Comfortable, practical, and built for adventure, flip flops come in a range of styles that let you perform to your peak in the great outdoors. We’ve got a fantastic selection of flip flops that are perfect for the beach, the boardwalk, and for tackling tough terrain.
Normally associated with the beach, flip flops are comfortable footwear that can also be worn to stroll through streets with relaxed style. Some models also provide more technical features for light hiking on rougher terrains. Easy to wear, versatile and affordable, the flip flop is the go-to shoe for laidback comfort.
Sliders, toe thongs or back straps, the basic flip flop comes in a wider variety of styles than meets the eye. Whatever style you choose, it is important to achieve a correct fit, and a model with the right materials to take you from shore to street if necessary.
The flip flop's construction normally determines where the shoe can be worn. For example, softer varieties are usually used indoors, while flip flops crafted from more durable materials are built for technical, outdoor use. Rubber: Generally the most common construction, rubber flip flops offer elasticity, a cushioning effect and anti-slip qualities, making them perfect for the beach and street. However, it is important to note that natural rubber is prone to crystallisation when introduced to too much stress, causing cracks along the footbed and outsole. Foam: Chosen for their comfortable properties, foam flip flops are ideal for long wear as they offer extra comfort and support.
Flip flops with moulded footbeds are constructed with EVA or foam/ rubber compounds that compresses while simultaneously offering resistance and support. These footbeds adapt and 'remember' the shape of your foot, eventually becoming an exact mould of your foot for added support while hiking.
Plastic: Durable and simple designs, the plastic flip flop is your go-to basic style. For a more long-lasting model, EVA and other polymer plastics combine with rubber to provide a stronger, durable design.
Leather: Other materials, such as leather and fabric, ensure a long-lasting, durable flip flop. If a foot strap is crafted with nubuck or leather and nylon polyurethane combinations, they are generally able to maintain structure, last a long time and provide a comfortable construction that tends not to rub.
Often water resistant, the beach flip flop is a basic style that's designed with comfort in mind. Look for simple designs crafted with rubber or plastic, such as Havaianas or Quiksilver. For a more technical flip flop for the beach, keep an eye out for anatomical arch support and durable EVA outsoles for styles that will last summer after summer.
If you're after a flip flop that can take you from sand to street, then it's best to opt for a pair with a leather or fabric construction. Traditional beach flip flops are also available with extra beading and embellishment if you're heading from the shore to a beach-side bar.
Brands such a FitFlop are available with stylish leather and synthetic constructions, as well as an ergonomic, 'Microwobbleboard' midsole to absorb shock and help to diffuse pressure. It is recommended to buy a size down for FitFlop in particular.
Although not an obvious choice for trekking, technical flip flops offer enough support and traction for light hiking through easy mountain terrain. These flip flops are often stiff and durable, thanks to their sturdy moulded rubber soles.
Often crafted from water resistant materials, it is worth looking for styles with water-draining open-toe patterns if you're conquering rivers or streams. These flip flops are also frequently designed with contoured footbeds. Brands such as Reef, Teva and Keen design their flip flops with footbeds that are anatomical moulds of the bottom of a typical foot.
If you're planning to hike, it is important to look for a footbed that can adapt to the shape of your own foot, and in particular arch height, for that much needed added support .
When buying a flip flop it is obviously important to get the correct fit. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to wear a style that ensures that you can see about 1/2 an inch of the sole around your foot. Not only will a reliable fit improve comfort, but it will also lessen chances of injury.
Toe Box: It is important to note how far the foot slides when you walk, which is often down to the position of the toe post. Even though a certain design may seem like it fits the length of your foot while you're standing still, the fit may not be as exact once your toes slide up against the toe post.
It is recommended to stay clear of any models that leave your foot hanging over the sides of the flip flop. If your foot slips forward as you walk, you obviously lose the benefits of any heel stability or cushioning.
Strap: Ideally, the entire strap should be in close contact with the foot to guarantee that stress coming from your body weight is evenly distributed. To maximise stability, the strap should be wrapped around the foot. Some models are also provided with a back strap for additional support.
Insoles/ footbeds: To avoid callusing, and to achieve extra stability, it is recommended that the rear edge of the flip flops should be around 1 to 1 1/2 cm from the ball of the foot. The insole should also be in close contact with the foot's sole. It is worth noting that some styles have insoles specifically designed for flat-footed or high-arched feet.
Foam footbeds offer an extra supportive and comfortable fit. For added support, and for some shock absorption, it is worth investing in contoured/ foot-moulding footbeds that mould specifically to the shape and fit of your feet. Flip flops with contoured footbeds promote proper bone and joint alignment.
Sizes: It is worth noting that flip flops tend to come in whole sizes. If you are between sizes, look to the brand's individual recommendation as to whether you should size up or down.
Havaianas Size Guide
REEF Size Guide