally forked over six bucks to Old Navy, you’re missing out. For just a few more dollars, you can have flip-flops that don’t leave your feet, knees, and back aching at the end of the day. So where to start? Our handy guide to the season breaks down noteworthy models, listing pros and cons before butting out so that you can select a pair that fits your needs best. The sun is shining, and there hasn’t been a better time to bare those toes since last summer.
OluKai is known for its committment to quality and craftsmanship. The Ohana flip-flop has a compression-molded midsole with a brushed drop-in ICEVA footbed for daylong comfort.
Pros: These are solid summer shoes. The OluKai flip-flops are lightweight and comfortable, with a non-marking rubber outsole. They’re vegan-friendly and provide ample footbed support.
Cons: While these feel great and look better, they have that collared shirt look to them, and if you’re just hanging out in the backyard, some men may not like their refined appearance.
A quintessential Reef style, the Fanning has been made year after year in innumerable colors because it brings the party with you. The ingenious design is always handy.
Pros: Even without its signature feature—which we’ll get to in a second—these sandals are super-comfy thanks to an EVA foam cushion (the same you’d find in your favorite running shoes) and a heel air pod for ultimate support. But what most know it for is its signature bottle opener on the sole of the shoe. Voila, you’re never without a means of cracking a cold one.
Cons : People love this sandal, but the idea of walking around all day, with the ground getting all up in its bottle opener, and then using that same feature to open a bottle that’s going in your mouth, has always struck us as gross. Still, plenty of men love it.
The Chaco flip-flops feature a biocentric footbed, meaning your feet get comfort and ample support.
Pros: Yes, the Chaco flips are good to your feet. They feature a polyester jacquard webbing upper with a high-tensile webbing toe post. That’s a fancy way of saying, your dogs won’t be barking.
Cons: Aesthetically, they’re not exactly perfect.
Colloquially called work shoes for watermen, these coastal favorites are known for their durability, even as their leather gets better with each wear. We’re unabashed fans of Rainbow flip-flops.
Pros: Doubling the amount of arch support of the original, you notice the support of these sandals at the end of the day, when everything north of the soles of your feet feels better. The iconic leather tongs are guaranteed to not rip out, while the nonslip rubber outsole will get you there in one piece.
Cons : The only inherent flaw in this otherwise flawless sandal is its material, leather. If you’re the type who battles foot odor, these will be impossible to clean and after a few weeks will smell like a July trash can.
Flip-flops and water go together like peas and carrots, and the Hari Mari Dunes II is made to get wet. If you’re looking for a pair that doesn’t shy away from the aquatic life, these are your best bet.
Pros: Made from floating foam that is super soft underfoot, they nevertheless were supportive for the day thanks to firm arch support where you need it most. Siping along the footbed drains water quickly while providing reliable grip against the skin. We also loved how comfortable the straps were thanks to memory foam inside.
Cons : While these do have an anti-microbial treatment for all-day wear, the Dunes II are geared toward the water. If you’re not on the side of the pool or shoving off to sea, you may want a less nautically themed sandal.
While many people give flak to Crocs for its clogs’ aesthetic, no one knocks their comfort. Building off its cushioned base, the Crocs Reviva flip feels soft from first step and only gets better as the day goes on.
Pros: The footbed is the star on this sandal, and the small bumps built in are like a mini-massage with every footstep. Below, soft foam provides a smooth ride for long days on the move. Finally, for those with flashbacks from fashion faux pas a decade ago, these have only a passing resemblance to the more notorious clogs.
Cons : There is passing resemblance to the more notorious clogs.
You sort of can't go wrong with classic Birks, which seemingly last forever, and provide nonstop comfort.
Pros: Birkenstock cork footbeds are dreamy, in terms of comfort. Your feet will be oh so happy. Your weight is distributed evenly over the whole foot, providing it with ideal support. And the flip-flop style is a solid choice for summer.
Cons: If you hate Birks, and plenty of folks do, skip this pair.
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