When you’re heading to the pool or beach, flip-flops are a must: they’re super easy to slip on and off, lightweight, and compact enough to pop into a carry-on bag. That said, not all flip-flops are created equal. In fact, according to board-certified podiatrist Dr. Bruce Pinker, most “are not recommended for long-term wear, as they often are not very supportive of the foot.” Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort if you know which flip-flops to buy.
Vionic’s Unisex Wave Toe-post Sandal and the company’s Mirage Flip-flop for women are our favorite foot-friendly options, and Dr. Pinker agrees the brand is among the savviest picks for beach-day shoes. “If a flip-flop is desired, I often recommend to my patients the following brands: FitFlop or Vionic. These are rather well-designed with adequate arch support and cushioning,” he says.
Designed by podiatrists, the Vionic shoes are breathable, stabilizing, and supportive, and we love that they offer the absorption and traction many flip-flops lack. But if they’re not quite your style, we’ve rounded up more flip-flops that you can count on to provide convenience and comfort while you enjoy your oceanside strolls.
- Best Overall: Vionic Unisex Wave Toe-post Sandal at Amazon
- Best Overall, Runner Up: Teva Men’s Mush II Sandal at Amazon
- Best Arch Support: FitFlop Men’s Track II Thong Sandal at Amazon
- Best Waterproof: Crocs Unisex Crocband Flip-flops at Amazon
- Most Stylish: Sperry Men’s Baitfish Thong Sandal at Amazon
- Best Leather: Reef Men’s Voyage Le Sandals at Amazon
- Best for the Beach: Havaianas Top Men’s Flip-flops at Amazon
- Best Overall: Vionic Women’s Mirage Flip-flop at Amazon
- Best Overall, Runner Up: Clarks Women’s Breeze Sea at Amazon
- Best Arch Support: FitFlop Women’s iQushion Flip-flop at Amazon
- Best Waterproof: CROC Women’s Flip-flop Sandals at Amazon
- Most Stylish: Roxy Women’s Porto Sandal Flip-flop at Amazon
- Best Leather: Clarks Women’s Fenner Nerice Flip-flop at Amazon
- Best for the Beach: Old Navy Summer Casual Flip-flop at Amazon
T+L’s Top Picks
The Most Comfortable Flip-flops for Men
Best Overall: Vionic Unisex Wave Toe-post Sandal
Also available at Vionic and Walmart
Why We Love It: These podiatrist-designed, long-lasting shoes offer some of the best arch support and shock absorption on the flip-flop market.
What to Consider: The orthopedic-centric design isn’t as attractive as other options.
The Vionic Unisex Wave Toe-post Sandal has all the convenience and breathability you’ve come to love about flip-flops, but, unlike the pairs you’re probably used to, they also deliver the proper fit and cushioning you need when putting your pedometer to work. Designed and conceptualized by podiatrists to help combat foot pain associated with wearing flip-flops, this casual sandal offers a padded footbed and arch support that helps to promote stability and comfort — even with long-term wear.
The quick-drying nylon webbing upper and rubber sole are designed to adequately support your foot but will stand up to regular wear without ripping or losing shape. Crucially, the straps are made from a soft cotton material that won’t irritate or cause blisters between your toes during treks in the heat. The simple design is available in five colors.
Price at time of publish: $50-$78
Sizes: 5 to 14 | Materials: Nylon and rubber
Best Overall, Runner Up: Teva Men's Mush II Sandal
Also available at Teva and REI
Why We Love It: This stylish sandal is made using recycled material and includes a topsole cushion that ensures all-day comfort and breathability.
What to Consider: These flip-flops tend to run much larger than average sandals.
The Teva Men’s Mush II Sandals are crafted using a heavy-duty recycled plastic that is both breathable and quick-drying, which makes them an excellent option for throwing into your beach bag or wearing to the pool. The rubber sole and topsole cushion provide support that avoids putting pressure on your heels and ankles, so you can go ahead and always opt for the scenic route. The flip-flop design is a great option for wearing into the city or to the coast thanks to the monochromatic, deep-black sole and stylish yarn-like straps that come in fun colors and patterns to best suit your specific taste.
Price at time of publish: $21-$35
Sizes: 7 to 16 | Materials: EVA foam, recycled plastic, and rubber
Best Arch Support: FitFlop Men's Track II Thong Sandal
Also available at Walmart and FitFlop
Why We Love It: The rubber sole and platform heel were designed for optimal comfort and support while the 100 percent leather exterior offers a stylish finish.
What to Consider: This sandal runs much smaller than the average flip-flop, and the aesthetic is love-it or hate-it..
