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Hands-on Gear Review
Vionic Tide II Review
Cons: Runs big, arch support can hurt
Bottom line: The Tide II is a seriously impressive flip-flop with pronounced arch support and excellent traction.
The Vionic Tide II impressed us repeatedly throughout our time with it. Stellar traction, arch supports from built-in orthotics, and a durable water resistant design all add up to equal a top tier shoe. While the sporty look of this sandal wasn't a style favorite for many, the straps have a bit of shine to help elevate what would otherwise be a fairly plain shoe. The Tide II does run big, so if you're someone with a half size foot we highly recommend sizing down.
RELATED REVIEW: The 11 Best Flip Flop Sandals For Women
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Tide II is an at first unassuming sandal that, test after test, showed us what a well-constructed flip-flop should offer. While the very prominent arch support won't be for everyone, those that prefer a heavily contoured footbed will likely find this shoe quite dreamy. It was at the top of the pack for support, stability, durability, traction, and more. The Birkenstock Gizeh inched out a win for the Editors' Choice award over the Tide II, but it was a close race.
The Tide II (shown in blue below) performed excellently test after test, finishing in second place overall and just barely missing the Editors' Choice award.
The Tide II has a particular kind of comfort that some people either won't like or will need time to adapt to. The footbed has orthotics built into it, giving it intense arches that could cause pain for people with flat feet. Even our main tester, who had naturally high arches, felt some discomfort and cramping at times.
The shape isn't for everyone, but for those that love full arch support, there was no better model in our test group. Partner that with a pleasantly textured footbed and foam-lined straps and you have an excellent package.
For comfort that is more readily accessible and less aggressive, the OluKai Ohana was our most comfortable shoe, though it didn't provide quite the same level of support. This may have been a sizing issue though, discussed in more detail in the next metric, support, and stability. The sandal that we felt balanced comfort and security the best was our Editors' Choice, the Birkenstock Gizeh.
Support & Stability
We found the Tide II to have some of the best support of any of our tested models. Only the Gizeh with its ergonomic footbed and wide straps scored higher. Our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling, the Merrell Around Town was also a solid sandal, but the slickness of the footbed made it slightly less secure.
We feel it's only fair to mention that the Tide II was able to score so well in this category primarily because we changed the size. Our main tester was a size 8.5, so we ordered 9's for most all of our sandals. But the size 9 Tide II was so large it almost looked like a random men's shoe had been thrown in with our women's models! We returned it and opted for a size eight instead which was a smart choice. It put the arch in the proper place and gave us a snug fit. For comparison, the Ohana also ran a ran a bit large, but not enough to warrant an exchange. This affected how stable and supportive it felt and, ultimately, its score for this metric. Even with minimal footwear like flip-flops, proper sizing is crucial. We recommend trying things on in person whenever you can, or at least obtaining a footbed measurement from the manufacturer or another reputable source.
Again the Tide II rose to the top of the pack. This is a well-constructed flip-flop that still looked brand new after several months of rigorous testing.
We have zero reservations in saying that this model will have no problem lasting you many years. We found nearly the same level of durability in the Chaco Flip EcoTread, though the sole isn't quite as thick or robust. The Gizeh is also an impressively durable shoe, though the leather and cork mean it requires more attention and care to take care of over the long term.
No surprise, this durable rubber, and webbing design were also highly water resistant. When walking around with a wet footbed the shoe temporarily felt a little bit slippery and made farting noises, but the material is so nonporous that it was dry again extremely quickly.
After laying out in the sun, this drenched sandal had a dry footbed in four minutes flat. The straps took a full half hour to dry, but they felt fine to wear while damp. Both the Merrell Around Town and the Flip EcoTread had similar dry times after being thoroughly soaked. The Reef Leather Uptown and Rainbow Single Layer Premier were the top performers in this category, both drying completely - straps and all - in just 20 minutes.
Once again, the Tide II outperformed almost all the other models we tested. Frankly, we were shocked at the level of traction we received from this simple flip-flop.
The treads were sticky and secure, and we felt great hiking up steep and chossy slopes. Since this shoe has relatively small straps, this level of security is contingent on having the proper fit and, as explained above, we had to size down to achieve that.
The only model that provided better traction was our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling, the rugged Merrell Around Town. With impressive treads and wide adjustable straps, we felt almost as secure as having fully enclosed hiking shoes on. The Gizeh, our Editors' Choice, was also a top contender, with the best internal footbed traction of the group.
Style is the one category where the Tide II just didn't measure up to the rest of the pack. The thick soles and relatively drab design of this sandal weren't super appealing to most of the women we polled.
Vionic does offer similar models that have patterned straps, rhinestone or sequin bejeweled straps, and even a version with a wedge heel, but these still retain a relatively sporty and clunky look that can't measure up to more fashionable designs like the OluKai Lala, our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures or the Birkenstock Gizeh.
The great thing about this flip-flop is that it's well suited for almost any kind of situation. Need amazing traction? Check. Impressive arch support and stability? Done. Want to play around in the river and be dry again quickly? No problem. From a simple walk to dinner or a tenuous hike to the crag, this super durable sandal has you covered from practically every angle. It's maybe not the shoe you'll grab when you want to get dressed up, but for every other aspect of a fun and activity-filled summer, it will treat you well. Do be aware that the arch supports from built-in orthotics are aggressive, so it's also not the model to pick if you prefer a flatter footbed.
The Tide II retails for $65, smack in the middle of all our tested flips. It's a bit of an investment, but not so much as to break the bank - and we think it's well worth the price tag. Durable and well-constructed with amazing support, this sandal will have no problem lasting you for years to come.
Overall we found the Tide II to be a highly impressive piece of footwear. It performed at the top of the pack in almost every rating metric, just barely falling short of nabbing first place and the Editors' Choice award. Traction, stability, durability, water resistance - this flip-flop almost has it all. It isn't as plush or soft as other models, and its sporty look fell a bit short of its competitors in the style department, but this is a sandal we would highly recommend for anyone with an active lifestyle looking for superior arch support.
— Penney Garrett
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