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The Best Flip-Flops to Buy Right Now

Put these thongs on your feet when you’re poolside this summer.

couple sitting on roof of a van

Ask anyone in the southern hemisphere and they’ll tell you the best way to beat the heat is to dress for it. Shedding layers of clothing is a must for warm days, and when it comes to footwear, less is also more. Underrated and hated for far too long, the flip-flop is an essential shoe for the summer — just make sure you’ve got a tasteful pair that can shift between beach trips, barbecues and grocery runs alike.

Why Flip-Flops Over Sandals?

By definition, flip-flops are flat soles that the feet grasp via a Y-shaped strap, also known as a toe thong, between the first (big) and second (index) toes. Sandals, by comparison, have a strap that goes over the instep to hold the feet in place. In most cases, flip-flops lack any backing for added stability and heel support, which causes them to “fishtail,” or slip, in wet conditions — likely your experience if you haven’t worn a pair since visiting a waterpark as a youth.

Of course, choosing to wear flip-flops depends on the occasion. Going to the beach? They’ll likely help sand and water pass through the underfoot better than a sandal. Headed to a bar? Unless it’s in the tropics, we’d advise against it. Flip-flops are best suited for casual situations, water activities, and short-term wear — quick errands, backyard get-togethers, poolside hangouts and beer runs. Because flip-flops are usually flat-soled and lack support, you’ll want to limit relying on them for long-term use.

Is Buying an Expensive Pair Worth It?

If you’re a fan of having breezy toes and putting on footwear in a manner that’s almost thoughtless, a pricey flip-flop is a wise investment. In most cases, expensive means leather, and that’ll look nicer and provide better support for your feet. Leather flip-flops are stylish and durable, and they’re a great option for a warm day when paired with denim jeans, short shorts and chinos alike. With proper care, they’ll outlast their rubber or plastic brethren.

However, if you’re wearing flip-flops for the beach or poolside, leather can quickly break down due to moisture, sand and water, and unless they’re waterproof or you use some sort of leather wax beforehand, they’ll need to retire in a matter of months. If you’re looking for flip-flops to wear for a waterside trip, rubber, plastic or some other synthetic material is the way to go. Synthetics are cheaper, and if you don’t expect to wear flip-flops outside of the spring and summer seasons, it’s a smarter purchase. Wear them too often though, and their soles will crease, flatten, and crinkle through use — much like a pair of Crocs or Merrell Hydro Mocs.

The Best Flip-Flops of 2022

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    Best Overall Flip-Flop
    Hari Mari Dunes
    Hari Mari

    Most rubber flip-flops need a few weeks of wear to make them bendy and flexible. Hari Mari's come comfy straight out the box, thanks to its memory foam footbed and straps. The Dunes have textured channels on their footbeds to push water away and prevent fishtailing, plus its rubber outsole is traction-ready to prevent slippage on a boat or while poolside.

    Best Upgrade Flip-Flop
    OluKai Kai Po‘i

    Hawaiian-inspired brand OluKai made a flip-flop that, surprisingly, looks luxurious. Made with natural full-grain Italian leather, the Kai Po‘i has soft microfiber-lined footbeds and an EVA midsole for high arch support. Its outsole features stitched "traction pods" for some steady grip, and it's also covered by a year warranty just in case anything feels out of place. Throw these on for a sophisticated way of saying “aloha."

    Best Budget Flip Flop
    Havaianas Top Flip-Flop

    Simple, monochrome and rubber, the Top Flip-Flops from Havaianas are par for the course. Available in four colors, these come with a textured underfoot to let those wet feet breathe, a logo-embossed strap and a denser sole at the heel. Take these to the pool or toss ‘em on when you go on a quick, lazy errand.

    Teva Pajaro

    A flip-flop that you can take out on a light hike? Yep, that exists. Leave it to Teva to craft a rugged thong sandal with a nylon shank that’ll keep you stable over rough terrain. The Pajaro is made from a nice lux suede and comes with a thick EVA sole to add some spring and cushion to your step. Its thong straps are also extra wide to better cradle the feet, which means less flipping to your flop.

    Sanuk Furreal St Grassy

    There’s been a rise in golf apparel as of late, so why not hop on the trend with a pair of AstroTurf flip-flops? Tacky, maybe, but these carry a certain slacker-coolness that calls to mind lounge-ready leisure time in the sun. The band and footbed are real, actual fuzzy AstroTurf, while its sole is made up of recycled foam waste and natural rubber.

    Suicoke JONO Flip-Flops

    Tank-ish isn't exactly what you'd expect with a flip-flop, but Suicoke's JONO pair is exactly that. The treading on the bottom of this flat flip-flop is tooth-like and ready for a hike or a trip to the beach. Its midsole is flatter than other picks on this list, but that's in exchange for a brand logo located on its vamp.

    Rainbow Double Layer Hemp Top and Strap
    Rainbow Sandals

    Hemp is strong, sustainable and a more interesting fabric than cotton. Rainbow Sandals uses it here to reinforce its footbed and strap with its naturally soft feel. These flip-flops have a double layer of arches for extra support, and a non-slip outsole suitable for pool hangs. In their natural color, they look sharp enough to be seen in public.

    Reef Draftsmen

    These Reef flip-flops have a secret weapon that'll be useful in more cases than not: a bottle opener. On the non-skid outsole, find a hidden opener located on the inner foot of the right sandal. Up top, enjoy a full-grain leather footbed with arch support. A must for summer relaxation.

    Birkenstock Gizeh

    Try this sophisticated style from Birkenstock, the king of easy-access footwear. The Gizeh has the traditional makings of a Birkenstock, with its cork footbed and EVA outsole, but with an oiled leather strap that gives it a touch of sharpness. That strap's also got a signature metal buckle to adjust your fit.

    ORA Recovery Flip

    Far from traditional, the ORA Recovery Flip serves chunk, curve and cushion. These sandals have super thick heels to prevent fatigue and help heal sore feet. Wearing a pair out in public will feel like cruising on clouds, much like Hoka’s running shoes, and its exaggerated sole will definitely lean more streetwear than beachwear.

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