The podiatrist-recommended FitFlop Men’s Track II Thong Sandal was made for travelers looking for something casual and cool that doesn’t skimp on comfort or support. The 100 percent leather exterior makes these sandals appropriate to wear to casual dinners while traveling, and the easy slip on/slip off style makes them great for numerous activities around the water. You’ll also notice that the back of the sandal features a 1.5-inch heel. This isn’t necessarily for style (although we think it looks pretty cool) but rather for keeping your foot properly aligned while stomping through the city or bee-lining it to a cabana.
Price at time of publish: $68-$212
Sizes: 7 to 13 | Materials: Leather and rubber
Related: The Most Comfortable Men’s Sandals
Best Waterproof: Crocs Unisex Crocband Flip-flops
Also available at Crocs and Walmart
Why We Love It: This sporty pair of unisex sandals is totally waterproof and slightly more elevated than the average flip-flop.
What to Consider: The sizes are not consistent between colors and might be a few centimeters bigger or smaller depending on which one you choose.
Looking for something that’ll keep you fast on your feet, whether that means a competitive game of beach volleyball or keeping up with a high-energy tour guide? This sporty pair of flip-flops is a long way from the classic Croc sandal and will be a safe bet should you plan to be on your feet frequently while on the road. The surprisingly stylish design is available in a whole spectrum of cool colors to best suit your preferences while the EVA foam and rubber outer offer enough support and comfort to wear for hours without worrying about heel pain or sweaty toes.
Price at time of publish: $18-$230
Sizes: 4 to 13 | Materials: EVA foam and rubber
Most Stylish: Sperry Men's Baitfish Thong Sandal
Also available at Macy’s and Zappos
Why We Love It: This flip-flop is like a deconstructed boat shoe with much more breathability and just as much support.
What to Consider: This model runs about half a size smaller than the standard fit.
Travelers in search of shoes that offer the same freedom as flip-flops without screaming “beach sandals” should look no further than well-loved boat shoe brand Sperry. The Sperry Men’s Baitfish Thong Sandal looks just like a traditional boat shoe from the classic brand — complete with rawhide lacing and a textured footbed for added support and style — but the flip-flop silhouette is even easier to slip on and off while on the go. This pair of casual-cool flip-flops is available in three distinct shades to complement your existing style and also features comfortable leather straps that won’t irritate your toes with long-term wear.
Price at time of publish: $45-$50
Sizes: 7 to 14 | Materials: Leather and synthetic materials
Best Leather: Reef Men's Voyage Le Sandals
Also Available at Reef and Zappos
Why We Love It: This leather and rubber flip-flop combines style and comfort thanks to the understated dark brown color and ultra-soft pig skin liner.
What to Consider: These flip-flops are quite a bit heavier than rubber or foam models.
The Reef Men’s Voyage Le Sandals are crafted from a high-end pig skin leather that was designed to be both comfortable and immediately form-fitting from your first wear, so you won’t have to deal with breaking them in before heading off on your vacation. The lack of break-in period means that you can easily pop these on upon landing and comfortably wear them for your entire trip without worrying about irritation between the toes or blisters. The water-friendly design is also great for slipping on and off by the beach or the pool without having to be too precious around the water.
Price at time of publish: $42-$69
Sizes: 6 to 13 | Materials: Leather and rubber
Best for the Beach: Havaianas Top Men's Flip-flops
Why We Love It: This classic pair of flip-flops looks just like the ones we wore growing up — with slightly more arch support and durability.
What to Consider: The rubber base will lose its support over time, especially with regular use.
Looking for a pair of flip-flops that will bring you right back to lazy days on the beach as a kid? The Havaianas Top Men’s Flip Flops are classics for a reason. The no-frills, retro-inspired design is perfect for long days on the beach or by the pool while the rubber material was made to hold up for years before needing to be replaced. The lightweight design also makes these flip-flops a great option for throwing into a carry-on or beach bag. However, you might want to avoid slipping them on before heading out for long walks through the city as the rubber strap might cause irritation with long-term wear.
Price at time of publish: $14-$29
Sizes: 8 to 13 | Materials: Rubber
Related: The Best Sunglasses for Every Trip
The Most Comfortable Flip-flops for Women
Best Overall: Vionic Women's Mirage Flip-flop
Why We Love It: This pair of flip-flops is much more sophisticated than traditional styles thanks to the strappy neutral leather upper and slight heel.
What to Consider: The straps might be too loose for those with very thin feet.
“The most important things to look for when purchasing a flip-flop or sandal are arch support and a footbed that offers shock absorption and can withstand lots of use,” says board-certified podiatrist Dr. Sophia Solomon. “It is also crucial to make sure your sandal has a sole with good traction.” With their podiatrist-designed footbed, slip resistance, and superior arch support, the Vionic Women’s Mirage Flip-flops tick all the right boxes and then some.
The surprisingly sophisticated sandal also earns top points for its elegant leather straps and muted rubber sole. A far cry from the rubber sandals you usually throw in your beach bag, these stylish flip-flops can easily be worn at the pool or in a more formal dinner setting, all without causing irritation or foot pain. Choose between the six available colors — or maybe even keep a couple different options around for good measure.
Price at time of publish: $40-$90
Sizes: 5 to 11| Materials: Leather and rubber
Best Overall, Runner Up: Clarks Women's Breeze Sea
Also available at Clarks
Why We Love It: This adorable pair of flip-flops offers impressive support and a textured upper that will bring style to the pool-side bar.
What to Consider: The price point is quite a bit more expensive than the average flip-flop.
This pair of cloud-stepping flip-flops was made for those seeking the right combination of comfort and style, which comes courtesy of the pragmatic design and trendy colors and silhouette that Clarks is known for. The cushion-soft comfort technology was made to provide adequate arch support, while the soft upper won’t irritate the toes or the top of the foot. We also like how this sandal is available in a huge variety of colors and patterns to suit your vacation aesthetic, with unique styles ranging from color-blocked pastels and neon stripes to classic denim-like hues and even polka dot designs.
Price at time of publish: $29-$101
Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: EVA foam
Best Arch Support: FitFlop Women's iQushion Flip-flop
Also available at FitFlop and Macy’s
Why We Love It: These podiatrist-recommended sandals offer the ideal combination of cushioned support and classic flip-flop aesthetic.
What to Consider: This model runs slightly narrow and might not work for those with wider feet.
Looking for that classic flip-flop look without the classic flip-flop foot and hip pain? We feel you. The FitFlop Women’s iQushion Flip-flops tick are sure to become one of your favorites if you’re seeking comfort above all else. The practical flip-flops are podiatrist-recommended because of their anatomically shaped midsole and contoured footbed. This pair also offers air-foam cushioning that will help protect the hips from hard sidewalks and concrete flooring. Think of the FitFlop design as the grown-up version of the classic budget flip-flops we all swore by as kids.
Price at time of publish: $21-$89
Sizes: 4 to 11 | Materials: Foam and rubber
Related: The Most Comfortable Women’s Sandals
Best Waterproof: Croc Women's Flip-flop Sandals
Also available at Zappos
Why We Love It: These comfortable and lightweight flip-flops are available in a huge variety of colors to suit any style.
What to Consider: The sizing tends to run small — most people should size up.
The Croc Women’s Flip-flop Sandals offer a cute and comfortable alternative to the classic flip-flop design while still providing the same breathability and convenience we love about the traditional silhouette. The minimal style, available in a huge spectrum of colors, is reminiscent of the classic Croc design because of the EVA foam material, and the flip-flop is just as comfortable as the original Croc. The lightweight design and comfortable strap won’t irritate the toes or cause discomfort on the ankles or hips while the water-friendly, buoyant design means you won’t lose them in the pool or the ocean.
Price at time of publish: $15-$63
Sizes: 4 to 11 | Materials: EVA foam
Most Stylish: Roxy Women's Porto Sandal Flip-flop
Also available at Roxy and Macy’s
Why We Love It: This adorable pair of flip-flops might look like the classic beachside sandal, but the cotton braided upper and neutral design makes it ideal for more formal occasions as well.
What to Consider: This pair costs a lot more than the average flip-flop sandal.
Flip-flops might be known for their casual silhouette and convenience, but it can be hard to find a pair that transitions from the beach to the bar seamlessly. The Roxy Women’s Porto Sandal Flip-flop is one of the best options we’ve found in terms of style: Not only are they available in a variety of neutral colors, but they also come with an elegant cotton braid that can go from noon sunbathing to cocktail hour with ease. The contoured design and textured footbed also means these flip-flops won’t irritate your toes or cause back or hip pain even after a full day of wear.
Price at time of publish: $21-77
Sizes: 5 to 11 | Materials: Cotton and rubber
Best Leather: Clarks Women's Fenner Nerice Flip-flop
Also available at Clarks and Zappos
Why We Love It: This elegant pair of leather flip-flops is much more sophisticated than classic foam options — without sacrificing the convenience and breathable design.
What to Consider: The soles do not absorb moisture and can become slightly slippery.
This 100 percent leather sandal features excellent craftsmanship that is designed to function as a casual but elegant flip-flop that can transition from the beach to the city. The ultra-soft leather design is comfortable the minute you put them on and will continue to offer the right orthopedic support for hours on end. The carefully made sole and cushioned layers are exactly what your feet crave for vacation duty. Looking for something that’ll pair with your denim shorts or jeans? The braided detailing on the strap and ombre-hued leather footbed make this pair an excellent option.
Price at time of publish: $35-$109
Sizes: 5 to 12 | Materials: Leather and EVA foam
Best for the Beach: Old Navy Summer Casual Flip-flop
Also available at Old Navy
Why We Love It: This classic pair of flip-flops is affordable without skimping on comfort and cuteness.
What to Consider: The EVA foam design will eventually wear down and lose its bouncy sole.
The Old Navy Summer Casual Flip-flop has been a summertime staple for years and continues to be a fan favorite for its relatively cheap price and lightweight design. Although these sandals are affordable and evoke serious nostalgia, you’ll want to keep in mind that the EVA foam design is certainly not suitable for trekking for miles through the city. That being said, the waterproof material is perfect for spending the day at the beach or kicking back by the pool and the light weight makes this option great for throwing into your beach bag and going barefoot by the ocean.
Price at time of publish: $9-$31
Sizes: 5 to 11 | Materials: EVA foam
Related: The Best Women’s Swimsuits to Buy for Your Next Trip
Frequently Asked Questions
How should flip-flops fit?
Although flip-flops are seen as super laissez-faire, you'll want to choose a pair that fits properly in order to ensure the best possible support. Flip-flops should fit the sole perfectly without your toes or heel hanging out of the front or back of the shoe. It's generally recommended to size up if you're unsure in order to be certain your feet are fully supported.
How do I clean flip-flops?
The best way to clean flip-flops is to scrub them with a little hot water and dish soap. Rubber flip-flops can also be thrown in the washing machine on the gentle cycle and hung to air dry. Dealing with particularly worn or smelly flip-flops? Consider scrubbing them with a mix of half vinegar, half hot water to get rid of any lingering bacteria.
Can you wear flip-flops on a plane?
There are no rules against wearing flip-flops on an airplane, but if you're doing so to expedite the security process, you'll want to note that it is still required to remove sandals and flip-flops while going through the TSA checkpoint line. Some travelers on the airplane might consider it rude to be nearly barefoot on a plane, but the choice is yours.
Tips for Buying Flip-flops
Choose the right material for your vacation
Flip-flops easily slip on and off, which makes them a good selection for a travel shoe used poolside, beachside, or cabana-side. You'll want to opt for a waterproof design if you plan to spend most of your time on the beach or by the water. Heading to a resort with semi-formal restaurants? Consider a leather flip-flop or something with a slight heel to provide a less casual look.
Look for features that provide comfort
“What makes a good flip-flop could be attributed to a few factors, most notably the footbed, the midsole/outsole, and the upper strap material and placement,” says board-certified podiatrist Dr. Nelya Lobkova. “A footbed that is ergonomic and has an arch support such as in a Birkenstock makes the flip-flop comfortable and able to be worn for prolonged periods of time.”
Dr. Lobkova also suggests looking for an midsole that is cushioned or has a platform that provides enough comfort for trekking — whether on the sidewalk or the sand.
"Optimally, flip flops for travel and long-term wear should have a platform/wedge and cushioning. It is important to look for some cushioning and elevation in the heel (wedge rather than flat)," she explains. "It is also important to have traction in the outsole for a flip-flop for travel (think slippery airport — yikes!). The flip-flops should not be too stiff or too soft in order to allow the foot to toe-off without gripping the toes or cutting off at the skin."
Get the right fit
The most important thing to keep in mind when shopping for flip-flops is fit and support — and to avoid minimalist flip-flops that have a zero heel drop. These flip-flops are basically completely flat, explains Dr. Lobkova. There is minimal stability in the sole and no cushioning under the weight-bearing parts of the foot, the heel, and the ball of the foot. The best flip-flop should offer proper support and leave enough room around all edges of the sole so that the foot is properly cushioned from heel to toe.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure writers are shopping, fashion, and product experts who use personal experience and customer recommendations to choose the best items for shoppers. For this article, Kaitlyn McInnis interviewed podiatrists and frequent travelers to get their best tips and used her experience as a travel writer to curate the best options to suit most needs.
Up Next: The Most Comfortable Slip-on Women’s Sneakers
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